Subaru’s hybrid performance is probably the most discussed topic among every review / comment. E.g this very recent review by Used Cars NI. Reviewer says that on the test drive, he did not have confidence to the engine’s ability. Similar comments is seen quite often.
Is it really that bad as official performance figures let assume? This is so interesting topic, that it deserves own blog post.
Official figures claims that acceleration is 11.8 seconds. I think no one argues of that, it is on slowish side compared to any modern car. But is that the attribute you should be looking for? I think not. It can give idea of the cars performance but it will not tell how well car goes among everyday traffic.
Whole topic is dependent of your own driving style. I have seen that some speaks of “active” or “dynamic” driving style, when they mean somewhat fast driving. Often there need to pass slower traffic too. But then there is a group of people that does not need “active driving style”. I have launched new term. Reverse passing. If somebody comes too close to my back bumber, I will try to give room for passing. If possible slow down bit too (if it is safe to do so), to make passing easier for this other car. By doing that you don’t actually need to accelerate at all. Coast a bit and most importantly, drive on side of the road. This way you don’t block the visibility of the car behind you. If the car passes you, that was successfully reverse passing situation.
Personally I see quite rarely really need for much more power. There might be some situations but luckily not too often. I am not saying that I wouldn’t take extra power. Yes I would but I am saying that the current capabilities are more than adequate for the most needs.
Subaru’s mild hybrid
So Subaru managed to create hybrid that is not super fuel efficient but it is not that powerful too? Not exactly. According to Subaru, fuel savings can be up to 11% and it seems to be the case in the real world driving too.
However small 16.7 hp electric motor gives nice torgue to driving situations. E.g. in city driving it offers from 0 rpm +65Nm of torque which helps a lot gasoline engine. This enables car to move forward with electric only on stop/go traffic but also smooths driving in slow speeds.
Other situation where I have noticed benefit of the electric motor is when I actually need to pass someone. Not just do those reverse passings. Enable sport mode on the car (it keeps bit higher revs) and when needed push pedal enough to make passing pleasant. You can also monitor the performance from Multi Function Display.
Subaru Forester – no turbo?
I remember seeing some comments that the hybrid could be replacement for the Forester XT (turbo). Not likely. Hybrid really does not match XT’s performance. But there was a grain of truth still. Electric motor gives you little torque punch like turbo would. Only there is no lag, it comes instantly. Even this punch is somewhat faint, it is still noticeable and very welcome addition compared to non-hybrid variant (or compared to 4th generation Forester).
On the performance section I count also how good brakes car has. In Subaru’s case car has a very natural brake feel. Which is not the case usually with all-electric or other hybrid cars. And the performance of the brakes are really good too. Good brakes makes car more enjoyable to drive.
Yes, Forester is not fast car but it was never meant to be so. It’s acceleration figures does not tell the whole truth. There is plenty of power available for everyday situations but probably not then if you are after some sporty action. Hybrid system really eases the driving and makes the whole car much smoother to operate.