Review Subaru XV e-Boxer (2020)

22 Jul 2021, 15:26  •  Review  •  Door koen

Subaru now also supplies most models with e-Boxer technology. This hybrid system supports the combustion engine. We already drove it in the snow, but how do you like the e-Boxer in the flat Netherlands?

Subaru XV versus Impreza

The current generation Subaru XV came on the market in 2017. Like the previous models, it is in fact the off-road version of the Impreza hatchback. Both cars are technically identical. Both the Impreza and XV therefore have a four-cylinder boxer engine and permanent four-wheel drive, but the XV does have tougher decor and is clearly higher on the wheels.

Subaru competition

Subaru sees the XV itself mainly as a direct competitor to the (relatively) compact crossovers such as the Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen T-Roc and Volvo XC40. It is proudly mentioned that the Subaru has the most ground clearance. The Mazda comes in at 192mm, the Volkswagen at 162mm, the Volvo 211mm and the Subaru XV is 220mm off the ground.

Focus Active and V40 Cross Country

Although the XV, like the aforementioned crossovers, offers a high seat, we mainly see cars such as the Ford Focus Active, Kia XCeed and the (now no longer available) Volvo V40 Cross Country as the most direct competitors, with the main difference that the Subaru always has four-wheel drive.

Brand loyalty subaru

Subaru is also a brand with a very loyal customer base. That group is so loyal that Subaru doesn’t even have to advertise. The copies that Subaru Nederland receives will automatically find their way to the buyer. The brand loyalty is also evident from the fact that we spontaneously got a thumbs up from a fellow XV driver along the way.

Engine range

The existing ‘normal’ 1.6-litre boxer engine will remain in the range as an entry-level engine. With a power of 114 hp, the 1.6 remains technically unchanged. The new 2.0-litre e-Boxer engine replaces the ‘regular’ 2.0-litre. The e-Boxer engine delivers 150 hp and is enhanced by a 16.7 hp electric motor.

The new e-Boxer technology is actually a bit between a mild hybrid and a regular hybrid. The electric motor is mainly there to support the combustion engine. This saves fuel consumption, especially when accelerating from a standstill. In this respect, the e-Boxer is primarily a mild hybrid.

Fully electric subaru

However, just like a regular hybrid, the electric motor can also drive the car independently, albeit under select circumstances. At a constant low speed, such as in a residential area, the car often switches to EV mode. However, as soon as you accelerate a little bit, the combustion engine switches back on.

The fully electric range is therefore not much at 1.6 kilometers (manufacturer’s specification). Nevertheless, we were able to cover the last part of our route, a part of the 30-zone in a residential area, completely electrically. Also (quiet) parking is fully electric.

Subaru XV e-Boxer driver mode

These different modes of propulsion are referred to as Engine Driving, EV Driving and Motor Assist Driving driving modes. The XV switches between these modes completely independently. For more information: In this article we take a detailed look at the e-Boxer technology. There is also the X-Mode, which you can switch on yourself. Then everything is even more tuned to get maximum grip.

As a Dutchman you will probably mainly use the X-Mode for winter sports. Last month we even drove the XV e-Boxer on a ski slope and discovered that X-Mode works impressively well. Now let’s see how the car feels under more realistic Dutch conditions.

Switching between the different drive modes is smooth. You notice the switch on the EV light and (sometimes) the engine noise, but the transition remains smooth. There is, however, some hesitation in the response to the gas when starting from a standstill. It is precisely here that the electric motor should give an extra push. The car also brakes relatively strongly when the gas is released to recharge the e-Boxer battery, but you get used to it quickly.

Subaru interior

True range Subaru XV e-Boxer

At the end of the test week, we have an average consumption of approximately 1 to 14. With some rides, we even had the manufacturer’s specification of 1 to 15 on the counter. Whether that’s a good value depends on how you look at it. At first glance, both values are actually a bit disappointing for a car with electrical support.

On the other hand: for a car with boxer engine and permanent four-wheel drive, it is just a decent value. In addition, it remains in any case more economical than the ‘normal’ XV models, although the manufacturer’s specification is not even much higher with about 1 in 14.

Driver experience subaru EV

When accelerating, the engine is relatively loud, but once at a constant speed, the boxer engine is inaudible. Only the tires can be heard a little. At highway speed there is some wind noise.

The rest of the driving comfort is fine, as we are used to from Subaru and even noticed when we drove the XV earlier. The XV offers a pleasant, high seating position, a nice steering feel and also manages to almost completely smooth out the larger bumps in the road.

Subaru drive Assistance

Subaru also remains one of the brands with the finest driving assistance. Lane guidance may intervene preventively, but in a subtle and therefore not a nuisance way. So here is no system that continuously pushes and pulls on the steering wheel. The adaptive cruise control is also good. You can set the distance to the predecessor yourself. The shortest position is just right for the Netherlands. Sufficient margin, while another won’t dive into the hole so quickly. If it is necessary to slow down, the system does it naturally.

The system should be able to restart the car more quickly as soon as the road is clear again, but this point of attention actually applies to any car with adaptive cruise control. The adaptive cruise control works up to and including standstill. However, it is not a traffic jam assistant: as soon as your predecessor starts driving again, you have to give the gas yourself to get going again. In the standby function, the cruise control automatically takes over as soon as you let go of the gas.

Remarkable: unless you set your cruise control to the speed that you happen to be driving at that moment, the speed can only be set in steps of 5 km/h. Difficult for those who usually set the cruise at Vmax+7. If you do not need the assistance systems, they can be switched off at the push of a button. It is useful that the car remembers this on a next drive. Incidentally, the systems continue to warn, but they no longer intervene.

We really like the idea behind the EyeSight system. By working with the two cameras – located at the top behind the windscreen – there is no need to hide expensive radar in the grille or the bumper, as with most of the competition. Looks a lot nicer and also saves a lot of repair costs in the event of a collision. You wonder why more brands don’t do it this way.

Pricing Subaru XV e-Boxer

The Subaru XV is in the price list from 36,795 euros and for that money you get the 1.6-liter engine. With the new e-Boxer on board, prices start at 40,295 euros. This makes the XV a fairly pricey car at first glance. For example, the Ford Focus Active is available from 27,955 euros. You should keep in mind that Subaru’s are already richly equipped as standard. The list of additional options to be added is very short. With this in mind, the additional price compared to the competition is suddenly a lot lower. If you check the necessary options with those other brands, you will quickly arrive at a comparable price.

Conclusion on the Subaru XV e-Boxer

The addition of the new e-Boxer technology proves to be a good choice. Although it does not result in drastically lower consumption, every little bit helps. Furthermore, the Subaru XV is still the comfortable, robust car it has always been.

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