Geneva Motor Show - The 2017 Subaru XV crossover, revealed this week at the Palexpo and due in South Africa in the third quarter of this year is genuinely all new. And then again, it’s not.
It’s new because it’s the first redesign of the XV since the the original launch in 2012 and because it’s built on the company’s completely revised Subaru Global Platform - and it’s not, because it shares that platform and a lot of its mechanical bits with the new Impreza, scheduled for SA release before mid-year.
That includes the Impreza’s 115kW / 196Nm, direct injection 1995cc petrol flat four, which Subaru says is lighter, more powerful, smoother-running and more efficient than the previous-generation naturally-aspirated boxer. It drives all four wheels (of course) via Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive and a Lineartronic constantly variable transmission - which also has a seven-step ‘manual’ mode to mimic a conventional gearbox.
All of which is supervised (and we use that word deliberately) by X-Mode, which integrates control of the engine, all-wheel drive and brakes to optimise traction on loose or slippery surfaces, especially on steep downhills.
The new platform is not only stiffer than the previous XV bodyshell, its revised architecture (and lighter drivetrain) have dropped the centre of gravity by 5mm - which is more significant than it sounds - while retaining its 220mm ground clearance. That has enabled Subaru’s whitecoats to reduce body roll by 50 percent and make the steering more direct (from 14:1 to 13:1).
The cabin is trimmed in grey with detailed orange stitching on the instrument panel, which features a new 20.3cm touch-screen infotainment system (also to be seen in the Impreza) with voice-controlled satnav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone-pairing, and various other online apps.
The front seats have been revised for improved lateral support, and an electronic parking brake replaces the previous handbrake.
Standard driver aids include active torque vectoring, and the full EyeSight driver assistance package - also shared with Impreza - including stereo colour cameras and software to warn you of impending collisions and brake for you if necessary, as well as lane departure and sway warnings, reverse assistance and adaptive cruise control.
The headlight beams swivel with the steering to light up the inside of corners the direction of travel at intersections, while a single-lens camera monitors oncoming traffic -as well as cars ahead of it in the same lane, automatically switching from high to low beam as per road conditions.