From GP to school run

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am


Subaru's popularity in Hong Kong grew with no-nonsense Imprezas, functional Forester wagons and brutish, rally-tested WRX STI, with rear spoilers as big as bookcases.

In recent years, the Japanese marque has refined its designs and shown how its saloons can be speedy safety cars at the Macau Grand Prix, and still be sufficiently comfortable for school and supermarket runs.

Last year, Subaru sold 156 cars in Hong Kong, mainly the glass-roofed Exiga GT seven-seater and the 300 horsepower 2.5-litre STI.

The marque's new XV 2.0i (HK$318,800) should sell as well here.

A 'crossover' that combines 'urban style with off-road ability', the XV was first unveiled as a concept at last April's Shanghai motor show, where the model's popularity prompted Subaru to put it into production.

After some tweaks, the XV was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show the following September, in the hope of bringing, the marque says, 'a new type of customer' to Subaru, 'people who are confident in the knowledge of the company's all-wheel-drive and engineering expertise, and who are also looking for the lifestyle statement that owning a crossover brings'.

Robust-looking, with 'hawk-eye' headlights and roofrails, the XV is 4.45m long, 1.78m wide and 1.57m tall, with a wheelbase of 2.635m and a body that has been rounded to improve aerodynamics and fuel economy on 17-inch wheels.

Competing with the Audi Q3, Nissan Qashqai, Honda CR-V and Suzuki SX4, the XV has hints of Subaru's sporty heritage inside, with a sunroof, Keyless Smart Entry, push-button start, leather seats and satellite navigation.

The XV has a 150-horsepower, four-cylinder Boxer engine with an improved valve-control system and a six-speed continuous variable transmission Lineartronic gearbox that promises 100km/h in 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 187km/h.

An Auto Start Stop System helps save fuel in congested traffic.

The XV's safety technology includes a high-tensile steel body, anti-lock braking, traction control, Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control, front, side, curtain and knee airbags, daytime LED running lights and automatic air conditioning as standard. The four-wheel drive system offers reassuring extra traction on wet Hong Kong roads.