Auto Review: 2019 Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium

THAT old adage of ‘good things come in small packages’ is never truer than in the case of the 2019 Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium. You see, the XV works with no fuss, and offers a luxurious car that has what it takes to play with the big boys.

It’s fun, flexible, and dare we say, adventurous as a compact SUV, with its extra ground clearance and eye-catching 17-inch alloys giving it a more modern and contemporary feel than some of its rivals.

Developed on the Subaru global platform, the overall driving feel is stable and quiet. Rough roads are handled with ease and the 115kW 2.0-litre boxer engine produces enough power for most situations, with the CVT gearbox also working well.

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It’s easy to get accustomed to the transmission, which keeps the engine at optimum power and torque in all driving conditions, while the manual gear selection can be engaged either by the sporty gear lever or by the flap paddles on the steering wheel.

The Subaru power plant offers maximum torque of 196Nm, and the only downside we found was in accelerating from 60 to 80 km/h, which produces an increase in engine noise which is one of the few annoying features of the car.

The standard auto stop/start that shuts down the engine when stopped requires some effort on the brake pedal to activate as well. It’s not one of our favourite features in any car, and thankfully you can override this feature with a button mounted on the dash.

On the upside, remote key access and push button start is included in all models across the range. X-Mode also features, which includes hill descent and improved grip. Fuel economy is pretty good too, with a claimed 7.0-litres/100km.

We did better than that though, producing an excellent 6.4-litres/100km, and on E10 petrol too. The XV has a braked towing capacity of 1,400kg or 650kg un-braked, so it’s ideal for a jet ski or small camper.

Resplendent in Sunshine Orange, the XV looks angular and exciting, thanks to its exterior combination of colour, blackouts and silver accents, which work well together along with the dark tinted windows.

But if the orange is not for you, it can also be had in Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic, Crystal Black Silica, Quartz Blue Pearl, Dark Blue Pearl, Pure Red and Cool Grey.

The interior is roomy for the size of the car, and there’s some really nice touches to be found inside, including contrasting orange stitching, a soft touch textured dashboard, carbon fibre inserts and silver accents.

It feels a little bit luxurious while still having a fun feel. Visibility is excellent too, with small A-pillars making it easy to see. There’s USB ports available in the key tray in front of the gearshift, and charging ports in the large centre console.

There’s an electric sunroof too. We found the wind noise pretty low with it open. Seats are cloth with leather accents, but they’re pretty ordinary. The base doesn’t tilt so if you’re tall, you can expect tired legs on a long trip, and there’s no lumbar support either.

There is manual lift but it’s basic. We found ourselves pining for the heated electric seats available in the range topping 2.0i-S. There’s an 8.0-inch touchscreen on hand though, which is super easy to use, and intuitive.

It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and our Bluetooth connection was quick and easy to establish. The Subaru XV even supports Siri if you have an iPhone, and the in-car microphone works well, with very little background noise.

SatNav is easy to use, and DAB+ digital radio is also standard. A smaller screen at eye level in the centre of the dash displays information about Subaru’s advanced safety system EyeSight, engine temperatures and a variety of other information.

When the satellite navigation is engaged the directions are conveniently displayed on this screen too. The rear camera has directional and distance indicator lines which bend in the direction of the car movement too.

The heating and air conditioning system is very effective, and was quick to heat up even in the snow (yes we tested it), with and more than adequate fan assistance, and our 2019 Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium came with dual zone climate control.

Now a few paragraphs back we mentioned EyeSight. It’s superb, and the active cruise control works a treat. It should be noted though that it uses camera technology so if the windscreen is dirty it does not operate.

That said, the system even tells you if the car in the car in front has moved and to keep your hands on the steering wheel. Lane assist indication and obstacle/lane steer is at first unusual but easy to get used to and provides additional safety.

The boot space is adequate and could easily stow enough luggage for a weekend for two, or a decent baby pram. Golf clubs are a bit of a challenge, but with the rear seats folded down there is more than enough room.

The back seat can accommodate two adults, but the centre rear seat is really only for short journeys. There are two cup holders in the centre console at the front, and water bottle holders in a doors.

The rear centre arm rest also has two cup holders, but there is no ventilation system for the passengers in the back. The Subaru XV gets a space saver spare wheel and some tools stashed under the rear floor.

Considering the car is positioned as the fun SUV and begs for adventure, the space saver wheel is an interesting choice by Subaru. Small hooks for shopping bags are a nice addition but the cargo area light is positioned badly.

The XV comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and capped price servicing for the same period. The 2019 Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and could be yours for $37,156 plus on-roads.

Our test vehicle was provided by Subaru Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium, contact your local Subaru dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - Eyesight technology; fun design; CVT transmission; tech toys; fixed price servicing.
Cons - seat comfort; boot size; space saver spare; limited cup holders.
Geoff Counihan
Geoff Counihan
With a background in mechanical engineering, Geoff appreciates the workings of all things automotive. He's currently building a 1968 Ford Mustang from the ground up and his past includes work with Peter Brock as a development engineer. He's owned more than 20 cars and is a big fan of track testing.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> Eyesight technology; fun design; CVT transmission; tech toys; fixed price servicing.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> seat comfort; boot size; space saver spare; limited cup holders.Auto Review: 2019 Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium