Despite the fact Subaru purports this latest XV to be all-new, you’d have a hard time identifying exactly what aspects of its cabin are in fact, well, new. It retains that same sense of hardiness that’s not only common to all Subaru models, but is a key appeal to the brand’s typically agricultural customer base, and aesthetically it’s all much the same as before. This means you get chunky switchgear that’s easy to operate on the move and which imbues the XV with a sense of sturdiness and dependability.

That the perceived material richness may not be as high as that from more mainstream rivals in the segment – think Seat Ateca – may be partly the result of Subaru’s pitching the XV as a rough-and-tough crossover with genuine off-road capabilities, as opposed to a town-friendly hatchback on stilts.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Taller passengers will have few complaints as far as leg room is concerned, but the low roofline may be a bit of a sore point, because it eats into head room.

However, that’s not to say the cabin is a dull place to sit. Contrasting orange stitching and leather upholstery go some way to lifting its overall ambience, and this is certainly a more upmarket-seeming car than what it replaces – although we’d hazard a guess that the mock carbonfibre detailing won’t be to everyone’s tastes.

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Subaru has increased the second-generation XV’s touchscreen from 7.0in to 8.0in, while simultaneously introducing DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as standard across the range.

Graphically, the system is pretty basic – especially when compared with offerings from rival manufacturers, like the Volkswagen T-Roc – and its responsiveness isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s easy enough to fathom and smartphone pairing via Bluetooth is a painless procedure.

There’s no satellite navigation on entry-level SE models, but upgrading to SE Premium (from £26,995) will add this in. If you’re happy to use your mobile phone data with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though, you’ll likely find you’re able to go without, and save yourself the £2000 premium.

Although the vast majority of functions can be accessed via the touchscreen itself, Subaru has helpfully incorporated menu buttons into the dash. They’re easier to use when you’re on the move.

Space is decent, but not what you’d call outstanding. At 2665mm, the XV’s wheelbase is actually 25mm longer than that of the full-size Forester SUV, so you won’t find you’re short on leg room in the back. The same can’t quite be said for head space; those of a loftier disposition will find they need to slouch to avoid having the tops of their noggins brushing against the roof.

Although the XV’s wheelbase may be comparable to that of the Forester, its 4465mm overall length is not, meaning seats-up boot space measures 385 litres as opposed to the larger car’s 505 litres. A T-Roc, by comparison, manages 445 litres, while an Ateca offers 510 litres.

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