Batman made a mistake with the Tumbler he should have gone for the Subaru XV Black Edition because its not what’s underneath this crossover but what it does that defines it. The limited-edition XV Black is based on the SE trim but costs £1k extra with all the bits of kit fitted on. However it’s actually £600 cheaper in XV Black spec than if you optioned it separately.
Priced from £24,495 the XV Black is also available as a 2.0-litre diesel (£25k) and can be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or the Lineartronic automatic transmission. Special Edition means special edition paint work, finished in Crystal Black Silica, with exclusive front, rear and side silver-resin under-guards and rear mudflaps.
All in all the XV Black Edition looks pretty damn mean, dressed in that Silica Black paint job with those 17 inch alloys and LED Daylights which all combine to complete a very stealth-looking brute. The interior doesn’t get much of an upgrade from its humble SE trim level, which means a cloth interior with a number of toys thrown in such as a multi-function steering, cruise control, telephone, Bluetooth and USB functionality. Sat-Nav is an optional extra. The interior is spacious and solidly put together although most of the trim is finished in hard plastics with soft-touch materials retained for the top of the dash.
Overall the interior design and ambiance is functional and really I don’t have a problem with that. The 2.0-litre petrol boxer engine on test was optioned with the CVT transmission, I do have a problem with that.
Specifically the CVT gearbox. CVT’s are essentially a cog-less transmission and require higher revs than you would normally want to use if you were to using a manual transmission. CVT’s are smaller, lighter and cheaper to make and improve fuel consumption, the XV returned 42mpg on a combined run, fair enough, but in many ways, they kill the entertainment.
The XV’s engine/CVT transmission works well almost like a conventional automatic and the petrol powerplant is charming and courteous in the delivery of power rather than in your face. If you are after handling prowess the McPherson Struts up front and rear multilink suspension deliver’s not so much a ballad of handling refinement but purposeful and meritorious.
The ride is compliant rather than outstanding or comfortable and AWD is a permanent fixture, a subtle but reassuring presence specifically in adverse weather. And if you do need to fill the boot space then 380-litres expands to 1,250-litres with the seats fully folded down.
The Subaru XV Black is a neat package available at a good price, ultimately it falls short in top end refinement when compared to its rivals like the Skoda Yeti and Nissan Quash-whatever. But if I had the choice between this and the Quahshy I would go for the XV Black everyday of the week. But unfortunately, the XV, being limited in numbers, is already sold out. Read it and weep, read it and weep.