Chassis, engine, & active safety updates headline the changes

Subaru is best known for making fun, all-weather hatchbacks and wagons with impressive AWD systems. That continues with the introduction of the 2018 Subaru XV – a heavily revised version of the lifted Impreza wagon. The new XV rides on Subaru’s new Global Platform architecture, is powered by 80-percent new Boxer engine, and wears a fresh design, both inside and out.

The Subaru XV was introduced for the 2012 model year and has soldiered on basically unchanged. That changes for the 2018 model year, and the U.S.-spec XV Crosstrek will likely receive these changes for 2019.

Starting with the chassis, Subaru is continuing to spread its new Global Platform throughout its lineup. The Impreza received it last year, so naturally, the XV was next. Subaru says it’s more than 70-percent stiffer than the outgoing chassis, which is good news for off-roaders. The Impreza’s new steering rack makes the leap, too, dropping the ratio from 14:1 to 13:1. And despite the XV boasting an impressive 8.7-inches of ground clearance, the center of gravity drops by 0.2 of an inch. The XV’s handling is further aided by a revised mounting for the anti-sway bars. Subaru says body roll is reduced by a whopping 50 percent.

Most folks will concentrate on the XV’s new sheet metal and its new interior. The high-riding wagon takes after the Impreza, gaining a more angular design with a chiseled chin. New taillights and rear bumper join the mix, as does a new wheel design. Two new colors have been added – Cool Grey Khaki and Sunshine Orange. Inside, the interior completely ditches the outgoing XV’s dull dashboard, replacing it with what’s found in the 2017 Impreza, including the eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There’s more to Subaru’s reworked XV, so keep reading the details.

Continue reading for the full story.

Under the hood, the 2.0-liter flat-four Boxer is the same found in the new Impreza, meaning 80 percent of its parts have been tweaked over the outgoing 2.0-liter. The new engine gets a four-horsepower bump, too, for a total of 154 horses and 145 pound-feet of torque. Sadly, the manual transmission option is dead. We’re left only with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT. As a consolation, it does have seven ratio steps that mimic a conventional automatic transmission. The driver also has paddle shifters.

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system returns, though improved with X-Mode. Designed to improve drivability, X-Mode uses brake-activated torque vectoring to help get around corners. Sadly, Subaru nixed the manual parking brake, replacing it with an electronic buzzkill lever.

Active safety systems have expanded, as well. High Beam Assist, adaptive headlights, Rear Vehicle Detection with blind spot detection, lane change assistance, and reversing assistance are new. Returning is Subaru’s Pre-Collision Braking Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Keep Assist.

Why It Matters

Subaru has sold an impressive number of XV and XV Crosstreks since its debut in 2012. The high-riding Impreza offers wagon-like interior volume with soft-roading abilities and all-weather traction. We’re certainly sad the manual transmission is completely gone, as well as the manual parking brake. That combination made the previous XV Crosstrek a surprisingly fun rally machine right from the factory. Still, most folks will be happy hauling dogs and strapping mountain bikes to the hatch on their way to Whole Foods.

So, what do you think of the new 2018 Subaru XV? Let us know in the comments below.

Press Release

Subaru has unveiled the all-new XV at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show. XV is a crossover which combines a compact body with SUV capability based on Subaru’s distinctive Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and rugged yet sporty design, offering versatility in both urban areas and the countryside.

Subaru Launches Heavily Revised XV at Geneva High Resolution Interior
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For the first re-design since launch in 2012, XV will be built on Subaru’s completely revamped Subaru Global Platform architecture, significantly enhancing the body and chassis rigidity and strength.

The new Subaru XV also offers world-class collision safety and hazard avoidance performance, as well as more responsive handling and ride comfort while enhancing the Subaru XV’s unique design and off road capability. The model is the first strategic offering in Europe under the company’s Prominence 2020 mid-term management vision which delivers “enjoyment and peace of mind” for customers.

Key Features of All-New Subaru XV

XV’s unique design is filled with rugged and sporty character, incorporating the Subaru design philosophy DYNAMIC x SOLID. Functional enhancements have also been included with a high-quality interior and exterior finish.


The Wide & Low stance provides a sporty impression and adds to the Subaru family look, from the hexagonal grille to the hawk-eye headlights. The design flows from the grille through to the rear, providing a united scheme. The grille design and matte black cladding on the bumper elude to XV’s rugged character and SUV functionality.
The character line runs from front wheel arch to rear shoulder and rises energetically; adding dynamism to the side profile. The extended wheel arches suggest the intent and capability provided by Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and is finished off with matte black cladding.
The Wide & Low stance applied to the front design carries over to the rear combination lights. The shoulder silhouette with black roof spoiler are juxtaposed against the rugged matte black cladding on the rear bumper, playing up to XV’s versatile character.
The new model also combines the Subaru performance essentials of superior aerodynamics and visibility with advanced styling.
Newly designed alloy wheels embody the Subaru XV’s sporty, casual, and rugged character.
New exterior colours “Cool Grey Khaki” and “Sunshine Orange” have been added, which contrast with the matte black cladding adding to XV’s active and functional image.

Subaru Launches Heavily Revised XV at Geneva High Resolution Exterior
- image 708647


The body-hugging seats have been revised for improved quality and feature grey trim to enhance XV’s character.
In the centre of the instrument panel is an 8.0-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system, with smartphone connectivity.
Detailed orange stitching on the instrument panel complements the cabin’s quality.
In addition to enhanced interior design, signature Subaru attributes have been further strengthened; excellent all-round visibility, spacious cabin, and cargo room.

Enhanced dynamic driving performance paired with off road capability

All-new XV has been improved in several areas to achieve an enhanced dynamic feel. Steering and pedal feedback, vehicle response, noise and vibration have been refined to achieve a positive driver experience. XV’s impressive off road capability has also been enhanced with X-MODE.

Body & Chassis

The new platform dramatically increases rigidity throughout the body and chassis (70-100% increase over present models). Substantial improvements to the suspension system are incorporated, and help achieve a lower centre of gravity allowing precise steering control. Increased precision allows for superior straight line stability and cornering performance whilst maintaining 220mm ground clearance.
Torsional rigidity has been improved by 70% over present models by optimising frame structure and joints. This distributes resonance and distortion throughout the body, reducing vibrations.
Suspension mounts are more rigid, improving absorption without twisting the chassis and providing a smooth and comfortable drive. Body roll of the vehicle has been reduced by 50% compared to present models.
The steering gear ratio has been modified from 14:1 to 13:1 compared to the previous model, offering superior drivability.
Active Torque Vectoring enhances turning and steering performance.
Electronic parking brake has been added for more convenience.

All-Wheel Drive control

In addition to Subaru’s unique Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, new XV is equipped with X-MODE. X-MODE is designed to increase drivability by optimising integrated control of the engine, All-Wheel Drive system and brakes to provide additional control when tyres slip and lose traction on a slippery road surface, including when descending hills.


80% of the parts on the FB series 2.0-litre Direct Injection Boxer engine have been revamped compared to previous naturally aspirated engines. The new engine is lighter, delivering more power and improved fuel economy.
The improved Lineartronic greatly enhances ratio coverage and lightness to boost acceleration performance and fuel economy. As well as employing full auto-step shift control, the Subaru XV features a 7-speed manual mode function for a more engaging driving experience.
Engine and transmission noise and vibration are greatly reduced, for a more dynamic experience.


Subaru’s safety performance has continuously been highly rated by third-party organizations. The new Subaru XV has adopted technologies to further enhance its safety including the new platform and the advanced preventative safety system, to ensure XV will achieve high safety ratings.

Subaru Launches Heavily Revised XV at Geneva High Resolution Exterior
- image 708648

Active safety

The new platform achieves a centre of gravity that is 5 mm lower than present models. Together with the major improvements in rigidity and the evolution of the suspension system, this lower centre of gravity offers outstanding hazard avoidance capabilities on a level with a high-performance sports car.

Passive safety

Impact energy absorption is improved by 40% over present models by using a frame structure that absorbs more energy and high-tensile steel plates.

Preventive safety

EyeSight, Subaru’s innovative and highly acclaimed driver assist technology, delivers extremely reliable preventive safety and assists drivers through features such as Pre-Collision Braking Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Keep Assist function.
The new High Beam Assist employs a monocular camera, automatically switching from high to low beam as per road conditions.
Steering Responsive Headlights move the beam right or left whilst cornering or at junctions to illuminate the direction of travel. The Subaru XV uses two headlight controls for the first time, dramatically improving night-time visibility and the recognition capabilities of EyeSight.
The Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection has been fitted, offering blind spot detection, lane change assistance and reversing assistance to enhance all-round preventive safety.

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