The highly practical Subaru XV E-Boxer

In Car Reviews, Subaru by Tom Scanlan

Subaru’s compact crossover XV E-BOXER ticks plenty of boxes.


We all like our cars to be safe. Subaru says its customers go for safety, capability and reliability. Subaru’s mantra is ‘Confidence in Motion’.

So, with the XV having been updated with an electric lithium battery motor (located under the boot floor for overall car balance) to work with the company’s traditional flat-4 ‘boxer’ engine, how well does it all come together?

Along with the Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive, the car performs and handles very nicely.

Owners who are not particularly engineering-minded might, in all honesty, not notice any massive difference from the previous SUV they might have experienced. They will, though, certainly enjoy the general pleasure that driving the XV gives.

When I first got into our blue test XV, I was straight away struck by the interior design featuring an imaginative dark copper trim.

The XE premium version has, over the lower-spec’d (but still well-spec’d) plain XE versions, leather seats, with the driver’s seat having eight-way electrically-operated adjustment; satellite navigation (on an 8-inch touchscreen…said to be intuitive, but my brain evidently works differently from the designer’s!); and a sunroof.

Already on board XVs are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. For further convenience, there’s dual-zone air-con and a reversing camera.

Among many safety features on the Subaru XV range are reverse automatic braking; a driver monitoring system, for example in case you get drowsy; and of course, Subaru’s ‘Eyesight’ twin-stereo-camera system that monitors for hazards up to 110 meters ahead. The systems seven accident-mitigation features definitely add to the sense of security you feel in the XV. There’s also Rear Vehicle Detection, whose three functions are Blindspot Monitoring, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

When you learn how many lesser accidents occur in low-speed manoeuvering, in car-parks for instance, when your voluntary excess insurance doesn’t help, then this is potentially a very handy feature.

Subaru’s attention to detail in the weight-distribution department results in a car that steers and handles well. Faultless braking, too, in my experience.

All this is achieved while maintaining a comfortable ride. Along with a cabin that’s nicely hushed as you cruise along, here’s a very pleasant way for a family to undertake a journey.

It’s not particularly fast, that’s not its role; but neither is it at all slow, with acceleration from its 145 bhp up to 62 mph available in 10.7 seconds. The electric motor allows purely electric drive up to 25 mph.

Fuel consumption? The official WLTP combined figure is 35.7 mpg; the test car matched this, according to the trip computer, with 35.9. No doubt this figure would have improved if I had managed more motorway mileage or much longer in heavy traffic on electric power.

The e-Boxer XV has maintained its Euro NCAP five star rating and gained other impressive independent awards.

Often purchased by customers in rural, out of town locations, all in all, the Subaru XV’s drivability and build quality and combine to make this another a practical 4×4 SUV.


Car reviewed: Subaru XV E-BOXER 2.0I SE Premium Lineartronic, on the road price £33,655 0-62mph 10.7secs Top speed 120mph Engine 1995cc Horizontally opposed, 4-cylinder, 2.0L DOHC 16-valve + Motor Fuel Economy WLTP Combined 35.7mpg CO2 emissions 1494g/km Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission Lineartronic automatic AWD

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Tom Scanlan

Motoring Journalist

Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.