My beloved 3.0R-B Liberty was starting to get a bit old and was not practical for what I needed daily (Fit the kids, dog in the boot, cheap to run etc). I had to weigh up what I needed in a newer car that was going to fit all my criteria. Unfortunately, I had to rule out a performance car in my budget, as it would have been too old or expensive to run.
So, the XV-L manual fitted all the criteria: late model; practical size as a second car to run kids to school and drive to work, with some highway driving on occasion; cheap to run, fuel, rego, running costs etc; manual gearbox; good phone connectivity; safe and comfortable; not just a boring FWD hatch.
I found one that was the right model, year, price and colour, so I jumped on it and traded in the old Liberty.
I think the XV has a good look for a compact SUV, and is a bit more rugged looking than most, with a proper AWD system and decent ground clearance.
The interior is functional, well made, and all relatively easy to use, mostly good-quality materials and feels built to last. No rattles, noises or loose trim. A lot of people complained about the sat-nav infotainment unit in this model. But I find it easy to use once you know the functions, it works effectively, and has a decent-sized screen/reverse camera.
The 2.0-litre is no performance engine, but is smooth, fuel efficient, and with the manual gearbox you can hold the gears and rev the engine out when you need to get going. The gearing is probably a bit tall for a small engine, but does offer low engine revs for highway driving in sixth gear. It helps make for a smooth, quiet and comfortable car for highway driving.
The boot isn't huge, but being a hatch it is practical to fit in the kids' school bags and the dog etc.
So far it has been reliable and cheap to run. It has ticked all the boxes that I require for what I use the car for on a daily basis.
Yes, I do sometimes miss the power, short gearing and handling of the 3.0R-B Liberty. But the XV also has its own charms. It has some of that old-school Subaru boxer-four throb from its 2.0-litre engine. It's more comfortable and practical, has some all-terrain capability, and is certainly cheaper to run.
A slightly bigger boot and more power would be nice. Unfortunately, the new XV is not available with the manual gearbox anymore, which would rule it out for me.
It would probably be a bit small to be the main family car, but as a second car or for people without children, or maybe one child, it would be fine.