True to its roots of producing tough, working vehicles, Subaru‘s XV crossover is available only with four-wheel drive, which, though useful for hard-worked cars, leaves it at a distinct disadvantage in terms of emissions.

Figures of 146g/km and 50.4mpg aren’t the worst around, but when rivals are able to duck below 120g/km, they start to look poor. In its defence, the XV benefits from the firm’s 2.0-litre 147hp boxer diesel engine, bearing a reputation for strong mechanical reliability and plentiful power given the size and heft of the car. It isn’t the most refined, emitting a rattling sound under moderate to hard acceleration, but the power delivery is smooth and surging.

Another let-down is the interior, which is streets behind rivals in terms of the abundance of hard, scratchy black plastic. On the plus side, the seats are very comfortable, and boot and cabin space, while not class-leading, are good. Spec is relatively generous on the SE model, while a reversing camera is a handy addition in the absence of parking sensors.

For firms requiring a working vehicle with potential off-road duties, the Subaru is worth considering, although the Forester 4×4 and the Legacy estate already have such duties largely sewn up within the brand’s range.

The XV’s biggest problem is the raft of well-established and affordable crossovers already on the market, the Nissan Qashqai being the most obvious, while budget but well-rounded offerings such as the Kia Sportage and the Skoda Yeti also make a stronger case. The closest Qashqai to the XV – the 1.6 dCi 130 Tekna with four-wheel drive – comes out a shade more expensive at 62.5ppm, but it’s cleaner, more efficient and there are plenty of other versions available with significantly lower running costs, which is something the Subaru desperately lacks.

Subaru XV 2.0 D SE
P11D price £26,110
Model price range £24,110-£29,810
Residual value 35.8%
Depreciation £16,760
Fuel £7604
SMR £2660
VED £405
National Insurance £2594
Cost per mile 62.3p
Fuel consumption 50.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 146g/km (23%)
BIK 20/40% per month £100.1/£200.2
Service interval 12,000 miles
Insurance (1-50) group 26
Warranty 3yrs 60,000mls
Boot space 380/1270 litres
Engine size/power 1998cc/147hp
Top speed/0-62mph 120mph/9.3secs
On sale Summer 2012
Score 6/10
Verdict Tough and utilitarian but
not polished enough to
take on the Qashqai