Subaru XV (2012 – 2018) Review

Subaru XV (2012 – 2018) At A Glance


+Subaru crossover similar to the Nissan Qashqai. Powered by new generation Boxer diesel engine.

-Expensive for what it is.

Insurance Groups are between 17–27
On average it achieves 91% of the official MPG figure

Subaru's ageing line-up has become expensive and off the pace compared to many rivals and in the past couple of years new cars have been very thin on the ground. Instead of expanding, the range has contracted, with the loss of cars like the Tribeca and Justy.

It's aiming to restore some of the buzz that people used to associate with the Subaru name. Part of that will come from cars like the BRZ, co-developed with Toyota, but of more significance are models like this, the Subaru XV, a crossover designed to have strong family appeal.

Although you'd expect the XV to be more of a rival to the like of the Kia Sportage and Skoda Yeti, it is actually priced more in-line with its premium competitors like the Audi Q3. That's principally because of the yen/sterling exchange rate: the XV is expensive to import. Prices start at £21,295 for the entry-level 1.6S, which compares to £18,520 for the entry-level four-wheel drive Yeti and £19,050 for the entry-level 4x4 Qashqai.

But there is one very important caveat to these prices and that's Subaru's recently-introduced ETCo (Everything Taken Care of) package. It's a masterstroke that transforms the XV from an also-ran to a possible contender - depending on how you value the benefits that are on offer.

This outstanding package offers buyers minor dent and scratch repairs, alloy wheel repairs, monthly wash, annual full valet, lost keys replacement, service collection and delivery, annual wheel alignment check, first MoT cover (and contribution to repairs), accident management service, insurance excess cover contribution and winter wheel and tyre storage. And all for three years.

It’s an impressive package of features that’s unrivalled by any other manufacturer and said to be worth in the region of £7000. It's also transferable to a new owner, giving the XV an added USP if you're selling to a private buyer.

The XV has niche appeal, which is confirmed by the small numbers that will be brought over the UK. The high price and firm ride means that it won't appeal to everyone. But those looking for a car with more than a token all-wheel drive system, rugged build quality, and a worry-free ownership package and  may find that the XV is just the job.

Subaru XV 2012 Road Test

Subaru XV 2018 Road Test (entirely new car)

Real MPG average for a Subaru XV (2012 – 2018)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

32–57 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now

Ask Honest John

Does the cam chain need tightening on my Subaru XV?

"I purchased my Subaru XV automatic back in June 2020 and the mileage is now at 26,500 miles. I am used to changing the cam belt, pullies and water pump every four years on my previous Subaru RX, but when I enquired with my main dealer about a changing my cam belt, I was advised this engine has a cam chain so no need for replacement. As there's no need for a replacement, does the cam chain need tightening? And is there a need to change the water pump? "
The Subaru XV has a timing chain, in fact, it has two of them, one going to each of the overhead cams. One of the most common issues with the chain comes from the hydraulic tensioners which have a tendency to leak. Having said that we would not expect to have a problem at your mileage. There's no need to change the water pump either as they are only changed when a belt or chain is being replaced as a precaution because of easy access to the water pump whilst changing the belt etc.
Answered by Alan Ross

Should I swap my petrol car for a plug-in hybrid?

"I am very pleased with my three-year-old Subaru XV auto. I have no reason to change it, except that I am considering swapping to a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for sake of good ecological practice. Perhaps a straight swap for either 2015 or 2016 used Outlander. Do the same principals apply regarding timing belt changes (perhaps chain driven)? What are things to look out for with the Outlander?"
If you're happy with your XV, I wouldn't be too quick to swap it for an Outlander PHEV unless you wanted more space. The Outlander's not a bad car, but it's thirsty unless you can charge the PHEV battery regularly. You'll be looking at a real-life electric range of around 20=miles and, once the battery's empty, it's essentially a very heavy petrol SUV. If most of your journeys are less than 20-miles and you can charge it at home, it might work for you. To answer your questions, it has a timing chain rather than a belt. Like your Subaru, the Outlander is a fairly reliable SUV, although ask the seller if you can get a battery condition report from a Mitsubishi dealer. If it's never been charged (or has been charged regularly using faster chargers), it might be hiding issues.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Which petrol cars car offer 4WD?

"I need a car with 4x4 capability because I have to negotiate a muddy track every day. I need a reliable car, but it doesn’t need to be big. I do around 8000 miles per year, mainly short journeys, so I’m thinking petrol would be best. There don’t seem to be many petrol 4x4s available. I’ve got the Subaru XV on my shortlist - is that a good idea? Can you suggest anything else?"
Both the Subaru XV crossover and Levorg estate are available with four-wheel drive and petrol power. However, when it comes to value and comfort, I’d recommend the Suzuki Vitara: The 1.4 BoosterJet petrol is a great engine and Suzuki’s AllGrip four-wheel drive system should be sufficient to cope with winter and muddy roads, especially if you fit a good set of all-season tyres like Michelin Cross Climate, Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons or Nokian Weatherproof.
Answered by Dan Powell

What automatic petrol SUVs do you recommend with AWD?

"I want to change my 2012 Subaru XV for a new car. I've tested a BMW X1 and a Peugeot 3008 but have now found out that the 3008 is not AWD. I'm looking for a petrol SUV, automatic, AWD 1.6 - 2.0. What do you recommend? At the moment I'm edging closer to the BMW."
The 3008 doesn't need to be 4WD. Peugeot's Grip Control that comes with all weather tyres is actually better. But, of course, the other contender is the Subaru Levorg, just tested yesterday:
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Subaru XV (2012 – 2018) cost?