Australia & New Zealand Cruises

2018 Subaru XV Review (A.K.A. Subaru Crosstrek) | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia





What strikes me more than anything is: XV is what Forester used to be – a substantively pumped-up Impreza. Same footprint – but a bit over five inches higher. It’s compact and affordable. Just right for active lifestyle adventuring – but not proper blue-singlet off-roading.

It’s typically Subaru – well built, good ergonomics, and an easy to understand range – four variants with one powertrain. New Global platform – that’s the fundamental architecture. A two-litre Boxer four and a CVT with Symmetrical AWD.

The EyeSight safety system is brilliant. If you care about your loved ones – you really do want EyeSight. Don’t scrimp on this – it’s only $2400 more, and you get a bigger touch screen and dual-zone climate air thrown in. It’s a no-brainer.

EyeSight also adds adaptive cruise, which is just awesome. So good on the freeway – the car automatically adapts to congestion, slows down and maintains a safe following distance, then speeds back up. You’d never go back.

The weight is within 100kg of Impreza. It’s the same powertrain. Therefore: Very similar performance. Basically line-ball with other strong two-litre petrol SUVs – the 2.0-litre Sportage and Tucson, and the 2.0-litre CX-5.

XV keeps up in traffic and on the highway. It’s reasonably quiet and it goes where you tell it to go.

Perversely the boot space is smaller even than Impreza (310L versus 345 on Impreza) and just to get the volume in perspective (a lot of people think SUVs are bigger because … SUV) the new i30 is 345 litres.

Subaru only provides a space-saver spare, which is kinda at odds with the wild adventuring this vehicle is otherwise so well set up to accommodate. And I don’t know why they do that – the other SUVs (Forester and Outback) see fit to run full-sized spares). It seems an odd choice.

This begs an obvious question: All things considered, then why not just buy an Impreza hatch?

Same powertrain. Same parking lot footprint. Impreza even holds more luggage. But it’s a close thing. One reason might be ground clearance. The other might be your mobility. The extra height – 135mm or 5 inches adds both. So if you want to traverse rough roads, XV is going to be a better option, and if you have a bad back or a bung knee – ditto. Getting in and out is just going to be easier.

Subaru added X-Mode to extend the all-terrain envelope. It chills out the throttle response at low speed to minimise the chance of you provoking traction-sapping wheelspin. Hardens up the limited-slip diff and also sharpens up brake response.

This is all for the slippery stuff, under 40km/h. Under 20: HDC – you take your feet off and let the computer manage that, and just steer. It’s a real plus when traction is low – if you want to avoid becoming a toboggan – which – trust me, you do.

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45 comments

  1. I've been in the motor industry since 2001 and I love your reviews. Keep on keeping it real.

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  2. Great review John! Well done! We're up here in Sunny California..

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  3. If you like this car Jon, that enough for me.
    Ill be headed to my local dealer next week

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  4. cvt is shite

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  5. I have had problems with my music system in my 2018 Crosstrek but they were solved with a
    spray from Deoxit D5 contact cleaner on the ends of cable as it improves connections with the
    iPhone connection and my outboard Sirius radio plugged into
    "media"…..Buy it……..its on ebay.

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  6. I have had problems with my music system in my 2018 Crosstrek but they were solved with a
    spray from Deoxit D5 contact cleaner on the ends of cable as it improves connections with the
    iPhone connection and my outboard Sirius radio plugged into
    "media"…..Buy it……..its on ebay.

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  7. Easily one of the TOP automotive channels out there. Bravo! Keep it up!

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  8. Ekim Andersom.
    I assume your blanket dissing of "… moronic Americans" was intended to be restricted to the question under discussion, i.e., whether or not Subarus are slow … . I have owned them, starting as soon as they arrived in the States, in 1977 or 1978. They were then, and were through last year, definitely, slow; I Saying that doesn't make me a moron, just a Subaru driver. I loved that little wagon, and I wish I hadn't sold it; it got me through many snowstorms, and, with a full load, through one motherly ice storm, during which I did not see another car on the freeway clear across Dallas. It also worked down in Galveston, in the mud on the Gulf shore. But, as I and many owners, from the States and elsewhere, have pointed out, the vehicles have major problems (chronic blown head gaskets among them
    ), which I gather from my READING (You may want to RE-READ that last word.), may have been more than adequately addressed by Subaru this year, or will in 2020, I haven't checked.
    Other improvements have also been reported. The top-of-the-line model is supposed to go for about $U.S. 40K. Might well be worth it.
    BTW – Periodic contempt, probable chronic anger, not doing your homework, and poor control of your mouth could get you in trouble, one day. You might want to watch that.

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  9. Hi thanks for the review. Just wondering how are the service costs of a Subaru XV?

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  10. Lately, I’ve crossed here in Quebec/Canada Subaru XV Crosstrek’s. Is it because someone added the XV to the badge?

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  11. its a lifted impreza

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  12. The only undesirable thing is the simulated shifting.

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  13. Excellent review

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  14. 2nd video after the X Trail review… ill say youre show is damn good too as Mat Watsons on Carwow.. love your reviews!

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  15. We have had a xv for about 18 mouths love it great suv

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  16. Thnx from Sweden😊 i just ordered a crosstek to comute in the swedish climate!

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  17. My Subaru Crosstrek 2018 has a gas mileage of 22.5 mpg over the four months I've owned it. I bought it not entirely new, with jus 4000 miles, and after an accident (it was completely repaired when I bought it). When I bought it, it showed gas mileage of 30 mpg. Any ideas why this is happening? According to the manual, it should be 27-33 mpg. So the difference seems kind of abnormal. Could the accident have anything to do with it? Otherwise the car performs fine.

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  18. Any technical issues problems with the diesel euro6 and petrol engines yet ?? Please report

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  19. Wondering if the xv 2020, would fill in the levorg powertrain 1.6T with 250nm, that would be the all around car, killin the likes of 120s, a200, and a3s

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  20. gr8 review really sad though looking at any dislikes
    keep it up mate

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  21. I just bought a new 2019 Crosstrek. I had been reading a lot about them, but this review sealed the deal. I got to drive it home from the dealer on the freeway with the adaptive cruise control…. and I love it so far. It just feels very comfortable and safe to drive. I should also mention that switching to manual mode makes the car less sluggish when you're accelerating.

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  22. Hi there, about 6 months ago I rented an XV. I was looking forward to take it for a spin but I cannot quantify how disappointed I was. The car is pretty gutless for a 2L engine. Getting onto a freeway and adjusting speed did not feel natural, the engine was revving high and the CVT seemed all over the place. Inside it looked plastic cheap and not that comfortable. Unfortunately that has completely put me off considering the latest Subaru XV or Forester since I understand they follow the same architecture.
    I’m by no mean an expert but I find that my old 1.8L Corolla was more responsive than the XV.

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  23. Subarus definitely do corner 😛

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  24. Just bought an XV packed with more tech than I thought I needed but tech i am quickly appreciating.slow? a car with sensible accelerations my previous cars were a GX impreza 2.2 mod and an 2.5 RS I am very happy with 220mm clearance.. you can lay the back seats down when you wanna cruise this country the only criticism is the space saver tyre this is bullshit which I will continue to shit on 5 year warranty was a big selling point for me and my buying experience was second to none.

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  25. Quite informative review. How would u compare it with toyota CHR?

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  26. Please come to Canada

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  27. Fair dinkum, John, Ive watched a few of your post now. You are the worst Jap-ophile I've ever come across. I've driven the XV, are you serious mate?? The worst, most gutless piece of modern pus available. And that CVT is a deal breaker. My mate drove his pride and joy XV from Brisbane to Melbourne and by the time he got here, had to concede what a crap open-roader it was. The effort to over-take and climb hills resulted in constant over-revving and his fuel consumption was deplorable in these modern days……he achieved hwy average of 9lts/100kms. Modern petrol V8's achieve better than that..!! He still likes the car, but no longer that impressed with it. And maybe you should investigate some of the problems with the latest crop of Toyotas, ie.Hilux, Fortuner, Prado, and Corolla, and the move onto Nissan, especially the CVT's, then do some research on Mazda……

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  28. Thank you for an excellent review. My wife tried multiple cars when her passed down from me 2001 Toyota Solara started failing at 150,000 miles, and she fell in love with the 2017 Crosstrek. She made the mistake of telling me to try taking it to work, a 20 mile drive, 3 days after she got it. 2 weeks later I bought my 2018 Premium though I had not given a thought to trading in my 2011 RAV4 yet. I fell in love with the Crosstrek/XV after one serious daily work drive. Never liked leather seats, so I didn't get the Limited despite liking some of its extra features. The Premium suited me just fine. Mine has most of the bells and whistles other than the leather and the LED lights. Just over a year later I still totally love it and enjoy driving it. EyeSight is fantastic, I use it daily driving the freeways and toll roads in SoCal, love the adaptive cruise control. EyeSight also saved my wife in her first week with her new XV when a car pulled out of a shopping center directly in front of her. No chance of her avoiding it … but her XV did with the EyeSight. Saved her from wrecking a 1 week old car and probably some serious injuries. Your review is spot on! 0 to 60 that they quote must be babying the car to get the high gas mileage. I have no problem merging on the California freeways, or getting a good jump at traffic lights. The CRosstrek has converted me from a Toyota fan to a Subie lover.

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  29. Did I hear bearing

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  30. I have the 2017 Outback. The eyesight/adaptive cruise control Is the best. When I got it I thought it was just a nice extra, but you soon realise how effective and helpful it is.

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  31. Any comments/review about the T-ROC VW? Besides that is expensive like hell? 😉

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  32. Max speed in Oz’s country is 100-110 km/h (haha ha haha ha)! Guys – U’re slow by definition! How a car can ever be slow here :). Go Europe if U want speed ! Cheers

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  33. Can you please help me with Subaru Forester 2019 top end model? Should I go with Subaru XV 2.5S edition top end model or Subaru Forester 2019 top end model. I’m really confused between the two.

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  34. CVT? You had me at CVT… enough for me to stop watching….

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  35. I wonder if Subaru is your sponsor or …..

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  36. as an owner of that original model of forester and same color 😛 mine has done over 400 thousand kms (alot of them off road in some rugged terrain) it is still going solid. big thing I have to say on it I would be curious to see how the pair would go in a comparison XV more power and torque 20mm more ground clearance and down hill decent, but low profile tires and no low range vs the SF Forester 45% low range 70% profile tyres and really really good gearing for crawling and maybe better angles in approach and departure although I am not sure I cannot find any information on what the SF angles were.

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  37. US citizen here, but really like this review and your style. Too bad you cant get us discounts over here. 🙂

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  38. John, i’m getting the Subaru for my mother-in-law, I’m really questioning eyesight. Am I a bad person?

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  39. I see what's wrong with it….the steering wheel is on the wrong side

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  40. Can the XV tow a 4.5 metre boat?

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  41. they have the best commercials

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  42. Greetings from Canukistan! 😉 I've owned a 2010 Impreza and became a convert to Subaru. Subys handle the snow and ice very well and the reliability is outstanding. I wish we had a Cadogan clone here in the Great White North but I'll settle for the 'stralian Santa Claus instead (the guy with no hair and the big white beard). Keep up the good work!

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  43. Always liked Subaru !

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  44. If Subaru slotted the WRX/Levorg powertrain in the XV, I would buy one today

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  45. thanks sir for informative review

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