Crossovers, so many of them can be seen on the streets now. Touted as what could simply be sedans on stilts, and despite the many different models from different brands, some might say that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Here’s a thought: why don’t we take that which looks the most different from the rest, something that looks good, but up the ante and add in more style points to make is stand out more?
Subaru has an answer to that: the XV. We managed to get first dibs on the orange XV that you see here, but what makes it rather special is the fact that this is the XV GT Edition (Glenn Tan Edition, perhaps?). The XV that you see here is actually a collaboration between engineering company Giken Co. Ltd and Masahiko “Jack” Kobayashi; the latter being the mind behind the Levorg Sports Tourer, and the iconic WRX STI. Across three variants of the XV, this included, their features are almost all the same, but the GT Edition is for those who’d want to look better than just good. It was penned by former Chief Designer (Head of Global Advanced Design Studio) at Subaru Corporation, after all.
Before we get to that, though, let’s start with what makes the XV a crossover. Subaru already has the Forester, so why come out with something like this? After driving it, my answer is that this is for those looking for the height of a crossover, the ride and feel of a sedan, and dare I say it, the unique look of a lifted hatchback.
Unlike most of its competitors, what always stood out was the low roofline of the XV. Your typical crossover would be high off the ground, with the roof much higher than that of a car. That’s not the case with the XV; it does share the platform with the Impreza after all. Given that fact, the interior is mainly carried over into the XV. More on that later, but for now, let’s take a gander at its exterior looks.
Now we know what you think: it’s the same as all the other XVs out there. And you are right (for the most part). Why do we say that the GT Edition makes the XV better is because of the added kit. There’s nothing like a factory-fresh, kitted-out vehicle. The fit is perfect, nothing is too radical or awkward, and the black and silver chin, side skirt, rear skirt pieces, and spoiler are exactly that.
When it was first released, Subaru did say that they are targeting the “active lifestyle” crowd with this crossover, and with the said kit, plus its special GT Edition rims, it’s an easy pick. It stands out, it looks good, and it’s a Subaru.
As we move inside, possibly the first thing you’d notice would be the orange contrast stitching. It’s seen on the steering, wheel, the dash, the door sidings, and on the upholstery. Subaru hasn’t really been one for bland interiors, and this adds a really nice touch and a younger, sportier vibe to the XV.
On the topic of interiors, we really liked the shape of the seats upfront and at the back. You’ll find that it properly cushions the occupants and that they can really hug and hold you in your seat. For the front seats, only the Driver’s side is powered, but that’s not a bad thing at all.
Another thing that really caught our eyes are the carbon fiber trims on the front door cards. With a car that’s really geared more towards the younger folk, you cannot go wrong with CF. It’s rather sad, though, that the same garnish for the rear doors is not of the same glossy sort as the front. A nitpick, really, but consistency with the trim would go a long way for aesthetics.
While we’re on about things that could be improved, let’s have a look at that infotainment system. Though you do get an 8-inch screen, it’s the same proprietary head unit that we’ve seen with the Forester. Aux and Bluetooth connectivity and navigation come standard, but we think that it’s already become a dated piece of tech not befitting a beauty like the XV GT Edition.
On the flip side, the materials you can see and touch all around its interior are top-notch. Leather, faux metal accents, the aforementioned carbon fiber bits, and soft-touch materials do their job in making you forget that this vehicle has been out since late 2017. Ergonomics also clearly take the spotlight in how the cabin is laid out. With everything within easy arms’ reach, you won’t find yourself fiddling about with the climate control, or the audio and cruise control switches on the steering wheel.
In terms of passenger comfort, the seats, as we mentioned, give good support. Another good thing about the XV is that it has a rather long wheelbase that translates to more legroom for front and rear passengers. There is space enough for three adults in the rear, but the caveat is they have to be of the “regular” Asian built. Shoulder room is quite enough, but if you decide to have someone on the heftier side take the backseat, then it’s best that you have two in the seat.
Ride quality could be better, though, to be honest. The ride is supple but leans slightly towards the firmer side. It’s not uncomfortable per se, but you do feel the bumps and imperfections of our roads. It’s not going to rattle your teeth off, but it was meant to handle like a sporty drive, too. Given its intended nature, no, this is not something to raise your eyebrows at, really. There are softer-riding crossovers on offer, no doubt. But you should know that the ride and feel are part and parcel of being in a Subaru.
That being mentioned, the powerplant, as expected, is a 2.0-liter flat-four engine. With 156 horses and an impressive 196 Nm of torque, the XV is no slouch. It is on that token that it is also a bit of a drinker. The non-turbo mill is rather thirsty, bringing consumption to just about 6.6 kilometers per liter in the Metro’s traffic. On mixed driving, though, it was considerably better, returning about 8.2 kilometers.
We cannot stress enough that for a brand known for performance vehicles and engines, these figures are quite common. While conscious hypermiling could improve one’s fuel consumption, perhaps getting the blue six-star badge might not be your cup of tea. For those who like the punch and the handling prowess, though, the gas guzzle is something we can simply shrug off.
Another very big plus point for the XV is EyeSight. The GT Edition comes standard with Subaru’s newest tech, and with its four features, namely EyeSight features Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Keep Assist, and Sway Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control, safety, and comfort are some things you are never short of. Traffic? Long Drives? EyeSight is absolutely god-sent, and it really sets the bar for all of the XV’s competitors. Just set it, let EyeSight do the work for you, and you can enjoy your drive despite being caught bumper-to-bumper, or on monotonous stretches of highways.
With its price tag of PhP 1,768,000, many may argue that this could get them a softer riding crossover for cheaper, or a higher-riding hauler for about the same price. But see, Subaru has always had a following, and it’s not just because of their vehicles’ sporty rides, their strong engines, and definitely not for the inherent thirst and their owners’ masochistic pleasure of paying for gas often.
For those who gravitate towards the Subaru brand, they do so because they expect to get behind the wheel of a capable, fast, and good-handling vehicle. Of course, looking good is probably the biggest bonus you can get, right? With the XV, you’ve already had all of the above. But with the GT Edition, we say it’s worth the extra coin if you have it because it truly makes the XV look better than it normally does. Of course, people may argue with that thought, but hey, you can't really blame us if we're just basing that on how people looked at the XV and give it the thumbs up in the parking lot and on the road, right?