Our Cars

2014 Subaru XV 2.0i-S – long-term – Week 4

This week we took our 2014 Subaru XV 2.0i-S out into the bush and got it properly muddy – and it’s left us wanting to push it even harder off road. Welcome to week 4.

Run By: Isaac Bober
Travel: 1525km
Fuel Consumption: 7.0L/100km (7.0L/100km official)
List Price: $36,990 (+ORC)
Service Costs: Nil
Week Ending: 8 August.

Read our full review of the Subaru XV

DESPITE A SHORT ROUGH ROAD trip in its first week, Kermit, as my kids are calling our Plasma Green Subaru XV, has been confined to the bitumen. So, last weekend we decided to go and get the thing’s feet properly muddy. And cold…

Heading west of the Blue Mountains out towards Bathurst we took a right at the Sunny Corner turn-off and then immediately left the blacktop and headed into the pine forests and their heavily rutted and muddy tracks. There was even a little bit of snow on the ground.

Interestingly, I wasn’t the only person to turn off the main road and onto the dirt. A family in a Mazda CX-5 followed me onto a particularly rutted section of the track. Well, at least they tried to. With limited ground clearance (150mm) the CX-5 just didn’t have enough ground clearance to follow the XV (the XV offers a minimum of 220mm) along the track.

Practicalmotoring.com.au off-road with their long-term Subaru XV

So, I pushed further along the track and deeper into the forest. The aim was to explore both ground clearance and grip. And with most of the tracks I drove along having been well worn by ‘proper’ four-wheel drives I was able to well and truly put the XV through its paces… although I did shy away from tackling a particularly rutted and muddy section of track. Not because I didn’t think the XV could handle it, but simply because I’d headed out on my own; not something you should do when you’re exploring new tracks.

Practicalmotoring.com.au off-road with their long-term Subaru XV

Anyway, as you can see from the photos, although I’m not 100 per cent sure they do the tracks justice, the hump in the middle of the track required decent ground clearance to avoid scraping the belly. And, not once did the XV rub.

But, more than that, not once did the thing slip or scrabble for grip. And I was purposely trying to make it do that. I also drove across a few ditches to get the little Subaru to cock a wheel and while it doesn’t have a huge amount of wheel travel (I’ll take it out again this weekend and actually measure it) it only once lost touch with the ground but it maintained its forward progress so easily that I barely noticed.

Practicalmotoring.com.au off-road with their long-term Subaru XV

My last, albeit very brief off-road test, of our XV was to see how it went on wet and icy grass. Don’t misread me, I wasn’t driving across some close-cropped lawn, it was that thick deep bush grass that in the right, icy conditions can be almost traction-less. But the XV didn’t have a problem at all, it drove across the lumpy, bumpy, and icy grass without even the hint of slipping.

Practicalmotoring.com.au off-road with their long-term Subaru XV

Indeed, my drive last weekend, has encouraged me to push the little XV a little further, and this weekend I’ll be taking it out onto my off-road test track. Stay tuned for that.

My brief rough-road drive also encouraged me to do a bit of digging online and I stumbled across Rocket Craft. It’s the same mob that makes the soft toys we featured a week or so ago, but one its subsidiaries offers lift-kits for Subarus. The site’s in Japanese and Google Translate wasn’t particularly helpful, but it’s got the odd cool video of an old Liberty that’s been lifted driving off-road… I even sent the site to Subaru’s PR team asking if we could trick up the XV. I’m sure you can guess the response.

Find the best demonstrator car deals for Practical Motoring readers around Australia on our Live Deals website. 


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober