NISSAN's Qashqai is the market leader in the compact crossover/SUV sector but there are plenty more very capable competitors to consider which are arguably more desirable and such a car is the Subaru XV with its rugged styling.
Like all Subarus it has four wheel drive which is a feature that has given the Japanese manufacturer a world wide reputation for providing excellent traction both off and on road especially when encountering extremely difficult wintry conditions making it an ideal all weather car.
It was updated in 2016 and the stylish body also means you are driving something that looks different from rivals especially the aforementioned Qashqai which to many motorists me included is a rather important feature.
The XV is available with a petrol or diesel Boxer engine and my test car the XV 2.0D SE manual was powered by a very impressive 2.0-litre diesel engine with six speed manual transmission and the cost of £23,995 is near the top of the XV price range.
This particular model which has a top speed of 123mph a zero to 62mph time of 9.3 seconds a combined fuel consumption of 52.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 141 g/km is a very well equipped car with loads of standard kit on board.
For example there are heated front seats, excellent HID headlights, a central multi function display, seven inch touchscreen infotainment system including rear vision camera a very effective six speaker audio system and even my initials were on the number plates although I think that was a coincidence!
Also for the first time on a test car I noted that next to the fuel filler symbol near the speedometer was a reminder to refuel with diesel - as someone who has put the wrong fuel in a car like many drivers it helps to prevent a lot of inconvenience and expense.
The XV has higher ground clearance than most rivals and this helps it to easily negotiate uneven off road terrain and it also makes for very easy getting in and out of the car which is something I appreciated.
I liked the sporty sound of the flat four cylinder power unit which provided plenty of poke in all driving situations and as is nearly always the case the fuel consumption was not as good as the combined figure but it was not too far behind according to the on board computer.
From my experience with Subarus off road they have an excellent reputation and on a very muddy and bumpy track there was no problem maintaining traction which is one reason why they are so popular with owners in rural areas especially. Grumbles?
Despite all that standard equipment there is no spare wheel below the roomy load area and I found the illuminated information panel in the centre of the fascia below the windscreen was a tad distracting for night driving.
As mentioned earlier this Subaru is an ideal all weather vehicle especially for those owners who want something different from the likes of the Qashqai but also with impressive ride and handling qualities and in this respect the XV ticks the right boxes.
Model: Subaru XV 2.0D SE manual 4x4.
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder Boxer diesel engine.
Transmission: Six speed manual. T
op speed: 123mph. Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 9.3 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 52.3mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 141g/km.