Buyers after a more performance-focused version of the Subaru XV crossover hatch are set to be saddened by the news that the Japanese brand is not pursuing a go-fast version of the popular model.
The Subaru XV currently comes with only a 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine producing 110kW of power and 196Nm of torque. While in a different league in terms of pricing, European vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA (with the GLA45 AMG) and Audi Q3 (RS Q3) have seen plenty of interest from buyers.
Indeed, a faster version of the XV high-rider would give it a unique selling proposition in the market, and according to Yoichi Hori, deputy general manager of Subaru’s engineering department, the company has thought about that.
“It’s a good point – technically we can install the 2.0-litre turbo to the XV model,” he said of utilising the well-known turbocharged unit seen in the WRX.
“But for marketing reasons, we have a WRX and STI – so if we sold the 2.0T for the XV, it’s very close to WRX,” he said. Currently the XV tops out at $36,990 plus on-road costs for the top-end 2.0i-S automatic variant, where the WRX now kicks off at a more aggressive $38,990.
That gap is too close, according to Hori.
“Technically it’s possible. But for marketing reasons it’s not so much,” he said. “Also the price would go up, that’s why we didn’t decide such a model.”
“That’s the thing, currently – but of course it depends on the market request,” he said, indicating that if enough buyers wanted it – globally – it may still happen.
Hori did, however, suggest that the brand has a five-door small model with extra performance – the Levorg wagon, which could come to Australia if the company’s local arm gives it the nod in the first few months of 2015 – which could fill the gap that a XV WRX model may otherwise slot in to.
Another missing link in the XV line-up is a diesel variant, and that doesn’t look likely to form a part of the range in this generation.
Hori said there is a diesel engine that works for the Impreza (therefore XV, too), but it is a manual only proposition – as is the case in the larger Forester SUV, though that model gets a diesel CVT auto combination in the first quarter of 2015.
He indicated that diesel is something the brand wants to add to XV, but it may take time.
“We are still considering the small SUV with a diesel engine,” he said. “We are thinking more the new model, we still didn’t decide yet.”
Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior told CarAdvice that he doesn’t feel the XV needs to have any further differentiation in the increasingly busy compact SUV market.
“I think our differentiator in that market is that we’re all-wheel drive,” Senior said.
“The offering of XV has been so strong because we do have that all-wheel drive as standard. Our customers who are buying XVs are buying for the practicality, the drivability, for a number of factors.”
The brand also offers a mild-hybrid version of the XV, though it’s only available in Japan and North America.
The Subaru XV has proved a strong and consistent sales performer all year, accounting for 10,690 sales to November – an increase of 8.3 per cent compared to 2013.