It’s the little things… this week I look at the Subaru XV’s plastics and bemoan the lack of rear seat air-conditioning vents. Welcome to Week 15.

LIST PRICE: $36,990 (+ORC)
WEEK ENDING: 2 January


CHRISTMAS AND New Year’s Eve have come and gone for another year, and I do hope both holidays were excellent for all of you. It was a relatively boring festive period for the XV, since my family and I all headed interstate and so Kermit was left at the airport for a few days.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything with the XV, after all, it’s racked up more than 1000km since the last report and most of those kays have been done with either the kids or the dog (sorry Subaru) in the back. Actually, before moving on it’s worth mentioning that if you do have a dog and regularly travel with them in the car, then you absolutely need to get yourself a canvas boot mat, or cover, or whatever it is…

…Our dog is a beagle and he drops loads of hair and if you’ve ever tried vacuuming dog hair out of automotive carpet you’ll know how hard it can be. Our mat, and I’m probably telling you something you already know, hooks around the rear seat headrests and lays down the back of the rear seats and then along the boot floor. The dog’s been in the back a couple of times now and there’s no hair at all in the boot. When he’s not travelling with us, I simply remove the mat, shake it out and fold it up until next time.

Given I’m nearing the end of my time with the XV, I though it might be worth mentioning one or two things that irk me about the car and they are the plastics which seem to mark when you look at them. But this isn’t an XV thing, per se, indeed my parent’s 1998 Outback had easily-marked plastics too.

Now, we’re being as careful with the XV as we can be without wrapping the thing in cotton wool. Don’t get me wrong, I think the XV’s interior is a massive step ahead for Subaru but its plastics which are hard and, one would imagine long lasting, are very easy to mark and so’s the leather which, as you can see in the picture is marked easily by the seatbelt returning.

Subaru XV long-termer update - plastics

Would this make me not recommend the XV? Nope. But if you’re considering one and you’ve got kids then it’s worth knowing how well the interior will stand up to the abuse of a three- and six-year old. This isn’t to say the XV’s interior is particularly brittle and that competitor products are more resistant to abuse because it isn’t and they won’t.

Probably the worst part for marking and this isn’t unique to the XV is the front door pockets which tend to be scuffed by your right, or left (depending on which side of the car you’re sitting) foot as you swing your legs out of the thing. No biggie, but it’s worth mentioning.

Despite seemingly railing against them for the last few pars the plastics aren’t really that much of an issue for me, but the lack of rear air-conditioning vents are. I get that there’s extra expense involved in plumbing in rear seat vents, but in a country like Australia these should be standard spec.

If you’re travelling with children who are still in car seats, be it a child seat or a booster, you’ll know just how hot those things can get on a hot summer’s day. And putting the kids into them can see the little darlings heat up quite quickly … our family car has rear seat vents at the back of the centre console and these are excellent at directing cool air onto the kids. The XV doesn’t have rear seat vents and I think this is a failing.

That said, the air conditioning does work very quickly and the fan, while noisy, is powerful. What I’ve noticed, though, is that while this is great for those in the front seat the back seat takes much longer to cool down. Even with the vents in the front angled to blow as much cool air into the back as possible the kids are never quite as chilled as those in the front.

Again, this isn’t a deal breaker for me but, like the plastics, I reckon it’s worth mentioning especially for those who are looking at buying an XV and using it as the family taxi.

Next week, I’ll be fitting a Maxi-Cosi ISOFIX car seat to the XV and filming a review of that. So, keep an eye out for that.


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  1. Like you I think it is stupid rear air vents are not standard in cars in Australia. This is a feature I am keen to find in a vehicle, however car buying websites do not even include it in search options, and it is very rarely mentioned in product specifications. Can you recommend an easy way to find this feature without physically opening every rear car door?

  2. Interesting you mention the rear aircon vents. If you look under the front seats in our XV you can see 2 vents (1 under each front seat) that actually pump air into the back, these vents are not directional but do put cold or hot air into the foot area in the rear of the car.

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