Subaru XV hybrid review
Hybrid Subaru XV e-Boxer improves SUV's fuel economy and off-road performance, but rivals offer more for less
- Capable off-road
- Confident handling
- Boot space unaffected by batteries
- No plug-in option
- Average performance
- So-so economy and emissions
|Car type||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions||0-62mph|
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...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingHybrid Subaru XV e-Boxer improves SUV's fuel economy and off-road performance, but rivals offer more for less
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsPrius-like hybrid system doesn’t result in Prius-like economy; this is unfortunately an area where the XV e-Boxer lags well behind its rivals
- 3Running costsDisappointing fuel-economy figures mean road-tax and Benefit-in-Kind rates for the XV e-Boxer may be higher than expected, while warranty and servicing levels are fairly average
- 4Engines, drive & performanceComposed on-road handling and good off-road ability steal a march on some rivals, but the XV e-Boxer's hybrid setup works better at low speeds than in faster driving
- 5Interior & comfortIt’s not much to look at, but the XV e-Boxer's interior feels well constructed, while standard equipment and comfort are both strong
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe XV e-Boxer's boot space is unaffected by the battery pack beneath, but several rivals let you put more in there in the first place
- 7Reliability & safetyThe XV e-Boxer has strong safety ratings, excellent preventative safety measures and a pretty decent Driver Power result