Family Driving – Subaru XV

This one is interesting – the Subaru XV is classed as an SUV but for me, it’s more of a hatch back riding on higher suspension. Subaru like to call it a Compact Crossover SUV – it’s a hatchback.

I was excited to get behind the wheel of a Subaru again, the last time was around a year ago when I was lucky enough to pilot the WRX STI Impreza Final Edition, for me this was a bit of a childhood dream, to be driving an Impreza. Growing up in the 90’s Colin McCrea was a hero, I bought his Play Station games and seeing his control of a car and his ‘If in doubt flat out’ mentality was awe-inspiring. I’ve seen Jimmy McCrea behind the wheel of the famous L 555 BAT Impreza, trying to keep my cool and stop my inner child screaming and jumping around as Jimmy flicked the Impreza from side to side, sliding around fellow rally legends Ari Vatanen, Markku Allen, Stig Blomqvist, Timo Salonen and Mikki Biasion.

So, to my next experience being a Subaru XV, it has a fair bit to live up to…

Obviously it’s an impossible comparison but there are some hints of the brands legacy in a car which doesn’t know which category it belongs. The seating position is good, the steering wheel is nice, coupled with responsive steering and competent handling. It won’t leave you with an ear splitting smile on the bends instead just a bit more confident on the country lanes or exiting a round about.

So, let’s get in to it…

The Engine

Uh, I wish I didn’t have to start here, the 1.6 Linertronic is a Horizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder boxer engine matched with a CVT gearbox with 114ps and 150Nm of torque. Plant your foot and for all the revs you’ll feel as if you’re going nowhere fast, 0-60 comes in 13.2 seconds and by todays standards that is very, very slow, smaller engines will get there quicker with much less noise from the engine. I also found it thirsty, averaging 34mpg when I drove it around for a week.

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I found the engine underwhelming and a bit of hard work, to look at the positives, it does well in Japan and the US but over here, I didn’t enjoy it.

Handling

As mentioned above I found it competent around the bends, it wasn’t something which I was left hankering for more corners but it was just that, fine.

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Off road, with the X-mode which gives you hill descent control and some clever electronic differential things. It handles the bumpy stuff just fine and pottering about at low speeds is far more capable than most soft-roaders which this would come up against.

Family life

The back will comfortably hold two iso-fix car seats, which are very easy to locate and house. It actually made switching car seats between cars so easy it would take minutes. in stead of being lost between the leather on the seat, you can just slide up the iso-fix housing cover and pop your little one’s seat in. The cabin is light, thanks to the sunroof and roomy, there never felt a cramped feeling, being six foot I usually have to have the seat further forward than I would usually like, with a child seat behind me, here though there seemed to be plenty of room.

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The boot is where the XV is let down, the size of a large hatch back, the floor of the boot is higher than you would think due to the differential at the back. Meaning the iCandy Peach and carry cot was a struggle to get in along with everything else for two kids.

The roof rails are also a welcome addition meaning a roof box could be attached to boost storage space for longer journeys.

Would I buy one?

The Subaru XV isn’t for me, the engine let’s it down as does the boot space, there’s many things which are likeable but the car is hitting an identity crisis, it doesn’t really know if it’s a hatch or an SUV.

I think there’s better places you could put your money with this model coming in at £24,000 and the 2.0 coming in closer to £28,000 it’s starting to creep in to Volvo XC40 territory.

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Train like a Pro with Wattbike

This weekend saw the return of Former Road Race World Champion, Lizzie Deignan. After one year out giving birth to their baby daughter, Orla, Lizzie returned to racing at the Amstel Gold Race.

Lizzie turned herself inside out with 40km to go with a storming break, her efforts were not enough, with Canyon-SRAM’s Polish rider, Katarzyna Niewiadoma the eventual winner, attacking on the final climb of the Cauberg and holding off Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) who was in hot pursuit.

In an interview with Lizzie published on this site, she said she would forgo all other races to win the UCI World Championships held in her home county of Yorkshire, in September. Lizzie hopes to do this with the help of Wattbike which she claims to have been her go to training tool during pregnancy and beyond. Helping Lizzie to squeeze in training around naps and after bed time!

“I’m really excited to rejoin the peloton and to race with my new teammates at Trek Segafredo, first at the Ardennes and then fittingly back on my home roads for the Tour de Yorkshire. I can’t wait to race in front of the home crowd again! It’s been a whirlwind year off the bike to have baby Orla and I’m looking forward to the new challenge of racing while being a working Mum! I couldn’t have done it without the support of my sponsors including Wattbike. Having the Wattbike to hand throughout pregnancy and for my return to cycling has been invaluable – allowing me to carry on riding safely in all weathers and with a big bump! It remains my go-to training tool.” Lizzie Deignan

Wattbike, who last year returned to track success with the prolific and inspiring HUUB Wattbike Test Team hinted at more sponsorship opportunities for 2019 that are yet to be announced.

“At Wattbike we are all really excited to see Lizzie’s return to cycling, we have been supporting her for three years now. It has been great to see her using the Wattbike throughout her pregnancy and her training as she returns to form. We’re really optimistic about the future and cannot wait to see how it progresses”.
Rich Baker

After being founded in 2000 Wattbike launched its pioneering indoor power trainer in 2008. It is now an industry-leading manufacturer of indoor cycle trainers, with a proven heritage in performance cycling. Wattbike trainers generate the world’s most accurate power, technique and performance data, captured through cutting-edge analysis and with unrivalled accuracy. With a desire to create the ultimate indoor cycling experience and a reputation for true innovation, Wattbike trainers perfectly replicate the sensation of riding on the road for professionals and beginners alike.

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Times They Are Changing.

A quick update from Pusher of Pedals – there’s a little change to the site coming up!

No longer will the blog be dedicated to just bikes, but also cars and family lifestyle. The automotive world has been a life long passion of mine, in my work (TV and Event production) life I’ve worked on more car shows than anything and I’ve loved every minute of it. Top Gear, Car SOS, Stars In Their Cars while also working on CarFest and London Classic Car Show.

This, to you, may seem strange, how are these connected? Well, my life has changed, I’m now a parent, I’ve two boys, Barnaby who is two and Elijah who is two months. They are my world and the way in which I look at life is now different.

So, from here on in, I’ll not only be writing reviews on bikes and cycling related products like clothing, tech and supplements but also kiddy tag alongs, kiddy seats, helmets – while also looking at the automotive world. Family cars, with the occasional sports car, how do they swallow up everything which family life brings and are they useable and likeable?

There will be change BUT change is mainly for the better.

As ever, your feedback will be listened to and look at building a better more useable blog for you to follow and enjoy.

Stay tuned and hopefully we’ll all enjoy the ride together, on two wheels or four!

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