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At home on the road and in the field The Subaru XV had no problem navigating muddy and snow-covered fields and farm tracks during the Farmers Guide week-long test.

Since Subaru offered its 4wd pick-up from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s the brand has enjoyed the respect of the farming industry for reliability and practicality. In January its latest offering, the XV ‘compact crossover’ was launched. David Williams has been finding out if it’s practical enough for the farm. The version tested by Farmers Guide was the flagship XV 2.0i SE Premium Lineartronic. Power is from a 2-litre, horizontally opposed 4-cyl-petrol engine driving through an automatic transmission with automatic drive distribution to the four wheels.

Practicality The XV is a genuine 5-seater with good front legroom and reasonable space in the rear for taller occupants. The full leather seats of the test car were comfortable and easy to wipe clean. The driver’s seat has electric adjustment and both front seats are heated, which proved effective in the cold January weather. There is plenty of storage inside the central armrest and an open tray at the front of the centre console. The glove box is a reasonable size but the door pockets are small with just enough space for a drink bottle and a few smaller items. The Subaru isn’t a big car but with

the rear seat folded down there is decent load space with a floor area of 157 x 110cm. Loading and unloading heavy items is hindered slightly by a large step at the base of the boot opening but with few obstructions the load area is more than capable of carrying tools and machine parts if needed. Towing capacity is 1,400kg, enough for a typical single-axle farm trailer. Ground clearance is a very generous 220mm, more than a Discovery Sport, and combined with the 225/55R18 tyres allows the XV to perform well off-road. It won’t match a full off-road vehicle for performance over rugged terrain, but travelling along slippery, rutted farm tracks and across snow-covered fields of sugar beet stubble it proved more than capable. It has just a single transmission range but manual mode can be selected to maintain a constant ratio by pulling the gear

selector to the right and then using paddles below the steering wheel to adjust the ratio; great in more challenging terrain. When conditions become more demanding, X-Mode can be selected using a button on the centre console. This gives improved traction and better hill-climbing ability by adjusting the engine and gearbox to suit, and it also locks the differentials to make sure power is applied where traction is available. Hill-descent control works with X-Mode to assist the driver by moderating downhill speed and braking. Underside protection is good, and certainly capable of withstanding knocks from tree stumps and fieldedge plough furrows.

controls are generally good with a quality feel. The steering wheel is a good size for on and off-road driving but packing in lots of controls makes it over-complicated. The test XV featured lots of driver aids including adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, which warns the driver if the car strays across white lines on the road and this proved over-sensitive at times, especially when the car was near the centre of narrow country lanes. The XV is available with 1.6or 2.0-litre engines and in SE or Premium specification. On-the-road prices start at £24,995 although the car provided for the test costs £29,045 including £550 premium for red paint.

Performance The 2.0-litre engine supplies 156hp and an impressive 196Nm of torque and performance was excellent. The engine revs freely up to more than 6,000rpm and is generally quiet, but it becomes harsher under hard acceleration. Overall during the 300 miles covered during the test week, fuel consumption averaged 38mpg, not bad considering the mixed on and off-road use and freezing weather. Ride quality on the road is very good and generated praise from passengers. The suspension soaks up potholes and off-road bumps well and there is no noise from the shock absorbers even when they are working hard. Vision all-around is good with very narrow central and screen pillars. The mirrors are large and there is a decent screen for the reversing camera. The built-in TomTom sat-nav is easy to use and clear to follow and

The XV is well equipped and finished, with a good quality feel. It’s comfortable and quiet with plenty of space for passengers and reasonable load space too.

Verdict The new Subaru XV is very versatile and certainly worth considering as a second farm vehicle, perhaps complementing a farm pick-up or full-size 4x4. It’s comfortable, well finished with a great quality feel and performs well on and off-road. The ground clearance and off-road ability mean it’s quite capable of crossing fields and navigating farm tracks to deliver people or parts where needed. Fuel economy is reasonable and a generous 5-year or 100,000-mile warranty provides reassurance. ■

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Farmers Guide April 2018  

Farmers Guide Magazine April 2018 Issue

Farmers Guide April 2018  

Farmers Guide Magazine April 2018 Issue