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BabyDrive Verdict

The Subaru XV is a small hatchback SUV. With lots of people making the switch to SUVs as their family car of choice, we had to put this little SUV through our BabyDrive paces and see how it fairs as a family car. Will it be a good compromise, especially in the cities where parking is limited but you might want to do a bit of exploring at the weekend?! Let's find out as we put the XV through our BabyDrive testing!

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We drove the previous model XV six or more years ago back in Melbourne, BC (before child). We took it for a test drive over the weekend in a national park and got locked into a 4WD track!! The park rangers were striking and we didn’t know anything about it. They came around and locked the gates at midday and we were merrily enjoying a bit of off-road ‘chocolate sauce' mud driving! We went to leave to get back to Melbourne to meet friends out for dinner and the gate was locked across! We had no phone reception so couldn’t get any help and no other cars came through this dirt track all afternoon, so we waited hours! In the end we had to walk to find enough signal to make an SOS call to the police to come and cut the lock and let us out!! We missed our dinner out and had no way of contacting our friends to let them know we couldn’t make it! We did have a great XV adventure though!!

The Subaru XV had a surprising amount of space inside the cabin. We could fit a 184cm passenger in the front passenger seat with a rear-facing child set behind them and I LOVE the rear cup holders! A perfect fit with most vessels I tested, a well thought-out design.

It felt like the cabin space had been stolen from the boot space though, as storage in the boot was very limited. I could only fit eight shopping bags in there! Also in the boot, the retractable blind was very difficult to remove and wield around.  The boot door rattled as you closed it and the entire casing shook, having a very cheap feel and sound to it.

I LOVED the lack of parking sensors! It meant a quieter and less harassed journey without the constant beeping of most modern cars we drive. If you do want them, Subaru charges  $900! Ouch!

There is no welcome tune or jingle the XV too, it is lovely and quiet. You do have to have your seatbelt fastened in order for the handbrake to release though.

The satnav volume can be altered so that you do not have it blaring out at you and it can be muted when using Apple CarPlay.

I find it great having Apple CarPlay in cars. It just takes the confusion out of navigating the media systems and screens because it’s always the same as your phone. However, I found the touchscreen in the XV hard to use whilst driving.

The window mechanisms in the XV are very noisy and they close loudly too. As do the doors, they close with a really solid slam that would wake a sleeping baby.

I could fit two rear-facing child seats in the back of the XV in the outer seats. There was not enough space in between for a third seat.

The ISO Fix connectors were behind fabric straps, which would become worn and old quickly and the layers of seat foam and fabric that have been cut through to expose the ISO FIx connectors is very crudely cut, so you can just imagine how over time this would look rather tatty and fill with crumbs etc.

The seats in he model we drove were fabric, with a textured weave that would be awful for getting things out of and wiping clean.

I could wear a ponytail! The headrests in the front were very adjustable.

There were no air conditioning vents in the back, but the aircon vents in the front did a good job of cooling the whole cab, the controls were easy to use whilst driving and they were well located on the central console.

Visibility was very good for the driver, even with two child seats installed. It was much worse for the rear passengers, especially rear facing ones, as the windows slope upwards at the back making it very hard for them to see out at all.

The XV drives well and I had no problems whilst driving it. In fact, it was thoroughly enjoyable to drive!

You can see that in a place where parking is limited and a little SUV like the XV would be a great choice. If you have front-facing children who no longer require prams and strollers, the XV is a definite contender as the boot space is enough without all the baby equipment and there is a surprising amount of legroom in the cab for growing kids!

The Subaru XV scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating

BabyDrive Indepth

The Subaru XV is fitted with seven airbags as standard. Front and side airbags for both front passengers and a knee airbag for the driver, as well as curtain head airbags offering protection for the heads of the front and rear side passengers in the event of a side impact.

The XV has a five-star ANCAP safety rating, scoring 35.8 out of 37.

The Subaru XV scored 14.80 out of 16 in the frontal offset test. Gaining maximum points for both the side impact test, 16 out of 16, and for the pole test, 2 out of 2. Whiplash and pedestrian protection were both rated ‘good’ as well. The XV scored 3 out of 3 for seatbelt reminders as it is fitted with alerts for both front and back passengers seatbelts.

The safety features vary throughout the XV range. We drove the lowest spec model the XV 2.0i which comes with the most minimal amount: Electronic stability control, hill holder, rear vision camera, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution and traction control.

I actually really enjoyed not having the parking sensors and quite minimal alarms and safety features for our week with the XV! It was great to not be beeped or chimed at and to just use my eyes and the mirrors to manoeuvre the vehicle.

As you move up the range to the 2.0iL the safety features increase, adding lane departure warning, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking for low and high speeds and front collision warning.

The top spec 2.0iS model comes with the full package adding blind spot sensors, brake assist, rear collision warning, rear cross traffic warning when reversing and lane change assist.

Some of these safety features are also features that drive me crazy as a mum! Like the lane departure and forward collision alert or the parking sensor beeping sound.

I want all the safety technology AND to be able to mute the sound when Tulsi’s asleep!

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