The Subaru XV comes with a pretty special package, as Edward Stephens explains.

The car that Subaru owners all over Britain have been getting excited about has just gone on sale – with a unique package that’s set to send its competitors reeling.

While other manufacturers have been offering extended warranties and servicing deals to boost sales, Subaru’s boss in the UK, Darren James, has come up with real blockbuster.

It means that buyers of the new Subaru XV get:

* Any scratches or minor dents to bodywork repaired free;

* Scuffs to alloy wheels repaired free;

* The car washed and vacuumed free for 11 out of every 12 months each year for three years – with a free full valet on the 12th month;

* The cost of any insurance excess up to £300 per year covered for three years;

* A courtesy car in the event of an accident while Subaru arranges any repairs;

* The first MOT paid for with contributions towards any repairs needed;

* Lost car or house keys replaced free;

* Winter tyres and wheels stored free;

* A free annual wheel alignment.

The free package is said to be worth £7,240.

“I wanted a package that would work for motorists in the real world, and that’s exactly what we are offering,” said Mr James.

The XV is the first car to be launched with the new Subaru ETCo (Everything Taken Care of) deal, although it has now been decided to also offer it on all other models in the Japanese car maker’s current line-up.

The rugged-looking new XV is the most important car to come from Subaru in a generation and marks the company’s first venture into the highly competitive compact crossover market.

It’s a go-anywhere five seater that’s just as at home off-road as on-road.

Make no mistake the XV is no softy. It looks tough and it very definitely is .

At the press launch of the new car, Subaru, whose UK offices are in Birmingham, was confident enough to put its money where its mouth is by letting journalists drive both petrol and diesel models over the sort of terrain most buyers would turn pale at the thought of tackling in their own cars.

Steep, rocky gradients, dramatic mud-covered slopes and axle-deep bogs all proved to be no obstacle for the XV thanks to a superb four-wheel-drive system and plenty of ground clearance.

And, so you can see exactly what’s going on, the higher spec models even have a multi function display screen which shows when any wheel is losing grip and the electronic stability programme is taking over. It also shows which way the front wheels are facing at any given time – a real boon when trying to drive through deeply rutted ground.

The XV is no full-blown off-roader, like a Land Rover Discovery, but then it’s not designed to be. On the other hand, we are talking about a vehicle that’s in a very different price bracket that can a sensible sized, user friendly family hatchback.

On the highway, this muscular newcomer has a firm, sporty ride which gives you the confidence to corner it hard when you feel like it.

And having tried an XV on the equivalent of a skid pan, I can say with confidence that it won’t be caught out by ice and snow.

All versions come with Subaru’s Boxer engines, and there’s a choice of either a 1.6-litre (114bhp) or 2.0-litre (150bhp) petrol or a 147bhp 2.0-litre diesel. Manual versions come with either a five or six-speed gearbox – depending on model – while there is a CVT automatic transmission as an option.

For a four-wheel-drive car, the XV is impressively frugal, with a claimed 50 miles per gallon for the diesel giving 683 miles on a single tank of fuel.

The car also scores well when it comes to safety, having been given five stars in the Euro NCAP crash rating system and getting the best score of any car on sale in the UK when it comes to the child occupant category.

Prices for the XV start from £21,295, and while existing Subaru owners tend be very loyal and will be lining up to buy the XV, the Japanese car maker is also very confident that this new model will take sales from its competitors. After spending a day driving the XV, they certainly won’t get any arguments from me on that score.

Fast Facts

Price: From £21,295

Mechanical: 1.6-litre (114bhp) or 2.0-litre (150bhp) petrol, or 2.0-litre (147bhp) diesel, five or six-speed gearbox

Max speed: 111mph 0-60mph: 10.3 seconds

Combined mpg: 44 (petrol) 50 (diesel)

CO2 emissions: 151g/km

Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles