Motor Image Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in nine Asia countries, has launched the all-new Subaru XV in Taiwan last week.
We were fortunate to be invited to the regional launch in Nangang, Taipei, and had the chance to take the second-generation Subaru XV for a spin.
Representing the first model change since the XV was launched in 2012, this new crossover will excite drivers in a multitude of settings, from urban driving to the great outdoors.
It is also the second model to employ the revolutionary Subaru Global Platform which made every drive an experience with heightened levels of confidence, comfort and control.
“The all-new Subaru XV is a unique crossover vehicle that combines practicality with aesthetics and performance. It is a bold car suited for drivers to ‘Unpark’ their lives and go on activities that they love.
“We are thrilled to launch this new vehicle built on the new Subaru Global Platform, with improved interior and exterior styling. With this, we are confident that the all-new Subaru XV will exceed expectations and deliver a driving experience that is second to none,” said Tan Chong International Ltd executive director Glenn Tan during the launching ceremony.
The all-new Subaru XV will be available in two variants - the Subaru XV 2.0i and Subaru XV 2.0i-S - that feature the 2.0-litre direct fuel injection naturally aspirated Boxer engine that is hooked on the lineartronic seven-speed CVT transmission and that comes with auto-step shift control as well as the manual mode function. It is capable of producing 154hp at 6,000rpm and 196Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
It is 4,465mm long, 1,800mm wide width, 1,615mm high, and with a 220mm ground clearance. It has a 63 litres of fuel tank capacity, as well as 385 litres of boot capacity.
However, the Malaysian specs have not been finalised and we were told the all-new Subaru XV will only be launched by year-end.
Meanwhile, the Subaru XV 2.0i-S we drove comes with features like the X-Mode function, hill descent control, hexagonal grille with C-shaped headlights, matte-black cladding on the front bumper, new 18-inch wheel design, 8-inch touch screen infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay, high beam assist technology, auto dimming rear view mirror, the steering responsive headlights and the Subaru Rear View Detection system.
Other features include front fog lamps, LED headlamps, headlamp washers, power-folding side mirrors with LED turn signal, sunroof, rear fog lamp, roof rails, rear spoiler, aluminium sports pedal, auto headlamps, blind-spot detection, dual-zone air-conditioning, electronic parking brake, idle stop system, paddle shifters, power adjustable driver seats, auto wipers, keyless entry with push-to-start button and telescoping multi-function with cruise control steering wheel.
As for its safety features, it was equipped with anti-lock braking system, brake assist, seven airbags, brake override, engine immobiliser, safety pedal system, vehicle dynamics control system, side door reinforcement beams, blind-spot detection, hill holder, hill start assist, lane change assist, PIN code access, rear-cross traffic alert, rear view camera, and Isofix childseat points.
We drove the all-new Subaru XV 2.0i-S in three test courses set up by Subaru, and we were amazed by how well and stable the crossover felt.
The first test course was to try how the new Subaru XV 2.0i-S reacted on a fast and slippery track that has also slalom, and S-turns. The company set up two steel plates platform with oil on it to let us feel how easy to control the vehicle even on a very slippery condition. We were given a go on a competitor SUV to test the difference of both vehicle.
From the starting point, we had to accelerate the all-new Subaru XV 2.0i-S on a short straight tarmac ground, pushing it up to nearly 60kph before we reached the first steel plate platform which was covered with oil.
On the platform, we felt the XV sliding a little, but it wasn’t as issue as we were able to keep it under control with no hassle. Right after the steel plate platform came the slalom and we had to turn the crossover sharp right to enter the slalom, and the XV had no problem of gaining traction and followed the direction of the steering.
After some slalom manoeuvre, we had to make an S-turn followed by a sharp U-turn, then sped to a fast S-turn and crossed the finish line. The XV tackled the course effortlessly, just as if we were cruising in it. It is because of the XV’s new Subaru Global Platform that enhanced its chassis, giving the crossover a solid and stable platform that reduces the body roll of the vehicle and with the all-wheel drive (AWD) system, as well as vehicle dynamics control, anyone could easily handle the XV in the most slippery condition.
Unlike its competitor unit, we had to continuously cling to the steering wheel and even to the extent of slowing down the vehicle, just to gain control of the vehicle, and to regain the grip during the test.
After completing the first course, we headed to the second course, where we handled the all-new Subaru XV 2.0i-S on a muddy and sandy with a little tarmac road condition. The test course started with dashing the XV into a fork-in-the-road condition, where the road splits into two option.
We were told by the driving instructor to turn either to the left or to the right at the very last minute although at random the instructor will ask us to choose by ourselves.
This was to test the steering response and the body rigidity of the XV where it has improved greatly - thanks to the new Subaru Global Platform. It allowed the crossover to maintain full composure when executing evasive manouvres such as avoiding obstacles.
A muddy roundabout was waiting for us right after the fork-in-the-road obstacle, where we needed to maintain the all-new Subaru XV 2.0i-S on a slippery road condition and at moderately high speed. Because of the low centre of gravity of the Boxer engine as well as the Subaru Global Platform, the body roll was minimised and with the AWD system, coupled with the vehicle dynamics control, it was not difficult to control the crossover. It was so straightforward that all we needed to do was just turn the steering wheel and control the accelerator.
Compared with its competitor, we were hustling with the steering wheel by decelerating and accelerating just to gain control of the vehicle during the muddy roundabout test.
After the roundabout, we sped into a sharp slalom. Once again, manouvring the slalom was easy with the XV, while on its competitor’s vehicle, we actually ran over a few cones as we struggled to gain traction of the vehicle.
The last course was to test the AWD system of the all-new Subaru XV 2.0i-S and the Subaru XV 2.0i. From the start, we were guided carefully up a specially designed steel ramp platform, where at the steep uphill ramp, the company installed rollers on the ramp where the vehicle’s driver side front wheel and passenger’s rear left wheel will land on the rollers. This will cause the XV unable to climb to the top of the platform.
However, with the X-mode, which is also available in both the all-new Subaru XV2.0i and Subaru XV2.0i-S, just by increasing the acceleration a little, the XV effortlessly climbed to the top of the platform. While descending the steep platform, we were told to take our foot off the brakes and accelerator to feel the hill descent control setting that gives drivers a peace of mind by maintaining a constant speed on downhill slopes. All we needed to do was to concentrate on the steering wheel.
After the first platform, we drove to a cross roller test obstacle, where we tested the symmetrical AWD system. At the middle of the obstacle, the XV only had two wheels in contact with the ground. The Symmetrical AWD system smartly distributeed its power efficiently by sending more torque to the two wheels which were in contact with the ground in order to pass the obstacle.
We then tested the chassis rigidity, suspension and stabilisers on a bumpy, uneven and badly damaged road conditions. The XV efficiently absorbed the shocks providing the driver and passenger a comfortable ride. With the 220mm ground clearance, the all-new Subaru XV is capable of tackling almost any rough terrains.
The last test was to drive the XV up a side ramp. There we tested how the XV reacted when weight was concentrated on one side. With an optimised frame structure, and stronger joints between parts which is also part of improvement found in the Subaru Global Platform, we were able to have full control of the XV at the side ramp test.
We found the all-new Subaru XV a very much improved crossover. By setting the bars so high, it will be a challenge for its competitors to match what the XV has to offer. However, as mentioned before, the XV we drove was not the Malaysian spec, and we are unable to know the exact specifications available locally till the XV is launched locally in December.