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Thoughts on the Subaru XV with CVT?


Every so often I take it into my mind to change what is by now a seven-year-old car. And when I do a lot of questions come to mind and hence my recent questions on long term costs of hybrids (which seem to be taking over the market) and on the Hyundai Santa Fe. The latter I wouldn't really have considered, except I was in a dealership and was very taken by it.

But on mature reflection, the cost of changing simply can't be justified. Recently I came across material on the Subaru XV 1.6, which hadn't been on my radar, but which seems on paper to have a lot going for it. But I'm rather concerned about the CVT gearbox. There's an American mechanic on YouTube who seems very experienced who argues that this technology has yet to prove its long-term reliability and that after 60k miles (sic) they can give rise to problems. Even Toyota, with its claim to excellence, has recently done a recall in the States to replace the transmission.

Secondly, also there are conflicting views on whether the engine might be described as gutless. Anyway, that's where my researches have got me and I would very much welcome your views.

Thanks in advance


Philip Donegan (Ballina)

Mar 2019 Filed under: reliability

Expert answer

Hi Philip,

Well, there’s a lot of ground to cover there… Yes, the 1.6 engine in the XV is a touch gutless. In fact, it’s very gutless and its fuel consumption suffers dreadfully as a result. A 2.0-litre XV is actually more frugal in day-to-day driving, to be honest, simply because you’re not having to rev it so hard and so much.

As for the CVT, we doubt that there would be any serious issues in the longer term. I’m sure the guy on YouTube means well, but just check out how many older Toyota Prius models are still happily running around with their CVTs — that should give you some idea of how solid they are. Yes, there has been a recent recall, but one recall on some specific cars doesn’t mean that there’s a major issue with all such equipment.

Neil Briscoe - Complete Car Advisor

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