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2014 Subaru XV 2.0i-S – Long-Term – Week 5

This week we took our 2014 Subaru XV 2.0i-S out into the bush and the cheeky thing cocked its wheel – that must make it a proper off-roader? Welcome to week 5.

Run By: Isaac Bober
Travel: 1928km
Fuel Consumption: 7.2L/100km (7.0L/100km official)
List Price: $36,990 (+ORC)
Service Costs: Nil
Week Ending: 15 August.

Read our full review of the Subaru XV

THIS WEEK I TOOK our Subaru XV off-road to see how it handled some of the tracks up here in the Blue Mountains. Well, for a vehicle that’s oestensibly a high-riding all-wheel drive rather than an out-and-out off-roader it did incredibly well.

And, as you can see from the photos, it even allowed us to get the obligatory wheels in the air photographs. Indeed, I put the XV across a particular track that I’d only ever driven an Amarok across and, while the Amarok had eaten it up I wasn’t so sure the XV would do quite as well. It did.

On some of the slipperier sections of the tracks, the XV’s road-biased tyres, as you can see in the picture, clogged up but getting traction back and maintaining forward momentum was as simple as turning the steering wheel and changing the angle of the wheels. They gripped again and off the XV went. That said, if I was going to be doing extensive off-road driving I’d consider changing the tyres to something more aggressive.

photo 5

There’s no problem with ground clearance which at 220mm (minimum) is impressive. The approach angle of 18-degrees is okay, as is the rampover of 21-degrees, but the departure angle of 28-degrees, like the ground clearance, is proof the XV is more than just a high-riding hatchback.

On one of the tracks I drove across was a hard-packed gravel hump which I’ve used before to check out approach, rampover and departure angles – I’d most recently put a Ford Ranger over it and while it got up and over the hump it did rub its belly, and so did the XV, indeed, in the interest of mechanical and cosmetic sympathy I decided not push the XV up and over the hump. A fail, then? Not at all.

Subaru XV long-termer Week 5

Some have written that the CVT can be a little sloppy across slow speed stuff, but I’d suggest they were only imagining what it might be like to drive an XV off-road, rather than actually driving one off-road. As I’ve mentioned before, concentrate on how you use the throttle in the XV; be progressive with your action and the thing works fine.

Talking with our resident four-wheel driving guru, Robert Pepper, about the XV he recounted the tale of watching an XV drive across sand dunes and around a bogged Nissan X-Trail without getting stuck once. He was impressed and attributed it to both the nature of the Subaru all-wheel drive system and the XV’s ground clearance – the driver of the XV might well have been more experienced in driving on sand, so, that too would have helped.

Subaru XV Long-Term - Week 5

So, in the end, as Robert’s said in other articles, driven carefully all-wheel drive ‘soft-roaders’ are more than capable of tackling the sorts of tracks you would never normally put them anywhere near. But, where soft-roaders like the XV and their full-size 4WD siblings differ is that they’re not built for prolonged off-road work and, if I was to consider taking the XV out every weekend onto rutted and broken tracks, I’d consider some suspension work and the previously mentioned more aggressive tyres…

But, that doesn’t take anything away from the XV. It is, in showroom guise, an incredibly impressive little rough roader that’s got the ability to go a lot further off-road than you might give it credit for. There’s a school-holidays camping trip coming up and the XV will get another rough-road workout, but until then Kermit is confined to the blacktop.

If you own a Subaru XV, let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Adam Howley
Adam Howley
9 years ago

I wish there was more after market options for subarus. No snorkels, no bull bars really, and hardly any lift options.

I spent a small fortune on my forester and moved to a D3. The thing it was lacking was traction control (‘ 04) but great vehicles!

Justin van Maanenberg
Justin van Maanenberg
8 years ago

The Missus took me for a spin up to Mount Donnabuang In her two week old XV with CVT , on the way up we started to hit the snow and the road had a good covering of it . The XV did not slip once , even after having to stop and go around cars that were stuck putting on chain’s and coming back down she didn’t miss a beat. There was a couple of 4WD’s that had fallen off the road and sedan’s . The Missus is very happy with her purchase .

2 years ago

I am reading this years after the article was written but I just wanted to agree with all the points. I have found my auto 2011 XV really good for dirt-gravel roads, shallow creek crossings and occasional trips to ski Mt Buller. I would like something with a bit more highway oomph but don’t do many miles and love the Subaru so much I can’t bring myself to upgrade. If I do it will be for a later (manual) XV

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober