Subaru at the Geneva Motor Show

Published: 07 March 2017

► Star attraction of Subaru’s stand is the new XV
► Qashqai-rivalling crossover promises refinement leap
► Latest Impreza and WRX STI also feature

Biggest news – relatively speaking – on Subaru’s 2017 Geneva show stand is the second-generation XV crossover. Err, yes, the second one…

I’m struggling to picture the first-gen XV

You’re forgiven for it escaping your attention that there’s one already as British sales have been as small as a Lilliputian’s iPod mini. Suffice to say the new one looks disappointingly similar to its predecessor, despite showcasing Subaru’s ‘Dynamic x Solid’ design philosophy.

So what is there about the new XV to tempt mid-sized SUV buyers away from the likes of the Kuga, Qashqai and Kadjar?

Subaru XV at the 2017 Geneva motor show

Well, as per the Subaru norm, all-wheel drive is standard. While it remains a moot point about what percentage of UK buyers actually need it, brand loyalists very much see that AWD sticker on the rump as a badge of honour.

There’s also an X-Mode function for added off-roading ability, which appears to resemble existing hill descent control systems.

The stiffer the better

The latest XV rides on Subaru’s new Global Platform promising greater rigidity – up to a whopping 100% more torsionally stiff than before – for significantly enhanced refinement and ride comfort. We’ll put those claims to the test when we drive it.

Plus, in a market segment where convention rules, the XV’s so mechanically leftfield it’s in a neighbouring farm. Only a Boxer configuration non-turbo, direct injection petrol engine with 154bhp has been announced so far, paired with the Lineartronic CVT ’box. A diesel will be a must for any chance of traction in the sales charts.

Subaru XV at the 2017 Geneva motor show

Complementing AWD on the safety front is Subaru’s Eyesight system with a pair of cameras at the top of the windscreen that mimic human vision for controlling the adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping aid functions. Based on experiences with other models in the range we’ve sampled, it’s less jerky than some rival systems.

British sales are due to kick off later in 2017 with prices starting slightly higher than the existing range.

What else has Subaru got that’s new?

Also gracing the Japanese brand’s stand are the latest iterations of the oddball Impreza hatchback and its ferocious saloon twin, the WRX STI – both of them being shown in Europe for the first time. UK sales are expected to start in the third quarter of 2017.

And alongside the mildly tweaked BRZ coupe that’s already on sale the Outback and its no-longer-for-the-UK Legacy sibling have received a light nip/tuck consisting of new-look lights and grilles.

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By Keith WR Jones

Former managing editor of the Bauer Automotive hub and car brochure library owner