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BabyDrive Verdict

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You have got to LOVE a car that matches the sea and the sky!! When I picked up the 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid on a cold but bright and sunny morning it definitely made me smile!! Let's see if this beautiful coloured five-seater small SUV is still making me smile after putting it through its paces as our family car for the week and our BabyDrive testing…

Firstly the Subaru XV Hybrid is a really nice car to drive. Having recently driven the new 2020 Subaru Forester Hybrid, and been a little disappointed with how the Hybrid version was to drive, I was expecting it to be a similar story with the XV but thankfully it wasn't! The XV is a smaller car than the Forester and unlike the Forester they haven't made the engine smaller, So the result is a great nippy and nimble little car to drive, without the obvious jarring change between the electric motor and engine that I experienced with the Forester.

The hybrid electric motor seems much more effective in the XV than the Forester (being smaller and less heavy) so the car is more fuel-efficient as a result.

I still can't say I could drive my daughter to sleep around the block using mainly battery as you can in some hybrids as the engine kicks in very quickly. Unfortunately, like the hybrid Forester, if I cruise into my driveway with my daughter asleep on the battery then when I put the car into ‘P' park the engine kicks in for some reason which IS noisy and jarring.

The Subaru XV I tested has Eye-Sight technology like in the Forester but it was nowhere near as interrupting as I experienced in the Forester, and I seemed to get fewer warnings and beeps! Facial recognition hasn't reached the XV model, which I loved in the Forester to automatically set my seat and mirror positions, aircon temperature etc.

Being a small SUV you'd expect the Subaru XV to be tight on internal space but actually it's pleasantly surprising! Legroom is good and with a 182cm person in the front passenger seat we could easily fit a rear-facing capsule or forward-facing seat behind them.

Subaru XV hybrid 2020 with forward facing child seat installed

On the driver's side, only I could fit in front of a rear-facing capsule and I'm 162cm. Bad luck if you need to occupy two tall adults up front in front of a pair of rear-facing children!

Subaru XV hybrid 2020 with forward facing child seat and rear facing infant capsule installed

Two child seats fit nicely in the back seats. There was not room for a third seat in the middle and I found I could only just squeeze in there it was very tight and I'm only 162cm. There are three top tether anchorages in the seatbacks that are easily accessible through the boot and ISOFix in the two outer rear seats.

Space has not been taken from the boot to accommodate the battery in the hybrid XV model, but it is where the spare tyre used to be under the boot floor so you have only a puncture repair kit to rely on. The boot was already quite small in the XV in terms of depth, being only the depth of a reusable shopping bag. This makes it easy to bend into and do emergency nappy changes etc but shallow in terms of transporting dogs, prams etc.

From empty the 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid's boot would hold ten shopping bags, equal to the Nissan Qashqai. The Mitsubishi ASX, Kia Seltos and Skoda Karoq all hold eleven shopping bags. The Hyundai Kona holds nine and the Suzuki Grand Vitara holds two more at twelve shopping bags.

Subaru XV hybrid 2020 boot space with shopping bags

A twin, tandem or single pram fits in the boot of the 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid with a little shopping as well. Or a small to medium size dog.

Subaru XV hybrid 2020 boot space with single stroller pram and shopping bags

Storage is quite minimal but most of it practical inside the 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid.  Only the front door bins are well-sized to hold a large refillable water bottle, the rear too small. There are two good-sized cup holders in the front and back and the glove box and central console boxes are good sizes.

The media system is really minimal, it doesn't have built-in sat-nav, and it is basic to use in the 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid. Thankfully it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through which is excellent.

The reversing camera image is lovely and clear and fills the whole screen, BUT the screen is tiny!!!

There is also the smaller screen, above the media screen, to show you the engine and electric motor and battery charging in action.

Overall the new 2020 Subaru XV Hybrid SUV is a practical little family car in terms of size for a family of four and fitting everything and everyone in. I loved the auto-lock and unlock doors with my family as I don't have to fumble around in my bag for the keys and I keep my hands free for carrying my child or her stuff'!!!

The new Subaru XV Hybrid scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017 onwards and has seven airbags as standard. It has not been through Child Occupancy Protection crash testing.


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Tace Clifford
About Tace Clifford
Tace Clifford founded BabyDrive in 2017 after discovering a huge information gap in mainstream car reviews that left new parents and expanding families in the dark when it came to one of the biggest purchasing decisions of their lives.

1 Comment

  1. Hi. Can Baby Drive please include a comment in the review videos indicating if a car has rear Air Conditioning vents. We often have long drives or get back into the car on a 36 degree day. We regret buying a car without them as we would like to cool the babies as soon as possible. Cheers, James.

    Also, it would be great to hear about the effectiveness of Autonomous Breaking (or the ANCAP AEB score), as some cars are woeful in this area.

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