A long weekend away to Port Elizabeth for the WesBank Super Series gave us the opportunity to plan a stopover on our way back to Jozi. We thus planned to experience River Lodge, which is on the Kariega Private Game Reserve property. I was lucky enough to have the Subaru XV to test on the same weekend, so everything was set up for a wonderful adventure away from the city! I was not to be disappointed – my girlfriend and I were truly spoilt both with the car and by the staff at the Lodge.
The Subaru was a pleasant surprise and I think it’s a very important vehicle for the Subaru range. As a true cross-over vehicle, it represents a step into a new market for the brand and I think it does a very good job of meeting the expectations of that segment of the market. It’s beautifully finished inside, and has the best interior finish of any Subaru I’ve driven – a massive improvement! The 2 litre motor at times feels under powered but once you get to know the gearbox it’s a relaxing car to drive. It was absolutely perfect for the type of road trip adventure we had selected. It was also probably one of the more comfortable drives I’ve had for such a long road trip. The interior I loved, especially the orange XV as it had matching orange finished interior leather which actually looked good.
The visit to Kariega was a fantastic experience. We got especially close to a Black Rhino and an Elephant – we could’ve basically reached out and stroked the animals, and this was a proper, once in a life time, wow moment! We also saw lion, herds of elephant, hippo (in and out of the water), caracal, buffalo, lots and lots of warthogs and even a yellow mongoose. It was without a doubt the best game drive I’ve ever experienced. Waking up really early for the drives was so worth it. Taryn was even attacked by a bark spider… although I’m not sure she enjoyed that part of it!
We were extremely sad to leave but getting back behind the wheel of the Subaru XV was another treat. The Scoobie was very comfortable both on road and off the beaten track. It felt right at home on the rugged paths we traversed and I can imagine taking it almost anywhere on a proper South African road trip. The only gripe I had was with the boot space, which I felt could have been bigger and I think this will limit its usefulness. Going to and from the race track in PE, it felt as if I had to stuff everything into the boot to make it fit. Other than that, it fits the soccer mom / family car role perfectly.
The XV felt so much more refined than the Forester I tested last year, and the GPS worked extremely well – this is a weakness of many other models in its class. The car proved to be frugal in its fuel consumption, particularly when it came to on highway travel, and the seats were comfy and practical. The car garnered much attention with its hot orange colour and sexy wheels, and it’s certainly one of the best looking vehicles in its class. Although it’s no sports car, it was ideal for cruising and as long as you’re not expecting STI performance from the XV, you’ll be quite satisfied. The XV is sure to find a place in the market with those looking for something practical but a little different. I think the 4 x 4 capabilities of the XV make it uniquely robust and give it a wonderfully versatile range of uses.
Specs Worth Noting:
- Price: R329,000.00
- Full Time 4×4: Yes
- Gearbox: 6-speed Manual
- Power Output: [email protected]
- Torque: 196n[email protected]
- Climate Control: Yes
- Xenon Headlamps: Yes
- Park Distance Control: Rear
- Satellite Navigation: Optional
- Air Bag: Driver, Passenger, Front Side, Driver Knee and Curtain
- Side Impact Protection: Yes
- Brakes: ABS, EBD, VDC, Hill Start Assist and Brake Assist
- Dodge Caliber 2,4 SXT: R255,990.00
- GWM Hover H5 2,0 VGT 4×4: R269,990.00
- Hyundai ix35 2,4 GLS 4×4 AT: R339,900.00
- KIA Sportage AWD 2,0 AT: R322,995.00
- Mitsubishi ASX 2,0 CVT: R329,900.00
- Nissan Qashqai 2,0 dCi Acenta 4×4: R347,500.00
- SsangYong Korando 2,0 CRDi 4×4 AT: R324,995.00
- Suzuki SX4 2,0 4×4: R245,900.00
All prices correct at time of writing. Pictures by Taryn Miles ([email protected]).