The XV is a surprising car! It looks like a family car, but deep within there an offroader DNA with awesome on-road capabilities. While the body is surprisingly tough for the look of the car, the AWD system shows its limits when it comes to steep long ascents.
At the first glance you might be tricked to say that this car has nothing to do with the offroading and is just another junk trying to look like an SUV. However, checking the ground clearance of the car should rise the first questions. It is good enough to pass most of the obstacles you will find on the tracks of Oman and the body is tough enough to take some serious shocks. Really, I felt it tougher than the Trailblazer. Full time AWD will do just good for most of the situations and I managed to go over some serious tracks with this thing. Still, there are two weaknesses. On really steep and long ascents the AWD will start crying and complain that the transmission oil starts to burn. It happened to me once on Yasab ascent and I had to turn back. The other weakness is the stupid VDC system which can really make trouble for you when driving in softer sand. And the bad news is that you just cannot take it off completely, so whenever your car will slide a bit in the sand the system will cut off power and brake, bogging you eventually in the sand.
This car shines onroad and drives like a saloon car. You will never have to care too much when cornering compared to other 4wd vehicles, just drive and enjoy the stability coming from the full-time AWD system and great body. Comfortable at all speeds and in all terrains, this XV is a monster of versatility.
Well, the 2.0 gas engine I drove is the killer of this car. Feels slow and sluggish, the engine doesn't show any guts when you push the pedal hard. It is damn fuel efficient, but this engine is the main weakness stopping this car from being one of the best ever made.
The XV shines here. I managed to do even ~ 7 l/100 km on highway, which is quite amazing for GCC area.
Unexpectedly tough. Handles very well rough terrain and I can say that Subaru engineers did a great job on this topic.
The main issue is the sluggish engine which reduces the pleasure of driving this vehicle. A secondary issue is the VDC system which cannot be fully deactivated and can ruin your sand driving.
Subaru XV is a hugely versatile vehicle, very good onroad and with capabilities to cover 80% of the offroad tracks from Oman. It doesn't look like, but it can smoke Wadi Bani Awf. It suffers on serious tracks like Yasab and Salmah Plateau and for sure it will suck in desert. But if you plan to use this as an everyday car and add some spice with weekend adventures, this is just perfect. Rental car price for this was around 300 OMR / month.