The new model doesn’t stray far from the formula that saw the current-generation Subaru XV become a smash success for the brand, with the hatchback version of the Impreza again getting raised suspension, more aggressive bumpers, flared wheel-arches and larger wheels.
The new version, as with the Impreza, gets a revamped engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto gearbox, but this time around there’s no manual option. Subaru says that over the life of the current XV, the manual has accounted for 18 per cent of sales – nearly one in five, so not a small figure by any means.
Indeed, with 48,793 examples of the current XV sold to end of March 2017, the car has proved to be quite a good little earner for the brand. Of those sales, a total of 8715 were manual, and the company claims that the proportion of manual sales is down to 12 per cent in the past year, and it was confined to the base model version, too.
Buyers can expect that the new XV model range will mirror the same line-up as the new-generation Impreza line-up, with four variants available: the entry-level 2.0i, then the 2.0i-L, 2.0i Premium, and the flagship 2.0i-S. Unlike many competitor small SUVs, the XV is all-wheel-drive only.
The same underpinnings of the Impreza should bode well for comfort in the new XV, and there’s the brand’s X-Mode off-road modulation system. The X-Mode button will adjust the throttle response, traction and stability control systems, as well as braking and the AWD system.
There’s a hill descent control mode, too, and the new-generation version will retain the same 220 millimetres of ground clearance, 18-degree approach angle and 30-degree departure angle of the previous model. For reference, a Forester's approach angle is 25deg, its departure angle is 25deg, and its ground clearance is identical.
The engine is the same as we’ve seen in the Impreza – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder horizontally-opposed ‘boxer’ with 115kW of power (up 5kW on the old model) and 196Nm of torque (identical to the current car). The engine features stop-start, and fuel use is expected to be better than the first-gen model, which claimed 7.0 litres per 100km for the auto version.
Equipment levels are set to be similar, too, with the base model expected to miss out on the brand’s EyeSight forward collision monitoring camera system with autonomous emergency braking – it wasn’t offered in the first-generation Subaru XV in any spec.
From the 2.0i-L upwards, the brand will offer the AEB system, and the 2.0i-S will gain a back-up AEB system that can brake the car if it detects an imminent rearward collision.
All models get the latest connectivity, including a touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, while models from the 2.0i-L up get satellite navigation. A rear-view camera will be standard across the range, too.
Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie said the standard AWD system and new off-road kit should help the XV appeal to new buyers.
“With 4000 new-generation Imprezas already retailed (to end of March) and 49,000 XVs sold since it launched in 2012, we have high hopes for XV, particularly given the addition of serious SUV kit like X-Mode,” he said.
There will be new paint options to choose from, including a light blueish shade called Cool Grey Khaki, and a new version of the orange hue that was the signature colour for the first XV, now even glossier - it's called Sunshine Orange.
Fabric trim will be offered in the lower spec versions, and leather in the high-spec: it's unclear if the ivory leather finish will remain or not.
There’s no firm pricing or specifications yet, but we’d expect the new-generation XV to see its entry point sharpened, as happened with the Impreza's pricing. Based on that, we could see the following price structure:
|Current (auto)||New (auto, estimates only)|