Subaru is globally famous for its boxer engine. This is something only Porsche and prehistoric Volkswagens can boast. Subaru have owned this market space for decades now and have it done to an art. The XV is no exception and it too houses one of Subarus Boxer engines. The XV is part of a family of vehicles that are covered under a new vehicle platform released by Subaru around 2011. With this new platform came the shift from the veteran EJ motors and in its place came the new FB series engines.
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We have covered the risks of owning cars which are new platforms in the past, more specifically when the Holden Commodore went from a 3.8Lt V6 to the 3.6V6 That article can be found bellow.
The risk with these changes is that there is always what we like to call teething problems. These problems are necessary for the industry to improve and develop but do you really want to be the guinea pig?
Since 1987 Subaru has been using the EJ20 and EJ25 (two litre and two and half litre engines), they were used up until 2009. That’ s just over twenty years of ironing out issues, fine tuning and maximising efficiency. If you purchased a Subaru produced around 2008 you got the very best Subaru had to offer. In the case of the XV the new FB series engine starts back at square one. Granted it has all the whiz-bang tech in it, but it is the first of its type and as a result it has problems.
First up some facts. The Subaru XV is made in Malaysia, it is the same chassis as the Impreza with a different suspension designed to lift it further from the ground giving it the stance of somewhere between a street car and a off road SUV. The Automatic transmission in the XV is a CVT Transmission. Most modern automatics are going this way so its almost unavoidable. The CVT transmission is a relatively new technology too, however it seems to be getting to the stage where most of the “entry to the market problems have been eliminated”
So aside from being a new platform what do we actually think of the XV and what are some things to be careful of? First, most owners complain of minimal boot space. I feel thats hardly something you can complain about as you knew the size of the boot when you bought it. Its like complaining to the manufacturers that you don’t like the colour after you have purchased it.
There are a lot of online reports complaining about the drivers seat being uncomfortable. One can assume they are all uncomfortable and its mostly the drivers seat that the owner is sitting in. It is very unlikely that the wise men at the Subaru long-beard meeting chose to make all the XV seats very comfortable except for the drivers. You can just see the laughing small Asian men at the Japanese headquarters have a big laugh at this seemingly hilarious prank. I don’t think so.
Many of the XV engines were reported to be oil burners. This is made worse by the fact that the Subaru recommended oil viscosity was 0W20 which is the same consistency of cat urine. There were some engines rebuilt under warranty and some hands washed by Subaru dealers. If you’re buying one of these secondhand be mindful you may be buying a car that consumes an excessive amount of oil.
As the XV gets older we are seeing a few common faults with them that have plagued Subaru from the dawn of time. The age old oil leak from rocker covers are still a genetic fault with Subaru however with the new FB engines timing covers are also known for large oil leaks to start up.
There also seems to be a common fault with them stalling and not starting again. Our research suggests this is covered by a factory recall relating to a faulty pinion gear in the starter. An additional recall also exists for a routing of wiring lume fault that can cause the car to idle poorly.
Overall our experience is the Subaru is a fantastic car the the XV meets the same standard as its predecessors. Whilst some common faults have turned up overall we are quite happy recommending them to people. If your looking to by one of these brand new we would advise you to just do it. Warranty covers any of these issues (except for small boot space or an ordinary drivers seat). If you are looking at one of these second hand, just look out for oil leaks and the possibility of buying a car that consumes oil.