In-depth reviews

Subaru XV hybrid review

Hybrid Subaru XV e-Boxer improves SUV's fuel economy and off-road performance, but rivals offer more for less

Subaru XV hybrid
Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£30,140 - £32,140
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Capable off-road
  • Confident handling
  • Boot space unaffected by batteries

Cons

  • No plug-in option
  • Average performance
  • So-so economy and emissions
Car typeFuel economyCO2 emissions0-62mph
Hybrid32-43mpg180g/km10.7s

The Subaru XV has been on sale since 2017, with the SUV focusing on safety and off-road ability. Several years on, the Japanese brand is sticking to that approach, but has recently introduced a hybrid model to accompany the standard, petrol-only car.

Called the XV e-Boxer, it’s a conventional hybrid with no plug-in element, and operates in much the same way as the system in a Toyota Prius – not surprising given Subaru is working with Toyota on its electrification strategy.

As such, there’s no grand electric range or high-speed zero-emissions running in prospect, but the XV e-Boxer can mooch around quietly on electric power for up to a mile or so, while lifting off the gas helps recharge the small battery pack so the energy can be used again later.

Unlike a Prius, though, the on-paper fuel economy for the XV e-Boxer won’t raise any eyebrows. Its figure of around 36mpg is well below that of some rivals. The XV offers something many of its closest competitors don’t with its all-wheel-drive system, has tidy handling on-road that seems unaffected by the car’s height and is genuinely quite capable off it, but the relatively high running costs associated with that economy figure mean anyone not in need of the XV’s all-weather ability might wonder where the benefit is.

Still, Subaru does offer excellent safety features, a comfortable (if not class-leading in practicality) cabin, decent standard equipment and good build quality – characteristics that may come to the fore over a longer period of ownership and that explain why many customers remain loyal to the brand.

But there’s no getting away from the fact that most UK buyers in the market for a hybrid SUV will be better off looking elsewhere. For anyone needing genuine performance on unpaved surfaces, however, the XV e-Boxer is well worth a look, so read the rest of our in-depth review for a more detailed impression...

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