New look, new tricks, higher price
The XV has long been one of Subaru Philippine’s best-selling models, and there’s a good reason for it. It’s practical, comfortable, can carry a lot of cargo, and handles very well for a crossover. There’s no turbo engine, but it does have Subaru’s signature symmetrical all-wheel drive and a smooth Lineartronic CVT. Just check out our reviews of the previous models on the site.
Last year, Motor Image introduced the facelifted 2022 XV. On the outside, the changes were very subtle. However, we were told there were a few more changes aside from the new look. So when I was handed the key to the new GT Edition, I was curious about what the updated model had in store.
I expected everything to more or less be the same, and to a certain extent, I was right. The exterior, interior, and the way it drove were very familiar. But more on that later. First, I’ll go through the changes between this and the pre-facelift model.
The styling differences between this 2022 model and the pre-facelift are quite subtle. Most of the changes are at the front of the crossover. There’s a new grille and bumper with more black cladding, giving the XV a more rugged look compared to its predecessor. This being the GT Edition, the stylish kit has now been redesigned to fit the new bumper.
Apart from the new-look front end, there are no other exterior updates on this 2022 model. Even on the XV GT Edition, Subaru opted to run the same wheels as before. There’s nothing wrong with that; they look good compared to the standard XV wheels. It's the same story with the rear end.
I like how the new front bumper looks especially with the GT Edition kit, but I think the design of the old grille suits the XV better. The single bar with a mesh design looked more aggressive compared to the honeycomb design of this new one. What do you think?
Step inside and those that have driven/ridden the pre-facelift XV will feel right at home. I never found an issue with the layout of the XV’s dashboard, and it’s a good thing the automaker didn’t change things up just for the sake of making a change. What's new is the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system now comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This makes life so much easier; I plug in my phone and control almost all features from the head unit.
Need to carry items? There’s a very big boot that can easily hold various goods. Meanwhile, a cargo tonneau cover hides stuff from prying eyes. Unfortunately, the 2022 XV does not come with a power tailgate, meaning you still have to open it manually. It can be quite a hassle, especially if your hands are full.
Apart from the updated head unit, the 2022 XV also comes with a dual-function X-Mode, which is similar to what you’d find in the Forester. The more advanced function allows the XV to tackle tougher terrain. According to the system, it can now take on deep snow and mud. While there is no snow in the Philippines (though the setting is similar for sand) the mud mode is perfect for those that occasionally hit the great outdoors. I did want to try out the new X-Mode, but the current circumstances didn’t allow me to do so. Hopefully, I’ll be able to test the XV’s dual X-Mode to full capacity next time. I’m curious how capable the 2022 XV is and how far I’ll be able to take it in muddy terrain.
What I did get to experience was the new SI-Drive mode that's now available on the 2022 XV. It’s similar to what you’d find in the WRX, Forester, and other models in the Subaru Philippine’s lineup. This feature allows the driver to choose between two different drive modes. The difference between Sport and Intelligent isn’t as big compared to what you would normally experience in the WRX or the WRX STI. This may not be not a high-performance vehicle but that changeover is still noticeable.
In Sport, the throttle is more responsive, and it holds the revs up in the powerband longer. But if you want to drive a bit more efficiently, keep it in Intelligent mode. Either way, those that have driven the pre-facelift XV will be familiar with the 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated boxer engine and the Lineartronic CVT. The engine still produces the same 156 PS and 196 Nm torque, sent to all four wheels.
While some might say it lacks the power, I find it more than enough for both the city and the expressways. The crossover didn’t have a hard time accelerating from a dig. In Sport mode, it hit the speed limit quickly when I put my foot down. But going hard with it didn’t mean sacrificing fuel economy. During my time with the XV, I averaged around 8.5 km/L in the city, at around 16 km/h. Mind you, that includes switching between Sport and Intelligent mode for overtaking and some spirited drives. On the expressways, that figure went up to around 12.3 km/L while averaging around 66 km/h.
Aside from having enough power, one thing I always liked about the XV is the ride. Even with this facelifted model, Subaru decided not to mess with the suspension. It still rides as good as it did before, easily absorbing all the bumps that Metro Manila has to offer. Since it does ride fairly high there’s no need to worry about scraping even with the GT kit installed.
Handling-wise, it’s very easy to drive. The steering wheel isn’t too weighted or too light, which I find just right. It gives proper feedback on the road surface, making it easy to drive at the same time. It might be a crossover, but there’s not a lot of body roll when taking corners or changing lanes at speed either. So whether you’re going for a spirited drive or a grocery run, you won’t feel bored in the XV. You’ll even be safe too.
With the introduction of the facelifted XV last year, all variants now come standard with Subaru’s EyeSight Safety Suite of technology. It’s very helpful both in slow-speed traffic situations or cruising along the expressway, and acts as your extra pair of eyes.
So the refreshed XV is as great as its predecessor in terms of handling, power, safety, and design. But there is one big issue this 2022 model has: the price. The new 2022 XV GT Edition retails for PHP 2,008,000. It's expensive for a crossover, especially with all the other models available in the market. And for better comparison, the pre-facelift XV GT Edition we tested in 2019 retailed at PHP 1,768,000, but the price was hiked up in 2020 to PHP 1,988,000. The price jump to PHP 2,008,000 isn't that big, but still important. Subaru needs to have a regional assembly to help lower the prices because this XV is still Japan-made.
Subaru Philippines does have a lot of discounts and promos available for the XV, including this new GT Edition, but that’s still a lot of money to cough up. Add another PHP 60,000 on top of the XV GT Edition’s SRP, and you already have enough for the Forester 2.0i-S EyeSight.
The 2022 XV GT Edition is still a very good crossover, don’t get me wrong, but pricing is at semi premium levels. That has its drawbacks, but also has benefits.