2018 Subaru XV Review (A.K.A. Subaru Crosstrek) | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia

What strikes me more than anything is: XV is what Forester used to be – a substantively pumped-up Impreza. Same footprint – but a bit over five inches higher. It’s compact and affordable. Just right for active lifestyle adventuring – but not proper blue-singlet off-roading.

It’s typically Subaru – well built, good ergonomics, and an easy to understand range – four variants with one powertrain. New Global platform – that’s the fundamental architecture. A two-litre Boxer four and a CVT with Symmetrical AWD.

The EyeSight safety system is brilliant. If you care about your loved ones – you really do want EyeSight. Don’t scrimp on this – it’s only $2400 more, and you get a bigger touch screen and dual-zone climate air thrown in. It’s a no-brainer.

EyeSight also adds adaptive cruise, which is just awesome. So good on the freeway – the car automatically adapts to congestion, slows down and maintains a safe following distance, then speeds back up. You’d never go back.

The weight is within 100kg of Impreza. It’s the same powertrain. Therefore: Very similar performance. Basically line-ball with other strong two-litre petrol SUVs – the 2.0-litre Sportage and Tucson, and the 2.0-litre CX-5.

XV keeps up in traffic and on the highway. It’s reasonably quiet and it goes where you tell it to go.

Perversely the boot space is smaller even than Impreza (310L versus 345 on Impreza) and just to get the volume in perspective (a lot of people think SUVs are bigger because … SUV) the new i30 is 345 litres.

Subaru only provides a space-saver spare, which is kinda at odds with the wild adventuring this vehicle is otherwise so well set up to accommodate. And I don’t know why they do that – the other SUVs (Forester and Outback) see fit to run full-sized spares). It seems an odd choice.

This begs an obvious question: All things considered, then why not just buy an Impreza hatch?

Same powertrain. Same parking lot footprint. Impreza even holds more luggage. But it’s a close thing. One reason might be ground clearance. The other might be your mobility. The extra height – 135mm or 5 inches adds both. So if you want to traverse rough roads, XV is going to be a better option, and if you have a bad back or a bung knee – ditto. Getting in and out is just going to be easier.

Subaru added X-Mode to extend the all-terrain envelope. It chills out the throttle response at low speed to minimise the chance of you provoking traction-sapping wheelspin. Hardens up the limited-slip diff and also sharpens up brake response.

This is all for the slippery stuff, under 40km/h. Under 20: HDC – you take your feet off and let the computer manage that, and just steer. It’s a real plus when traction is low – if you want to avoid becoming a toboggan – which – trust me, you do.


Leon Dawson says:

Question: Does it have that stupid eco-feature where it shuts off your engine whenever you stop the vehicle?

Michail G. says:

Nice review as always, John. The only no-go for me is the absence of manual. Sadly it”s only CVT here in Europe.

Ned Blagojevic says:

Enjoying you new presentation format 🙂

Z says:

Yet another great review dude, thanks. BTW why u sittin’ on the grass https://youtu.be/gwj3BAme-1w?t=403 instead of in the car? 🙂

Hero Hour says:

Where is Suburu from? China company?

VYXtreme says:

My XV goes 0 – 100 in 6.5secs, seems fine to me, quick as most

Minga T says:

Great info and insight! Digging’  the beard too!

Burger Birger says:

And you get the complementary smell of old fart and a towing capacity worth squat.

Muddy Ducker says:

I have to mildly disagree. This vehicle is great in the city and tight gravel roads where acceleration is adequate but not ‘imprezive’. However if you live in an area surrounded by two lane highways, passing another vehicle at highway speeds is a white knuckle experience. It seems to run out of steam about 95-100Km/h. Here the average two lane speed is about 110Km/h….

Now reliability is definately top notch…not a single service visit in 66,000Kms(well a few oil changes). I would recommend this or the impreza to anyone that doesn’t mind a slower vehicle.

Now my STI…that’s a different story! 😉

Andreas Oszko says:

Awesome car!

Bird Design says:

Ive watched this review a few times now and appreciate what John says about this car. Can someone tell me what it’s like to overtake and highway speeds in this thing? Seriously considering getting a premium. Cheers

vipersvcd says:

Buyer beware! , the XV CVT gear has issues with stuttering at low speed as it does not know how to go smoothly from 1st gear to 2nd gear , Just Google XV Stuttering and see all the comments about the illusion that CVT is “Learning” , for a no gears CVT Subaru was able to screw this up with its “Virtual’ gears now you have a shitty virtual gear CVT shifting box.
I don’t understand how this is missed it in the review…

Mark Fulton says:

This dude is the most comprehensive reviewer I’ve seen in a while. Nice work

The1200sportster says:


Flaxseed Oil says:

Wow expensive down there, our 3 models run $22k to $27k

DirectorLJ says:

Hey John. Great job again. Sorry if I missed this question but how do you stack XV vs Mazda CX-3?? Thanks!

Peter says:

I bought a new MY18 and am experiencing a noticeable shudder when driving steadily under 60kmh. I took it back to the dealer and requested a specialist Subaru mechanic come for a drive with me. Before we even hopped into the vehicle he told me that many people have complained about the low speed shudder and that there was an underlying issue with the new CVT gearbox. Currently Subaru Japan have not provided a fix. I would recommend not buying this vehicle until a recall has been issued. By the way I contacted Subaru directly and they denied there was an issue. I was hoping more from a company like Subaru. I wish someone had warned me before I dropped $37k on a lemon.

Ardit Papa says:

Thank you very much. Very helpful. My first car Prius 4 2013,I paid $ 3000 more. Extended warranty. I was furious. After spending hours on your videos my 2nd car , Rav4 hybrid 2017 brand new from $ 31800 , I paid $ 24307. Thank you again.

roces 5th says:

subaru XV od 2018 impreza?? wchich car would you choose??

TAM says:

2018 subaru xv .is 1st gear a low crawl up rough hill gear.???

melvir USA says:

I really hate to admit it but it is what it is…your the best.

Trinoculus P says:

Wonderful video! Especially like your observation that the available space is less than the Impreza. My wife loves this car and she’ll get it as her next vehicle. Subaru dealers in the States are aggressively competing for sales. My experience with my 2017 Legacy was it’s initial performance changed after a few thousand miles and I’ve not had to use the paddle shifters to coax more acceleration from the 3.6L CVT. I’ve heard this for the 4 cylinder engine as well. Don’t expect turbo or performance tuned response from these cars, they’re economical, safe, 4 wheel drive. If you have the income, go for a Porsche Cayenne.

GuitarD30 says:

You think this car isn’t sluggish? try passing someone going up a small hill in the fast lane. The car is slow as fuck! why do all reviews say it isn’t THAT slow? it is!

Saulog Virgil says:

thanks i was about the upgrade from 2016 IMPREZA to 2018 XV, what do you think mate?

Prof. M. Otto Zeee JCD ECS says:

Lovely car, but, (there’s always a but) What is that huge overhang in the front for on an AWD car? Wish the next gen would move the front wheels forward 15-25 cm! Mitsubishi Pathfinder (I know, it’s an old car) was, looking at it from the side, nicely proportioned with very little overhang in front!

truckinhell says:

What John Cadogan doesn’t know about the differences between all the makes and models here in Australia, well…basically isn’t worth worrying about. John is no bullshit.

Oscar Susan says:

Saw this review and took a XV overnight for a test drive.Haggled my way into the top of the line S series and after 1 ymonth and 6k I can honestly say everything you said is 110% legit.Not disappointed in any way whatsoever.This thing has even reduced the stress level of driving still feeling fresh even after a solid 4hrs in the saddle.A lot of driving in the Gippsland mountains and Yarra Ranges in and around the snow line during the mid winter and without a doubt the eyesight and radar tech has saved the excess on the insurance multiple times and saved a few farmers a bit of grief with a cow or three.Best country cycle was the Melbourne ,Griffith,Hay ,Echuca, Kyneton ,Melbourne CBD, loop trek at 6.3ltrs./100km while the average city cycle peak hour been 8.3.Must admit the first 1k took a touch of familiarity to understand the quirks of the vehicle with all the safety stuff going on and the adaptive cruise and radar but a bit of customisation on the few of the inputs which can easily be done through the interface portal certainly helped to my driving style or demands.X mode off road works a treat and the hill descent a bonus (even works in reverse)let alone constant AWD which came into its own during a slippery descent down Mt.Baw Baw during a nightmare descent in a rain storm at dusk.CVT must have some learning adaptivity as its just gets better over time.Only criticism is the auto wipers tend to not start as quick as required but that’s easily overcome back to manual mode.Paint on modern vehicles are generally good and Subaru is no exception.Easy to clean and wipe off with no hidden snags to bung a finger and the crevices around the wipers are easy to remove the leaf litter that nature tends to throw about.5 year warranty a bonus.Starlink ,CarPlay,infotainment and Bluetooth all work with zero issues .Personally dash cams a must after driving this past month and a downward forward looking camera to compliment the 4WD X Mode drive experience.Also the door bumper trim in hindsight.So for a great driving experience get a XV and get the one with the lot as it will definitely save you grief many multiple times over for the little extra.Great job Subaru.

sumerolu says:

Obviously John you did not look at what you are sitting on. The seats in this vehicle are crap compared with the older model and the older model had crap seats in comparison to the HRV even! Didn’t see that did ya! Mind you I thought it was a good drive with that exception.

Andrew Paige says:

Boring, can you review something else besides something that a has performance restrictions, something that will excite us, something that will actually want us to buy a car again not go oh look another boring piece of shit with still no extras that is capable of have everything and has all the components and hardware but still hasn’t like the premium models or makes! For Fuck sake John show us something that will make us want to drop our panties reach into our savings and throw money at it for its looks, engine power out put etc, technology that it has and can upgrade to not what it can have and still wont have even though its 2018 and that a fucking 2012 Nisan Pulsar has ( sorry that make or model may not exist but sounds dramatic ) the people want something to thrill us not something to save mother nature! If we want to save mother nature stop supplying coal to fucking China and all those other coal guzzling and C02 burning countries, why is it us the most minimal C02 burning country *cough STRAYA* with the strictest rules have the shitest models, makes, oldest cars then every other country. The new car finally arrives here and guess what has been every where else for at least 2 – 3 years already not to mention with better models, different models better variants, better engine types etc but no we get such a small selection type for our country and some fat wanker in a suit decides what we want to drive and then charges more than double what it originally costs and what other countries sold it for! Not to mention we cant buy an imported model say we don’t like the options we have because we don’t allow it, we allow illegal boat people for free and other types but we cant allow cars? Doesn’t seem fair does it? Especially when we are paying ridiculous prices for insurances, CTPs, Registration fee’s, Pink slips, tolls, maintenance (which they find every way to never give you warranty for when something does go wrong ) etc. Everything is a cost but never a result. When will the car industry just be laid back and just let people and the car makers go ahead and go forward with high performance cars and safety or at least allow the population that choose to import or buy the materials or the market to do what they want to there cars like the rest of the world? Look at New Zealand and Japan they allow body kits and BOV’s, importing cars etc and the people are happy Australia strangles its people with so many laws and then applies more and more and when they can they apply more. And i still cannot find an answer as to why a car cannot have a loud exhaust but those Harley Davidson’s motor bikes or wanna be ones can have ridiculous loud rumbling exhausts / straight pipes that can wake up a neighbour hood and not be a defect but a tiny little fart can sound on a Honda Civic is a Defect and a fine? And yet the Police are more into handing infringement tickets and prosecuting drivers as if they were true criminals but yet i see drink drivers whom are drunk or drivers with no license, hit and runs, car chase, all on our RBT series or people whom commit robbery get a nice talking to a treated with more respect than some young bloke whom forgot to put a P plate on and get the book thrown at them and get treated like a criminal as if it were Ivan Milats twin in the making like WTF is going on! IM DONE. And John be nice give me some decent voice not the high pitch bogan one lol Just Explain and address the exhaust issues with the Harleys and cars why are they exempt and cars cannot? BTW saw you on the news special with fuel 17/04/2018 looking good mate but Im sorry Australia does not deserve your advice if they do not subscribe like the rest of us!

ron hicks says:

cvt i would not buy one they dont last

fred l says:


Michael Donegan says:


Joseph Eleven says:

oh isn’t that a yellow cab?

Chakar 365 says:

My 2013 XV has done around 250,000Km and the head gasket needs replacement as oil and coolant is mixing. Wondering if its covered under Major parts guarantee ?

bananas says:

There’s definitely an obsession with SUVs in straya and manufacturers love it as they can now charge much more for the same car, only elevated. However, have you noticed that even an ordinary passenger cars are now much lower than they used to be? Ok, who cares. Well, I hate having to drive my new Mondeo over driveways sideways as if I have a sports car, why are today’s car so close to the ground with huge overhanging snouts!?

Sylvia Else says:

Does it still have an engine-autostop that you cannot permanently disable?

Jimmy Pedersen says:

I think I’ll switch the Getz for this one when/if it ever dies. Seems like a good car without too much electronic crap.

bigbangnone says:

Not paying $40K for a boxer engine.

Mavusi Kenpachi says:

I still have a 2007 Forester XT. The last Forester that was actually a WRX in disguise

Daniel Flood says:

Does it fit a babies pram in the boot?

smiley says:

bias review

soulis1000 says:

Correction, it does not have limited slip differetial on any axel it just use the brakes to stop the wheel without traction and in that way sending more torque to the wheel with more grip.

berthosquire says:

Subaru’s website used to say ‘temporary’ next to ‘Spare wheel’ in the specs for the XV. Now it says ‘Yes’. Maybe now they are coming with a full size spare.

Jesse Moreno says:

Can you haul a cargo trailer with the XV?

Salesberg says:

Is that a Mudmaster you are wearing? Don’t know why that matters, but some how can’t shake off the curiosity. Put me out of my misery please.. lol

Pete Williams says:

Thank you, a good positive review.
I was starting to look for my ex-wife’s Prozac with some desire because some, no, can I be so bold as to personally say, I found previous reviews albeit brilliantly exhaustive in an engaging way with acutely (yes, I know, I snuck that one in) obtuse nerd detail whilst you wielded an innate ability to, how would you say it, to, battle through the Game Of Thrones (that’s my little gem) shit storm of advertising bullshit bloody exhausting. Yes, I know, all of that to get to the object. However, given I’m still convincing myself a gym membership is one of life’s joys my attention span and levels of maintaining the physical ability to sit still for more than 5, maybe 6, no 10min still remains a challenge, you get the idea.

Thus, I subscribed to your eloquent, yes, I did say eloquently, and articulate way of not mitigating the point and because of the positivity of this review, it was like that new weird ‘fairy floss’ flavoured grape getting about in the vast fruit section of all things good for us, somehow the dichotomy of a lolly flavoured grape belonged.

In summary, it was refreshing to watch the entirety of this review to the point that I was compelled, ok, maybe not the superlative compelled, more like, encouraged to subscribe. I do look forward to a finding the proverbial needle or even a fairy floss grape in a haystack amongst the weekly dose of honest carnage upon all that is pathetic with the motoring industry. You’re a very intelligent man and no bullshit meter required, Thank you.

Jack Green says:

Thank you for always speaking up and looking out for the consumer. I couldn’t imagine buying a vehicle without referencing your work. Now all I need you to do is come to the USA and educate our auto dealers. They are notorious for scamming the consumer.

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