Subaru XV
(2012 - 2017)

  • Rugged good looks
  • Satisfactory off-road abilities
  • Interior wearing well with age
  • Holding their value
  • Major CVT transmission issues
  • Rear wheel bearing issues
  • Desperate for more power
  • Can be thirsty when pushed

Subaru has been taking its compact hatchbacks and wagons and jacking them up, turning them into tough little off-roaders since the 1970s and calling them names like Leone, Loyale and even Gravel Express and the XV has done its best to follow suit.

While this, (and the current model XV) is based on the Impreza hatch, the XV has been reengineered to offer a respectable level of ground clearance and, with Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, some very capable off-roading ability.

However when it comes to on-road characteristics, age and mileage have not been all that kind to the XV.

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What goes wrong
  • Wheel bearings wear from approx. 60,000kms
  • FB20 oil consumption concerns
  • CVT transmission valve body and solenoid faults
  • Engine valve spring factory recall is critical
  • Pre-facelift infotainment system is terrible
Model range, pricing and features


  • Price when new: $29,990
  • Price used: $11,000 - $19,000

Now that the used market has compressed the pricing difference between the 3-tier line-up, we’d recommend looking past the base model 2.0i.

While it’s still a good thing, for the same money, or just a few hundred dollars more, you can get into the higher spec variants.

Standard features:

  • 5-star ANCAP safety rating
  • 7 sirbags
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • ABS
  • Cruise control
  • Mobile phone connectivity
  • Reversing camera
  • iPod, Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • 6.2-inch touchscreen (From 2015)


  • Price when new: $33,740
  • Price used: $12,500 - $22,000

When new, this mid-range XV was the sweet spot of the XV line-up.

These days, we’re not so sure.

For only a few hundred dollars more, a top spec 2.0i-S is a more attractive and intelligent alternative, unless you’ve found an extremely low mileage 2.0i-L in pristine condition.

2.0i-L adds:

  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Satellite navigation with voice command
  • Sliding centre console
  • Sunroof
  • Leather trim steering wheel and gear knob
  • Multi-function display with digital speedometer (From 2015)
  • 7.0-inch touchscreen (From 2015)


  • Price when new: $36,140
  • Price used: $13,500 - $24,000

The top-spec Subaru XV is the one we’d recommend.

When new, the 2.0i-S was over $8,000 more than a base spec 2.0i. These days that price difference has dropped to just a few hundred dollars and with the list of extras on offer, it’s an obvious choice.

2.0i-S adds:

  • Chrome-type exterior door handle insert
  • Leather upholstery
  • Eight-way adjustable electronic driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats
  • HID Headlights
  • Silver roof rails
  • Wing mirror mounted indicators
  • Drilled alloy pedals
  • Eight-way adjustable electronic driver’s seat
  • Push-button start with smart key entry (From 2016)
  • Auto headlights and auto wipers (From 2016)
Should you buy it?

We recommend the XV but it comes with conditions.

Avoid the CVT automatic transmission models as the risk of failure and the costs attached are far too high.

If you’re happy with a manual transmission, look for the most recent, lowest mileage 2.0i-S with a solid service history you can find.

If you absolutely have to have an auto, we recommend looking at the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage instead.

Warranty & servicing


  • 3 years/unlimited kilometres


  • 10,000kms or 6 months.
Tech specs

Body style:

  • 5-door SUV

Engine & outputs:

  • 2.0L, 4-cyl petrol – 110kW / 196Nm


  • 6-spd manual or CVT auto, AWD

Fuel use:

  • 7.3L/100km (combined)


  • Height: 1615mm
  • Length: 4450mm
  • Width: 1780mm
  • Weight: 1390kg
  • Ground clearance: 220mm

Information correct as of December 24, 2020.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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