When comparing two cars that both strive to do great things in the city-centre and the countryside, it often comes down to the bare basics when deciding which one you’ll take home. The Subaru XV is a direct rival to the Honda HR-V. Both vehicles boast clever safety and entertainment systems and both are vying for the crown when it comes to drivability on a quick getaway or a long awaited week in Karijini.
Here are a few things you’ll need to consider before booking a test drive.
Is All Wheel Drive better?
The answer is yes, always. First off the bat, the Subaru XV here comes out with a firm win. No matter the trim, you can trust it will be equipped with All Wheel Drive (AWD) capability. Whether you’re eyeing off that unexpected dirt track or navigating slippery terrain, AWD is your trusty ticket out of any sticky situation. Subaru’s intelligent symmetrical active torque split AWD system is constantly monitoring each wheel’s grip and speed and adjusting power accordingly to ensure a perfect ride. You will feel that extra grip as soon as you put your foot down
AWD capability isn’t just about getting over that dirt track, it’s also about safety. Having better grip distributed through all wheels helps on wet roads and also produces better acceleration.
There is, however, another slam dunk that solidifies the car’s lead in the off-road department. Subaru’s formidable X-Mode delivers heightened traction control and better brake handling, making it the obvious choice for anywhere beyond the bitumen.
Boot size and legroom are always important things to consider, and compact SUVs will compete to the bitter end to maximise on it. With both vehicles boasting the best of city and country driving, it’s important to compare the two head-to-head.
While the Honda HR-V is the living definition of a compact SUV, and coming in with slightly more boot capacity, it falls short of managing this and being completely off-road worthy. Consider the design: Honda’s HR-V, coming in at 437L boot capacity looks good on paper, but when it comes to back-seat legroom and overall distribution and length, one is left wondering where the beach rods will go. And if you’re really off the beaten track, the XV’s full spare tyre beneath the boot floor could be well worth that smaller capacity.
Safety: how good is Subaru EyeSight?
The Subaru Crosstrek XV and Honda HR-V are both packed with excellent safety features. Upper-level trims of both vehicles offer Subaru’s EyeSight technology and Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS), respectively. ADAS is the umbrella term for Honda’s entire suite of safety features including adaptive cruise control, lane assist technology, and collision mitigation brake system. This is unfortunately only available on the VTi-LX, and is absent from the entry-level trims.
EyeSight is Subaru’s strong answer to all things safety. Covering an impressive range of features including lane assist technology, emergency braking, and electronic stability control to name but a few, these extras start to kick in with the 2.0i-L model which also has a much larger 8-inch touch screen.
Enter the upper echelons of Subaru’s Hybrid AWD XV and added features include blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, and a comforting reverse automatic braking system. Subaru’s EyeSight technology is outstanding to say the least. Honda’s ADAS does the job well, but if safety is one of your top priorities, EyesSight has you more than covered.
With a larger engine and a more muscular body, the Subaru XV is slightly heavier than the Honda HR-V. Unless you’re at the wheel of Subaru’s XV Hybrid, expect fuel consumption to be consistent across all variants within the XV range at a decent 7.0L/100km. You can also expect the Subaru XV to travel further than its rival, with a larger tank and superior open road capability, the XV is ideal for the long haul.
Both the Honda HR-V and Subaru XV come with rival tech packages set to stun the harshest of critics. Both vehicles have the basics: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, bluetooth, 6 speaker surround sound system, CD player, and touchscreens. It’s the Subaru XV that comes out on top here with its entry-level variants fully equipped with voice command recognition. The Honda HR-V passes with higher-level variants offering an equivalent voice recognition system.
You Test it
Overall, both cars seek to deliver the best results within their league, and both succeed in pushing the envelope on what it means to be a compact SUV. When breaking it down to the basics – usability and safety, it’s the Subaru XV that wins the points.