What is it?
Subaru dealer forecourts may have long bid goodbye to saloons that could profess to be World Rally Championship winners, but the permanent Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system they helped establish has now become a key part of the brand’s SUV range.
That includes the compact Subaru XV, making this one of the few crossovers that actually has some semblance of ability away from the asphalt - a claim to which it can now add the economy-boosting benefits of a hybrid powertrain.
After the axing of the boxer diesel engine back in 2018, partly in response to the shifting public opinion on filling from the black pump but mainly down to the cost of reengineering to meet WLTP emissions standards, this battery-assisted petrol flat-four is now the most efficient model in the XV line-up, promising a combined 35.8mpg.
It pairs a 16bhp electric motor and small battery to the familiar naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit, sending power to all four wheels through a CVT automatic gearbox.
The XV is otherwise the same capable, well-equipped crossover as before, complete with Subaru’s extensive Eyesight driver assistance system and a fairly extensive standard kit list in SE Premium trim.
We tried a left-hand-drive car in Latvia late last year, but this was our first opportunity for a longer test on UK roads.