Motor Image, the distributor of Subaru vehicles across nine countries in Asia, has unveiled the first ever Forester e-Boxer hybrid here in the 2019 Singapore Motor Show. As the first Subaru hybrid model in the Asia-Pacific region, the Forester e-Boxer has all the family friendly and adventurous traits we’ve come to known and love with the compact crossover, but with the benefit of an efficient yet powerful hybrid powertrain.
From the outside, apart from a few subtle e-Boxer badging, the differences are almost nonexistent against the standard model, which means that it still utilizes the familiar boxy silhouette that has given the Forester top marks in practicality and usability. The typical Subaru design cues that we’ve seen in some of its latest models remain, which include the LED headlights with C-shaped LED daytime running lights complementing the C-shaped LED tail lights. Shoulder lines that flow around the pillars give the Forester’s side profile more character, while the prominent wheel arches emphasize the Forester’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system’s functionality.
Underneath the familiar design is the Subaru Global Platform, which just like in the Impreza, has been futureproofed by Subaru to remain one of the safest platforms until the year 2025, which means that even after 7 years, it should still theoretically lead the pack in terms of crash protection. Elsewhere, exterior dimensions have been incrementally increased for increased interior room. Unknown to many, the Subaru Global Platform has been designed with electrification in mind, therefore, radical changes to the vehicle’s structure are not necessary when developing a hybrid variant. As a result, interior space and practicality remain mostly unchanged in this e-Boxer hybrid variant.
Inside, the overall interior remains unchanged. Unlike in most cars, where there is a weird shifter or an unconventional button here and there to further separate the hybrid model, the Forester e-Boxer feels normal and user friendly. As with the standard Forester, the interior feels premium, thanks to the liberal use of soft-touch materials and stitching details. The seats have been designed for greater long distance comfort in mind, while the new electronic parking brake frees up center console space for greater flexibility.
The most interesting part about the Forester e-Boxer hybrid is what’s under the hood. A 2.0-liter H4 boxer engine produces 145 hp and 188 Nm of torque, which is teamed up with an electric motor that produces 13.5 hp and 65 Nm of torque. The Lineartronic CVT continues to make an appearance. Interestingly, the transmission, electric motors, and batteries were kept along the Forester’s center axis, which means all the Subaru handling trademarks you expect remain, thanks to its Symmetrical AWD and low mounted boxer engine providing a low center of gravity.
Additionally, a new driving mode has been added to the SI-DRIVE drive mode selector, which is specific to the Forester e-Boxer only. This is called ECO-C, which maximizes fuel efficiency and brake energy regeneration to charge the batteries. And speaking of batteries, the Forester e-Boxer can run on purely electric for 50 kilometers. EyeSight has also been calibrated when ECO-C is activated. Not only does the Forester drive more efficiently with Adaptive Cruise Control activated, but it also adjusts the distance to the car in front in such a way that regenerative braking is maximized.
No specific time frame has been given as to when it will be available in the Philippine market, but Motor Image has given hints that it might be available at our market by 2020.