Subaru XV 2.0i-S Easter at Port Stephens


Easter at Port Stephens seemed like a great time to take the long term test Subaru XV 2.0i-S away for a weekend. Well I was wrong.

Not because I chose the Subaru, but because it was absolutely packed over the weekend with others that had the same idea.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

I had just gotten back from another launch, had a few things to do in Sydney and then tried to get away for the weekend before the exodus north. It is amazing just how many people travel out of Sydney for, well any weekend, but especially a long weekend.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

Around town the Subaru XV drives easily, it is smooth, quiet and nimble. The 2.0L boxer engine provides enough power for all your needs. The CVT is unobtrusive. The extensive safety features ensures that you are well informed of what is around you. When parking the reversing camera has excellent graphics.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

The XV is the type of car that definitely grows on you. Not only was the Sunshine Orange colour something that became familiar over the weeks, but the interior is absolutely a revelation in the small SUV segment.

The top of the range 2.0i-S is packed with standard features and has a luxurious ambience. The stitched leather seats in particular provide a comfortable place to park the butt. While they don’t have electrically adjustable lumbar support they are supportive over long distances.

The inclusion of Apple Car Play and Android Auto in the latest XV has made a world of difference to the lifestyle of owning such a vehicle. Being able to transfer their phone contents and for some, their life to the car is essential.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

The plan was a lazy weekend of relaxing by the beach, maybe a little golf and generally just eating and indulging in a quiet ale or two. It appears that there were thousands of other Sydneysiders that had the same idea.

Cruising up the old F3 or as they call, it now the M1, was a doddle, literally, plenty of traffic and the twin servos were packed.

The XV is powered by the 2.0-litre direct-injection normally aspirated four cylinder boxer engine, producing power of 115Kw @ 6000rpm and torque of 196Nm @ 4000rpm. This is mated to a seven speed CVT.

The engine CVT combination will cruise nicely in the rev bands but does not like to be pushed hard. It is certainly no sports SUV.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

On the freeway I managed to achieve an economy rate of just over 6.7 L/100K. It sat around 1800rpm on 110kmh. However the combination around town wasn’t anywhere as economical. Here the combination returned in excess of 11 or 12L/100k.

Subaru’s Eyesight system allows for relaxed cruise control driving on the freeway. For those who don’t like adaptive cruise control, there is the option to turn it off. Another handy feature is the automatic high beam headlights and auto wipers.

Auto high beam headlights can be both good and bad. Sometimes they aren’t responsive enough, resulting in oncoming drivers flashing you just before the lights dip, but the XV seems to have the calibration set just right.

The Subaru XV is ideally suited to a couple that wants to lead an adventurous lifestyle. The boot area is large enough for luggage for two or even four people. The rear seats fold flat to provide a large boot area.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

My golf clubs were too long to fit sideways so I simply folded one seat down and set them in sideways. I haven’t played in years and a quiet nine hole just before dusk was, I thought, a perfect way to ease into the weekend.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

Apparently golf is a game where the less time you hit the ball the better you are, so my score for the nine holes proved that I should stick to other relaxing pursuits.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

Even though the Port was packed with holidaymakers, we were able to find a spot near the beach to watch sunsets and have a glass of champagne. The Sunshine Orange XV blending in with the setting sun across the bay.

During the day we ventured onto Stockton Beach near Birubi point. I know that Subaru doesn’t make a feature of the sand driving qualities of the XV but they should. Here the CVT and boxer engine, combined with the relatively lightweight, make a great beach driver.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

Where heavier vehicles had to lower their air pressures more than I did and drove with way more momentum than was needed, the XV simply glided over the sand onto the beach. Subaru’s famed symmetrical all-wheel drive system never missed a beat.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

We cruised along in air-conditioned comfort with ease. Of course, in addition to the beach chairs, boogie boards and umbrella and esky, I took some MaxTrax along just in case. They were never needed. Apart from the MaxTrax, which were again too long to fit sideways, the rest fitted easily in the boot area.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

Overall the weekend was as relaxing as we planned. The Subaru makes for a great weekend escape vehicle. In reality it is way more capable as an adventure vehicle than many owners will ever experience. Over dirt trails, trips to the snow, forest racks, on the beach or around town the Subaru XV 2.0i-S is currently the top pick amongst the smaller SUVs.

2018 Subaru XV 20i-S

Top 10 things to do in Port Stephens

  • Watch Sunset with Champagne from Little Beach
  • Eat seafood on the beach
  • Drive on Stockton beach and visit Tin City
  • Take a dolphin or whale watch cruise
  • Take the Tea Gardens Ferry for lunch over the bay
  • Try stand up paddle boarding at Shoal Bay
  • Climb Tomaree Headland (you need to be relatively fit)
  • Keep an eye out for Koala’s while they are still there
  • Have a meal and a drink at the pub overlooking the Marina listening to live music.
  • Visit, the Go Kart track, Australian Shark and Ray centre, visit the Oyster Barn,ride a camel or go dune boarding and lots of other simple attractions
Subaru XV 2.0i-S SUV
  • Rating


The Subaru makes for a great weekend escape vehicle. In reality it is way more capable as an adventure vehicle than many owners will ever experience. Over dirt trails, trips to the snow, forest racks, on the beach or around town the Subaru XV 2.0i-S is currently the top pick amongst the smaller SUVs.

About Rob Fraser 2486 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.