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In-depth reviews

Subaru XV hybrid performance, top speed & engine

Composed on-road handling and good off-road ability steal a march on some rivals, but the XV e-Boxer's hybrid works better at low speeds

Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Performance, engine & drive rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£33,195 - £35,195
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
10.7s120mphFour148bhp

The XV pairs a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a small electric motor and battery to improve fuel economy and deliver improved performance over rough ground. Maximum power is 148bhp at 5,000 to 6,000rpm, and while 194Nm of torque doesn’t seem like a lot, the electric assistance at low revs is most welcome.

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While fuel efficiency is nothing to write home about, low-speed performance is splendid: crawling through town is a doddle using the electric motor, and it’s easy to keep the engine idle with gentle use of the accelerator pedal. Subaru has also improved the throttle response – a common complaint when the XV first launched – by adjusting the torque. The hybrid e-Boxer’s peak figure is slightly lower than that of the petrol, but more of it is available at low speeds, making it feel nippier on urban roads.

And the hybrid powertrain works wonders for the XV’s off-road credentials: when selected, ‘X-Mode’ delivers even more low-down torque, giving more grunt on harsher surfaces. Meanwhile, the all-wheel-drive system can move power between the wheels to ensure steep hills can be tackled with a minimum of fuss, whether you’re going up or down. The XV e-Boxer felt very stable on our varied test route, which included a lean test that saw the crossover brush its maximum tipping angle of 30 degrees.

Subaru XV hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The XV isn’t a car that likes to be hurried. A heavy right foot highlights the poor performance from the e-Boxer engine, with the 0-62mph dash turning into a 10.7-second slog. The Lineartronic CVT gearbox doesn’t help, with sudden bursts of revs feeling ineffective due to the lack of immediate progress. On the plus side, the CVT includes ‘steps’ to make it feel like a traditional automatic transmission, and it’s absolutely fine around town and when making leisurely progress. Subaru quotes a top speed of 120mph.

Handling

On normal roads, the XV e-Boxer handles well, especially given its size and a setup geared for off-roading. Lean in corners is nicely controlled despite the hefty 220mm of ground clearance, and the steering feels well weighted and precise. The ride is composed, too, soaking up heavy bumps on both tarmac and gravel.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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