2021 Subaru XV Facelift Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Jul 15, 2021

Editor's: 4.2/5
For Filipinos with discerning taste and means, wanting no compromises.
2021 Subaru XV Facelift Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Technology & Safety
  5. Engine & Performance
  6. Fuel Efficiency
  7. Verdict
  8. Price
  9. Color Options
  10. Specs

2021 Subaru XV Facelift: Introduction

It was a few years ago when I tested the second-generation Subaru XV. Back then, the buzz was about the automaker’s new global platform, along with the two new colors that brighten up the smallest Subie crossover.

As they say, time flies and now I'm writing about the updated version of bestselling Subaru in the Philippines. Launched globally towards the latter half of last year and reaching stateside just this January, Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc. (MIPI) is quick to bring the facelifted XV here, making us among the first Asian countries to get the updated model.

2021 Subaru XV Facelift Full Review: Not for everyone

With subtle updates and trimmed-down range, is the XV still a small crossover worth your money? I got my hands on the sole 2.0i-S EyeSight for this review to find out.
 

4.2/5

Subaru XV 2021 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics
    4.0/5

    Overall exterior & Interior design, build quality, form vs function

  • Safety & Technology
    4.5/5

    Number of safety & tech features, consistency during usage

  • Performance
    4.0/5

    Power delivery, acceleration, transmission, suspension, handling

  • Comfort & Practicality
    4.5/5

    Overall Ride Comfort, Space, Storage Areas

  • Value for Money
    4.0/5

    Sticker price vs overall package

2021 Subaru XV Exterior Review: Need no fixing

As this is just a mid-cycle update, Subaru opted to give the 2021 XV only subtle changes on its exterior design. Primary of which is the diagonal slats on the grille, which are now more prominent over the mesh. The chrome that flanks the star-spangled emblem has also been revised, as well as the shape of the cladding by the LED fog lights.

A picture of the side of the Subaru XV

The facelifted XV from the side

Another alteration is found on the wheels, with the rims dropping the ninja star design of its predecessor. This time around, the two-tone 18-inch aluminum alloys sport intricately styled R spokes. And oh, there are new color options for this model year, namely Plasma Yellow Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl, and Magnetite Grey Metallic. Sadly, the orange hue is dropped from the lineup.

A picture of the Subaru XV's rear end

The XV from the rear

Overall, the changes aren't much but they’re enough to tell you that it’s an updated model. Not necessarily a bad thing, considering that the XV is still at par, if not more modern-looking, against its contemporaries.

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2021 Subaru XV Interior Review: The biggest in its class

Three screens, leather, and orange stitching – the new 2021 Subaru XV retains its usual form, though the 8-inch infotainment screen at the center of the dashboard is an updated version with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Almost everything’s soft touch, except for some bits of hard plastics hidden beyond touchpoints. Piano black plastic trims are minimal, but I feel that those around the gear lever would need protection so they would age nicely.

A picture of the 2021 Subaru XV's front cabin

The 2021 XV's cockpit

Space is practically generous inside the 2021 XV, which isn’t surprising since it’s the biggest subcompact crossover in the market. Head- and leg-room are abundant even at the second row, even for individuals standing at six feet. Horizontal space, on the other hand, is more enjoyable with only two people lodged at the back. Rear A/C vents are still absent, but that’s fine since front air conditioning’s enough to cool down the cabin quickly.

A picture of the X's rear seats

Lots of room for the rear passengers

Cargo space is another great thing with the XV, maximized further by folding the rear backrests flat to reveal almost 1,200 liters of volume. Loading’s a bit high, though, but at least the cargo area’s got tie-downs and can be covered by a retractable tonneau.

A picture of the XV's seats folded down

With the rear seats folded down, it offers a lot of space for cargo

2021 Subaru XV: Tech & Safety Review

Subarus are known for their high-tech cabin, and the new XV doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Apart from updated infotainment, the new screen also displays the view from the 360-degree cameras.

A picture of the 2021 XV headunit

The facelifted XV's headunit

The EyeSight feature is still the crowning glory of the Subaru family, with the updated version now residing in the facelifted XV. Apart from the very nifty adaptive cruise control – which is usable in city traffic, by the way – the collaboration of sensors and cameras work together for safe drives.
 
For the what-ifs, the XV’s safety systems won’t let you crash into something or someone, front and back – something I experienced first hand a few years back. The right side mirror auto-tilts on reverse as well, a very useful update to keep your good-looking rims safe from damages.

Subaru Eyesight
A smaller screen positioned on top of the headunit 

Apart from those, the XV benefits from other high-tech conveniences like automatic lighting, electronic seat adjustments with memory function, auto brake hold, and new dual X-Mode. I wasn’t able to test the latter, though, but I’m happy to report that the XV now comes with speed-sensing door locks, which was something I noted to be missing in the outgoing model.

2021 Subaru XV: Engine & Performance Review

Whether in Sport or Intelligent mode, the XV’s 2.0-liter boxer engine didn’t fail to deliver power to all four wheels with urgency. The Lineartronic CVT didn’t feel like a CVT at low speeds, though there’s some rubber band feel when changing speeds at mid and high ranges. 

A picture of the 2021 Subaru XV's engine

The XV's 2.0-liter boxer-four engine

Steering, although light and assisted, didn’t feel vague. There’s also a sense of confidence upon attacking slippery situations given the standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and active torque vectoring.
 
As for comfort, Subaru said that the coils and dampening have been updated on the facelifted model, and I actually felt that during the tests. While the pre-facelift model may feel a little harsh on imperfect thoroughfares, the new XV absorbs them better without translating the impact into the cabin. Outside noise insulation, however, needs a little more improvement, especially at high speeds.

2021 Subaru XV: Fuel Efficiency

The Subaru XV’s fuel consumption is pretty much the same as before given that there aren’t any changes in its oily bits. An hour’s plight on heavy city traffic at crawling speeds of 20 km/h returned 8.1 km/L, while highway sprints with EyeSight nailed at 90 km/h yielded 18.1 km/L.
 
Of note, only two people are on board during fuel efficiency testing, and with minimal cargo.
 
 

2021 Subaru XV Review: Verdict

Truth be told, I’d be lying to your face if I tell you that the XV is an affordable vehicle. Even with the hefty P80,000 discount for the P1,828,000 introductory price (until the end of June), the price of admission is still steep for the segment.
 
But then again, with the plethora of standard safety equipment that the XV arrives with, most especially the award-winning EyeSight tech, the question is whether you want to be alive during adverse situations or prevent it completely. It’s a weighty choice, but one at least it’s available for Filipinos with discerning taste and means, wanting no compromises.
 

2021 Subaru XV Review: Price

2021 Subaru XV Variants 

Price 

XV 2.0i-S EyeSight CVT 

Php 1,908,000 

2021 Subaru XV: Color Options

2021 Subaru XV Color Options 

Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Cool Grey Khaki, Horizon Blue Pearl, Plasma Yellow Pearl, Pure Red, Magnetite Grey Metallic, Crystal Black Silica 

2021 Subaru XV: Specs

Overall 

Make  

Subaru 

Name 

XV 2.0i-S EyeSight CVT 

Body Type 

5-door crossover 

Dimensions and Weight 

Length 

4,485mm 

Width 

1800mm 

Height 

1,615mm 

Engine and Transmission 

Type 

2.0-liter boxer-four DOHC Gasoline 

Max Power 

154 horsepower 

Max Torque 

196 Nm  

Transmission 

Continuously Variable Transmission 

Chassis and Suspension 

Brakes (Front/rear) 

Disc/Disc 

Suspension (Front/rear) 

MacPherson Strut/Double-Wishbone 

Wheels and Tires 

18-inch alloy wheels with 255/55R18 tires 

Exterior 

LED headlamps with auto function 

Front fog lamps 

LED taillights 

Turn signal side repeaters 

Rear spoiler 

Roof rails 

Rain-sensing wipers 

Power-liftgate 

Power-folding side mirrors 

Interior 

Keyless Access and Push-button start 

Tilt and telescopic steering wheel 

Leather wrapped steering wheel and seats 

Dual-zone automatic air-conditioning system 

Auto-dimming rear-view mirror 

60:40 folding rear seats 

Eight-inch HD touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth 

Adaptive Cruise control 

Six-piece speaker system 

Safety and Security 

Seven airbags 

Stability control 

Traction Control 

Speed-sensing door locks 

Electronic parking brakes 

Brake assist and brake override 

ISOFIX 

Engine Immobilizer 

Parking sensors and reverse camera 

Subaru EyeSight driver assist safety suite 

Jacob Oliva

Jacob Oliva

Author

Jacob is a motoring journalist in the Philippines. A former musician and a corporate slave, he took the leap of faith amid his twenties and started his writing career as a news and features writer for AutoDeal. It was there where he made his way up to become the chief editor and senior car reviewer before he left the company in 2020.

Right now, Jacob serves as the Content Manager of Philkotse. You may also read his insights about the local automotive industry in his column under Wheels, the motoring section of Philippine Star. A recipient of the Henry Ford Awards in 2019, Jacob is also the weekend editor for Motor1, a leading global automotive website.

Jacob has started his adoration for cars at an early age through his father’s Jeep Wrangler and his older brother’s Nissan Sentra. He currently has a soft spot in his heart for the latest version of the Suzuki Jimny, so don’t be surprised to see him one day driving a black or gray mini-SUV – bone-stock but with upgraded tires and rims.

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