Few car manufacturers play their role better than Subaru. As other brands are trying to appear more luxurious or sportier, the team in Tokyo just keeps turning out dependable all-wheel drive hatchbacks, wagons and sedans for people who want to get where they're going whatever the weather. The new XV sticks to the formula, with chunkier looks and a higher ride than the standard Impreza for extra lifestyle appeal.
Anyone familiar with the last XV will feel well and truly at home in the new one. Power still comes from a naturally-aspirated boxer four, which makes 115 kW (154 hp) in the Impreza on which the XV is based. That's only 5 kW (8 hp) more than the current model manages, but the new engine is more efficient, lighter and torquier than the old-fashioned lump it replaces.
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As before, it'll be hooked up to a continuously variable transmission, although the new CVT has been retuned to deliver better pickup off the line.
Subaru has always traded on the safety benefits of all-wheel drive, but modern examples are also loaded with active safety systems. Just like the Legacy, the car will be fitted with the excellent EyeSight system, which relies on two cameras mounted behind the rear-view mirror to provide lane-keeping assist, auto-emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
Having tested the systems on an Outback, we can confirm they're among the best in the business. If you and the systems aren't able to keep the car out of the crash barriers, the new platform it's built on is 40 percent more effective at absorbing energy in an accident. The orange paint and black wheels of the car shown off in Geneva should also help with safety – after all, no-one could reasonably claim they didn't see it coming.
Where the new XV really sets itself apart from the outgoing model is style, both inside and out. It isn't exactly pretty compared to the new VW Golf or Hyundai i30, but the hawkish nose and broad taillights make for a more distinctive look than before. Inside, the scratchy plastics and plain design of the last model are gone in favor of a higher-quality new design. The main attraction is a fresh touchscreen with CarPlay and Android Auto, although the standard Subaru StarLink infotainment system and navigation is good in its own right.
Subaru hasn't revealed pricing data for the new XV, but the car is on show at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. New Atlas is on the ground covering all the action, so stay tuned for the latest.