Meet the parents. Yep, I lent the Subaru XV to my parents for a week or so as they’re looking at trading in their 1998 Outback… what did they think?

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THE LAST WEEK, OR SO has seen Kermit being trialled by Ma and Pa Bober who are looking to trade up from their ageing 1998 Subaru Outback. And, like most Subaru owners they’ve only really got eyes for another Subaru. They’ve been trying to get their mits onto our XV for sometime and managed to hang onto it a little longer than expected.

Anyway, I’ve got it back now and it looks like both parents have fallen in love with the thing. Used to the 13L/100km their Outback drinks down the XV shocked both parents who managed to average 6.8L/100km while they had the thing and they travelled around 400km. But let’s try and get some sort of order to this… so, to the beginning.

I didn’t hassle my parents at all while they were in possession of the XV. Sure, I explained to them how the sat-nav, radio, etc worked; there was no point pairing the old man’s phone to the car… he doesn’t even know how to access his voicemail. Oh, and the paddles to take ‘sort of’ manual control when you’re feeling particularly sporty, well, it might as well have been an ashtray on a motorbike. My mother simply looked at me and turned her head onto one side like a confused puppy, saying: ‘If there’s already something in there [meaning the car] that’s capable of changing gears for me then why would I want to do it myself?’ Fair enough.

It took my old man about an hour, or so it seemed, to adjust and readjust and readjust the seat, mirrors and steering wheel. Then he accidentally turned on the seat heaters while he was fiddling around and thought he’d wet his pants. Hilarious. Because the first time I encountered seat heaters I did exactly the same thing…

Anyway, off they eventually went.

The car finally arrived back at my place almost two weeks later. And it had been vacuumed, washed and polished. Nice. ‘Got to look after our new car,’ Mum said. Right. So what did they like?

Dad: ‘For me, it was the responsiveness and amount of get-up-and-go it’s got. I like our Outback, but this one leaves it for dead’. Any concerns about the transmission? ‘Not at all. I’m used to using torque convertor autos, although all of my work cars were manual, and so I don’t know a lot about CVTs but I thought it was fine.’ Did you use the paddles? ‘Once, and I couldn’t work out which one was which [for the record, they’re clearly marked] and I couldn’t really see the point of them on this sort of car.’ Again, fair enough.

What about the ride and handling? ‘Really comfortable, and I took it out to show a mate who lives on a bush block and he’s got a rough driveway which runs through a small creek and the XV was great. Plenty of ground clearance and plenty of grip and it was really stable on the graded dirt road that leads up to his driveway. It felt like it was cornering on rails… there was barely any lean in the corners’.

What about vision? ‘Well, we’ve also got the gas guzzling Range Rover which I love for the all-around vision, but the XV is pretty good too. Not quite as good as the Rangie, and you certainly don’t feel like you’re sitting up as high as the Rover, but compared with the old Outback you sit up nice and high with a good view of the road ahead’.

Mum: ‘I couldn’t get over the fuel consumption or the comfort. And it felt really nippy around town.’ What about the size, was it big enough? ‘Absolutely, I thought it looked a little small at first, but the boot’s not that much smaller than the Outback and we hardly ever fill it up, so the XV would be fine for us… and being smaller it meant I didn’t have to lean right into it to get the groceries out.

‘I felt like I was sitting up higher than in the Outback and I really liked that.’ What about the power? ‘Well, I can be a bit of a lead-foot [within the speed limits, officer, obviously] and it was nice and quick. But it was the fuel consumption I really couldn’t believe. I know people say you can get better out of a diesel, but the 6.8L we got was less than half what we normally get and that makes a big difference when you’re only on one wage and you’ve got to travel so far to see the grandkids [yep, mum’s a real guilt-tripper … they only live an hour away. Sheesh].

So, what now? Well, mum and dad reckon they’re seriously considering off-loading the Outback and Range Rover to get an XV… the one thing the old man is concerned about is how it’ll go towing and since we don’t have a towbar on our long-termer that’s one question I can’t answer. If it was only a box trailer full of rubbish that he wanted to tow I’d suggest the XV could handle it no problems, but he quite often tows much heavier things, which is where the Range Rover comes in handy.

So, my question to you lot is, does anyone tow with their XV? If you do, let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below. Thanks.


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    1. Hi Adam, I think the old man would like to, but with no need for two cars and them constantly driving back and forth from Bathurst to Sydney (200km+) they need something that goes a little easier on the drink. Cheers, Isaac.

      1. I figured as much! Have they considered waiting for the discovery sport or getting a freelander 2 on run out? I switched from Subaru to land rover and I wouldn’t take a Subaru instead. 😛 I think towing would certainly be better with the freelander.

        1. I think you’re right… I’ve suggested the Freelander2 even had one for them to drive the other day… reminds me, I need to get that review up 😉 It’ll come down to how the money falls I reckon.

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