2021 Subaru XV: Extra Versatile

The days have long past when sport utility vehicles were large lumbering gas guzzlers. Now, they need to be compact to fit into the urban lifestyle of their owners, drive well, not break the bank at the pump and contain all the technology that makes modern life easy. Enter the 2021 Subaru XV.

Subaru made its name at the highest level of one of the toughest global motorsports for decades, rallying. For those not familiar, that’s driving as fast as possible over variable terrain during just as variable weather situations. To survive, much less have success in that sport, means having a car that’s able to be raced at maximum pace across, tarmac, mud, dirt, rocks and snow, while it’s raining at Noah levels, it’s snowing to create the next ice age, or the sun is outputting skin melting temperatures.

Subaru’s rally history would be a story in itself. Its relevance here is that the Japanese brand has applied all it has learnt on the competitive world rallying stage to the XV. This can be best felt in the drivetrain. It’s a technical challenge to make an SUV because the need for off-road ground clearance means raising the ride height, moving its centre of gravity, which in turn affects its dynamics.

The XV uses Subaru’s Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Despite the raised chassis, the XV’s mechanicals are still low in the body due to the horizontal configuration of the Boxer engine, giving it better lateral stability than other engine types. The Boxer also is naturally self-balancing, generating less vibration. In a market segment where front-wheel drive has become the norm, the XV’s standard All-Wheel Drive system is a big plus. Subaru will also tell you that a rally car has to be complaint, maintaining as much contact with the road surface for driver control.

Combine these three elements and you get a better picture of the XV. It checks all the key boxes SUV buyers want. Taller seating and ground clearance. Rough and rugged appearance, with lots of practical interior elements for cargo and more than enough technology to keep occupants happy. In the confines of the city the Subaru is no hog at the pump, slogging through bumper-to-bumper traffic with its Automatic Vehicle Hold braking and performing basic duties as a family hauler.

However, the XV can do more because of its core engineering. The all-wheel drive system that provides confidence during inclement weather or over less than perfect surfaces can tackle tougher terrain than many of its rivals, especially with its new X-Mode that brings with it Hill Descent Control. On or off road the suspension is able to cope. There’s never that soft boat-like feel from the Subaru. It pounds over rough roads and through corners with assurance that the driver is always in control. This works even better when things turn for the worse as the XV can tackle the occasional adventure off the beaten path.

The 2021 Subaru XV is a dual nature SUV. Leather with accent stitching, a large touchscreen, a sunroof, auto lights and wipers, to a name a few of its features make it a comfortable everyday use case, but for those moments where a trip into nowhere might overcome the driver, the XV can follow and that’s not something many class rivals can claim.

The 2021 Subaru XV is available from Kingston Industrial Garage.