White Knight got EyeSight: 2021 Subaru XV 2.0i-S EyeSight

White Knight got EyeSight: 2021 Subaru XV 2.0i-S EyeSight

The Subaru XV has got to be one of the most misunderstood vehicles in the local market.

Everywhere you look on the interwebs, my fellow car reviewers will often ask if it’s worth the price, that the design is growing a tad long in the tooth, and that there might be other options out there that can trump it in terms of power, space and. more importantly, price.

2021 Subaru XV Front Profile

We’ll be taking a look at the 2021 Subaru XV from a different perspective. You see, while it is true that car buyers such as ourselves often look at the overall value up front in our car purchases, measuring value can more often than not have more than just the price tag to consider. Does Subaru Philippines have what it takes to capture your hearts and minds with this rugged compact SUV? 


As a pioneer in the Compact SUV segment, having been available since 2012, the Subaru XV enjoys enough cache and recognition among car enthusiasts and casual buyers. If I had a 10-centavo coin whenever my girlfriend would point out and ask what car we just passed that caught her attention, the car being a Subaru XV, I’d say I’d have quite a few. The early 2010s were a different time with sedans and AUVs still dominating the sales charts and the Subaru XV opened our eyes to a world of crossover possibilities.

2021 Subaru XV headlamps

Currently in its second generation, the 2021 Subaru XV has recently received a mid-cycle refresh — ditching the sporty, honeycomb grill for a more distinct pattern up front. The overall design of the Subaru XV still has the raised-wagon look of the First Generation but with more refinement. It retains the signature black plastic cladding wrapped around the side skirts and wheel arches — adding a macho contrast to the hip and fun body shape.

2021 Subaru XV Front Mags

One of the most stunning features of the Subaru XV has got to be those 18-inch wheels. From two-tone star-shaped patterns to radical designs, Subaru has never been known to hold back from giving the XV a funky dynamic through the wheels. For 2021, it gets this two-tone turbine-looking design that you can never find in any other model. You can most definitely tell these wheels come from a Subaru XV even from afar. Other changes include LED fog lamps that replace the halogens during the refresh. If you like wagons and are tired of being seen in just another SUV, the Subaru XV is definitely a breath of fresh air.

2021 Subaru XV Subaru Badge


If you don’t believe this to be a legitimate SUV, try getting in and out of the Subaru XV and be surprised at how far off the ground you actually are. Luckily, thanks to those wide-opening doors, that should not be a problem. Stepping inside the Subaru XV, you’ll be greeted with the usual straightforward Subaru design. While some may decry the lack of luxury amenities, particularly on the dashboard (which is made of black plastic), Subaru has never been known for being opulent. The goal, rather, is to be pragmatic and simple. 

2021 Subaru XV Cockpit side

The seats are surely bathed in high quality, perforated leather, which is nice but I wouldn’t call them the summit of luxury. Sporty and functional is the name of the game. Heavy bolsters wrap your frame as you settle into the seats. Surprisingly, they aren’t as prohibitive as they might look and are actually quite comfortable. All the controls are nice and tactile, recognizing once again Subaru's commitment to ergonomics as the AC and media control buttons all have chunky dials for your convenience instead of having to fumble through touch controls. 

2021 Subaru XV 8 inch screen

If you’ve ever known a Subaru owner and enthusiast, you know how much attention they give to their rides. So much so that many go through the trouble of installing extra gauges and screens to provide more driving information than you can shake a stick shift at. Subaru must have recognized this, so the driver is given not one, not two, but three screens to provide entertainment, vehicle information and more to the driver.

You’ve got an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The interface has been further improved and has one of the smoothest User interfaces around. There is also a 4.2-inch display between the gauge clusters and another 6.3-inch display providing additional data to the driver. Call me an info geek but I wish all cars had these displays. Subaru has them as standard on the 2021 Subaru XV.

2021 Subaru XV Top Display

Cargo space isn’t really class-leading, to say the least, but wait till you fold those 60:40 rear seats down and it becomes a hauling machine! Just mind the high loading floor and make sure not to ding the paint. The time I had the Subaru XV with me was a moving day, and carrying long and tall items as well as all my boxes was a cinch.

2021 Subaru XV Cargo Sapce


Very few cars out there are safer than the 2021 Subaru XV thanks to Subaru’s EyeSight technology. EyeSight is a suite of advanced active and passive safety features that work in concert as you drive to provide you the driver and passengers best in class safety. More than just cameras mounted on the car, the Subaru XV utilizes both visual and telemetric functions that stops just short of autonomous driving. 

2021 Subaru XV Camera

Apart from the standard airbags and anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, EyeSight gives you Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection, Reverse Automatic Braking, Front Collision Mitigation and alerts, Superview Around Recognition 360 System, Brake Override, Auto Vehicle Hold, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control which uses cameras and radars to detect your lane and other cars around you. These safety features were previously unheard of in cars in this segment and price range, but you get these as standard on the 2021 Subaru XV.

2021 Subaru XV EyeSight Cameras

Performance and fuel economy

When it comes to performance, Subaru is never one to compromise. All of its offerings, with the distinct exception of the Subaru BRZ, feature the brand’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, giving the driver added confidence in each drive. While that last line did sound like an ad for Subaru, only when you test drive a vehicle such as the Subaru XV will you begin to understand the proof in the pudding.

2021 Subaru XV Rear Quarter Right

Steering is light yet responsive, but not to a point where you are devoid of any road feel. The fully independent suspension all around with MacPherson struts up front and double wishbones in the back provide maximum comfort for the occupants without sacrificing performance. True enough, despite the 220mm ground clearance body roll is kept at a minimum and you would definitely feel the All-Wheel Drive system reign you in when the driving gets a bit “too fun.” 

2021 Subaru XV off road

Not that it would get very fast, though. The 2.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine makes 156hp and 196Nm of torque. While on paper these numbers don’t seem much, in real life and mated to Subaru’s advanced CVT system, moving forward and even overtaking uphill poses no problems for the 2021 Subaru XV. The adjustable steering wheel features controls for two selectable drive modes for your needs called SI-Drive, SI stands for Sport and Intelligent. By default, you’re set to Intelligent drive where driving parameters are set for maximum fuel efficiency. Setting it to Sport mode changes the car’s dynamics and throttle dynamics, which is visible through a torque chart on the gauges. If you need more off-roading capability a switch on the center console by the shifter gives you X-Mode, for those pesky unpaved roads. 

2021 Subaru XV Gauges

Of course with great all-wheel drive power comes great all-wheel drive fuel economy, which isn’t really the best in class. While getting a respectable 8kpl  in the city is fairly possible, horrible gridlock traffic is its greatest weakness wherein 6kpl will be the price you pay for performance and capability. Open it up on the highway and you’ll see a stark improvement with 12kpl.

2021 Subaru XV Shifter


All the average consumer looks for in a compact crossover SUV is ability to drive in confidence thanks afforded by the increased ride height of the segment. The 2021 Subaru XV gives that in spades as well as other features unmatched by its rivals. If you want all-wheel for your crossover SUV you’ve got the AllGrip Suzuki Vitara, Sporty Mazda CX-5 and CX-30 as well as the Diesel-powered Honda CR-V.

2021 Subaru XV Profile Left

If all-wheel drive isn’t a priority for you, it opens up a world of possibilities such as the Toyota Corolla Cross, Honda HR-V, Kia Sportage, Jeep Renegade, Ford Territory and an army of many more crossover SUVs to choose from.

2021 Subaru XV Side Profile

None of these options offer the same set of performance and safety benefits that the 2021 Subaru XV can offer. With the Subaru you also get the perks of being able to join one of the most diverse and active car communities not just in the Philippines but the entire world. You will never forget driving a Subaru, and the XV is hardcore Subie all the way.


Make and Model

Subaru XV 2.0i-S EyeSight

Model Year


Vehicle Classification

Compact Crossover SUV


3 years / 100,000 kilometers

Under the Hood

Engine Model



2-liter 4-Cylinder Gasoline DOHC Boxer Engine


156 hp @ 6,000 RPM


196 Nm @ 4,000 RPM

Fuel Capacity

63 Liters


Lineartronic CVT with 7-speed manual mode & paddle shifters 


Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

Tested Fuel Economy City

6 km/l

Tested Fuel Economy Highway

12 km/l



F - Ventilated Discs; R - Ventilated Disc

Front Suspension

F - Independent Macpherson; R- Independent Double Wishbone


2,665 mm







4,485 mm


1,800 mm


1,615 mm

Ground Clearance

220 mm

Kerb Weight

1,473 kg





Yes; LED

Side Mirrors

Power-adjustable and folding with Turn Signals; Reverse Auto-tilt Door Mirrors 

Daytime Running Lamps


Body Kit

Standard Body Claddings, Skid Plate, Diffuser and Roof Rails


Instrument Gauge Cluster

Traditional with 4.2-inch multi-display and 6.3 inch information display on dash.

Infotainment System

8-inch HD Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto & Bluetooth

Adjustable Steering

Yes; Tilt and Telescopic



Power Adjustable Seats

Yes - Driver Side

A/C System

Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control

Steering Controls




Interior Material


USB ports

Yes, 3X

Power Sockets

Yes; 12V



Yes; 7 airbags

ABS with EBD and Brake Assist


Traction Control


Stability Control


Hill-Start Assist


Hill-Descent Control



F - 3-point with pre-tensioner; R - Rear 3-point Seatbelts for 3 Occupants

Rear Defogger


Remote Start




Forward Collision Warning


Autonomous Emergency Braking


Adaptive Cruise Control

Yes; with speed limiter

Automatic Headlamp Levelling


Lane Departure Warning

Yes with Blind-spot monitoring

Rear Cross Traffic Alert


Parking Assist



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Photos by Roy Robles

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