CROSS OVER TO A CROSSOVER
Paul Agnew redefines the way he drives after taking the impressive Subaru XV for a road test on a wild autumnal morning
Today’s cars are a sociable bunch. Even when driving alone you never feel quite on your own as there’s always a voice or a beep or a signal coming from somewhere, offering guidance and advice. Sometimes even instruction.
Indeed, road testing the splendid Subaru XV has redefined the way I will drive from now on.
Across the intricate highways around Barnoldswick, this award-winning motor calmly told me more than once that I was in danger of crossing the dotted white line.
For if you veer slightly and are not indicating to fellow motorists an intention to do so, an innovative ‘lane departure’ function kicks in and steers you back on track.
It’s precisely what this comfortable, compact, all-wheel drive vehicle, that is equally sure-footed whether around town or, in my case, in the thick of the countryside on the wildest autumn morning imaginable, is all about.
Collection point was Dales Subaru, a family-run dealership (dad Ross Butterworth with 25 years’ experience in the car industry and son Nathan a more than capable deputy) on Colne Road, near Kelbrook.
Ross has worked the site since 1998, taking up the Subaru franchise three years ago. Already, the expert team has established Dales as the fastest-growing Subaru dealership in the UK.
And so to the car.
The two-litre premium model I drove is an impressive and resourceful machine with the emphasis (Ribble Valley families take note) very much on safety. Euro NCAP’s best-in-class ‘safest family car’ no less.
Capable and refined, which is always a good mix, the XV is a crossover with an eye very much on the here and now.
Aptly-named ‘EyeSight’ the latest in driver aid technology provides warnings and collision avoidance assistance, while ‘Hill Descent Control’ manages braking and power on steep inclines. A keyless entry with push button start avoids a lot of fumbling around.
Rigid but light, there is a real sense of strength and protection, along with a high-driving position and ample and flexible storage.
It looks good too with a smart, sporty appearance and the option of a power-slide sunroof and leather seating, not to mention a next-generation infotainment system and a multi-function colour touchscreen.
The Subaru XV, though, is very much about drive quality.
Horizontal positioning of the acclaimed four-cylinder, 16-valve, petrol injection boxer engine means vibration and noise are minimal and creates a low centre of gravity and balanced weight distribution.
The result is exceptional handling and poise. Oh, and did I mention five years warranty and three years roadside assist?
So, if you are contemplating crossing over to a crossover, or just want to see what is out there to rival the one you already have, then the Subaru XV is well worth a very close look.
439 Colne Road
Barnoldswick BB18 6TG