Subaru isn’t offering its previous 2.0-litre diesel variant with this car, so you have this or a smaller 1.6-litre petrol to choose from. It’s a shame, and seems odd, because the old diesel unit was our favourite for the car, and it’s gutsier than this petrol. The platform can take a diesel unit, we’re told, so if there is sufficient demand then Subaru would consider offering an oil-burner.
Thrashing round a track is unlikely to be high on the priority list for the standard XV buyer. More likely, the SUV will have to drag its way through a muddy field – and it’s very well prepared for that. Like all Subarus – apart from the rear-drive BRZ – the XV gets all-wheel drive as standard and now has ‘X-Mode’, which optimises the AWD system for slippery surfaces and includes hill descent control. It’ll go farther off-road than most rivals, and that helps the XV stand out in a crowded class of style-over-substance competitors.
Inside, it gets a much-needed update that has banished the button-heavy dash in place of a slicker touchscreen infotainment system set up with better quality materials. We don’t know precisely what equipment will be offered, or even what trim levels will be available, but Subarus are typically kit-laden at every level so you can expect the 8.0in touchscreen as standard. We do know that all models will get Subaru’s automatic emergency braking system, ‘EyeSight’, and the Japanese model scored exceptionally highly for crash testing in Asia, so it’s likely that it will also impress with Euro NCAP.
As for space, there’s masses of leg room in the rear, but the boot is a little more paltry.