What is Subaru Forester Hybrid

Subaru Forester hybrid, i.e. Forester e-Boxer is the first electrified version of Subaru’s best selling SUV Forester. Subaru calls it mild hybrid, mainly because of the size of the electric motor. Typically mild-hybrid has a definition that it cannot propel car solely with electric power. Subaru’s mild-hybrid can move car using solely electric power. E-Boxer Forester was introduced in the Europe late 2019 as model year 2020.

Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is a hot segment for all of the manufacturers. It is something that they need to be part of it, if they want to sell cars to the big audience. Personally I can understand it. I have chosen SUV because of it’s practicality. Our family and all the belongings fits well there. It has enough ground clearance to go over snow or other obstacles there might be time to time. Subaru has done well their branding by being AWD specialists, so I trust them in this category. Plus I like rugged look of the Forester. Many competitors have gone to other direction with the styling to make car look more sportier.

Subaru Forester e-Boxer, color Crystal Silica Black

Subaru Forester hybrid technical specifications

Performance

Forester is a lifestyle car and it can be seen from the performance figures. 11,8 seconds acceleration from 0-100km/h is on slowish side and there could be a bit more reserve available. Still all everyday driving experiences, such as merging to highway or passing slower traffic, works just fine on this car. Unfortunately Subaru does not tell combined HP output of regular boxer engine and electric motor working together. Typically you cannot do one plus one math here.

Max. output150 HP @ 5600 – 6000 rpm
Max. torque196 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Electric motor output16,7 HP
Electric motor torque66 Nm
Acceleration 0-100 km/h11,8 seconds

Fuel consumption

Official average WLTP fuel consumption is 8,1 liters per 100 km. This can be achieved and even outperformed in the right weather conditions. I have done one year journal of the hybrid Forester’s fuel economy which includes couple “hypermiling tests” to see what is the lowest possible consumption. My best result was 4,9 liters per 100 km at 50 km road trip. See details here.

Low8,8 lit./100km
Medium7,5 lit./100km
High6,7 lit./100km
Extra-High9,5 lit./100km
Combined8,1lit./100km
Official WLTP fuel consumption figures of the e-Boxer Forester

Forester dimensions

From the size perspective Forester is very close to it’s rivals. Virtually all main rivals are in the same size bracket with only little differences. Exception is that Forester is taller than other cars, giving more cabin space. Please see details for comparison here.

Length4625 mm
Width1815 mm
Height1730 mm
Weight1762 kg
Trunk space509 liters (seats up)
Towing capacity1870 kg
Minimum turning circle10,8 meters

Subaru Forester Hybrid features

Common to all Japanese manufacturers is that they pack car with features and buyer needs just to decide what trim level to go with. Below is some of the features you can have on the Forester hybrid. If you want them all, top trim level is your choice then. Features may vary depending of the country you live. Please check Subaru’s official web sites for more accurate information.

Exterior

  • Tinted rear windows – with dark windows you get some privacy and shade on sunny days. Gives some looks too!
  • Electric moon roof – There is tons of light in the cabin by default, even without moonroof. But adding moonroof gives you light almost double as much. Only negative thing is that you need to go with the top trim level to get moon roof
  • Alloy wheels – Top trim has 18″ wheels whereas others has 17″ wheels. If the road surface is rough as in some countries it might be (hello to Finland), smaller wheels works better in absorbing road noise
  • Bi-LED lights with steering responsive system – Curve lights brings a lot light to curvy roads. Very happy of those!
  • Fog lights – Rarely needed but when there is extreme fog, please remember to use.
  • Folding mirrors – Handy way to check if you remembered to lock the car.
  • UV protection on windshield and side windows – This is also good to have, specially if travelling longer road trips on sunny days.
  • Roof rails – To carry cargo, such as skibox. Latest trend is to have there rooftop tent, which could be actually quite cool.
  • Roof spoiler – This ads some exterior looks to the car. Without it it would be more boring.
  • Shark fin antenna – Nowadays all cars have this type of antenna. More practical than classic style antenna. No need to take shark fin off when going to car washing machine.

Seats / interior

  • Heated steering wheel – This is one of the best features. Love it during cold mornings! Though it could have low / high settings. Now it gets quite quickly hot, which is of course a good thing.
  • Leather seats – Comfortable seats and not only in front. Back seats are very comfortable too!
  • Heated seats – Second best feature on the top list, right after heated steering wheel. Also back seats have heating (not at the middle seat).
  • 8 way adjustable power seats in front – Only lumbar support adjustment is missing.
  • Memory function – There is two memory positions (two physical buttons) for the driver seat. To be honest, I have not tried this yet as car has also Driver Recognition System which also incorporates memory function.
  • 60/40 split folding rear seats – Why Japanese manufacturers can’t implement 40/20/40 folding rear seats. If you have two child car seats in the car and then you would like to go to skiing. Bit problematic, at least you have to take one car seat off.
  • One touch folding rear seats – When you need more cargo space, you can fold rear seats directly from the trunk
  • Camera view when reversing – This feature includes also camera washing but that comes with quite low pressure but of course it is better than without the whole washing system.

Comfort

  • Keyless entry and engine push button start – I could not imagine car without these. So handy to open doors by just grabbing the handle
  • Power tailgate – This is my first experience of this feature. First I though that this is unnecessary but now when I have used to use it, power tailgate is actually very nice to have!
  • Three 12-Volt Power Outlets (Instrument Panel, Centre Console Box and Boot) – Personally I don’t use that much 12 V accessories to connect to my Subaru. But e.g. fridge is one very common accessory to have on roadtrips at boot. I used centre console outlet for a Christmas tree.
  • Cup holders – I remember that Subaru advertised Ascent that it had 18 cup holders. Forester does not have that many. Two in front, two in back arm rest and then bottle holders in all doors.

Entertainment and navigation

  • Navigation with Harman/Kardon sound system (9 speakers) – Factory navigation systems are just not practical. It applies also to this case, luckily car supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and takes navigation to whole next level. Harman/Kardon has a certain brand among audiophile enthusiasts but does not bring any “wow” feeling to the cabin. H/K system is not bad either, average audio system.
  • Map updates for next 3 years – Nice but you don’t need these if you use Google Maps through CarPlay or AA.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – I am Apple user, so I can only tell experiences of the CarPlay. Using Google Maps through CarPlay is incredibly easy and accurate at the same time. Just hit microphone button and say e.g. McDonalds and it will show the nearest burger restaurants for you. Same way, you can enter any other destinations. Google’s benefit is their massive online database of almost all possible locations. TomTom or any other traditional navigator maker just can’t compete in this category. Using Apple CarPlay requires a physical cable connection.
  • USB ports – There is total of four USB ports in the Forester. Two in front and two in back. Only other port in front can be used for external media, such as smart phone. Other ports delivers just power for the USB device.
  • 8 inch screen – Big screen (big as in context of infotainment screens) has enough resolution for the viewing distance. Screen is bright and colorful even on sunny days. I find only the Weather app usable from the factory app offering. Rest are bit clumsy to use and some does not even work during driving.

Climate control

  • Windscreen wiper de-icer – This means that the bottom of the windscreen is heated. Usefully feature in wintery conditions. There is certain weather when wipers can frost easily, this helps on those moments. It is engaged same time with back window and mirrors heating.
  • Heating for second row – First time in Forester and a very welcome addition. Specially family at back seats thanks.
  • Dual Zone air conditioning – If there is a argue with other front passenger, you can now decide own temperatures for each side.

Controls & instrument

  • Multifunction display (MFD) – Some are against Subaru’s display arrangements. Cluttered they say. Personally I like arrangements. It’s not really that big learning curve to remember which display shows what information. I like displays and it gives bit more modern look for the interior too.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control – One of the best adaptive systems I have used. Probably it benefits a lot from Subaru’s EyeSight technology
  • Paddle shift – These I don’t use much but e.g. when you need to engine braking, then these could be useful.

Drivability

  • SI-Drive – Toggle between sports and normal (intelligent) mode. Sports mode actually seems to help in certain situations. E.g. when merging to highway or passing slower traffic. It doesn’t make car any faster but it keeps rpm on better power band and then prepares electric motor to assist best possible way to e.g. pass others by providing extra torque.
  • Start/stop system – This is actually implemented pretty well on the e-Boxer. It does not irritate driver, even you can notice it quite easily. But it starts the engine in very sophisticated way so, it is just fine.
  • X-Mode – X-Mode has now two settings. Snow/dirt and Deep snow and dirt. Difference is that the “deep” mode allows more wheelspin. Certainly use this when driving in severe conditions to maintain momentum. Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD is extremely capable but in most severe situations it is really important to maintain some speed at least to allow system work by it’s best.
  • Hill descent control – I rarely need this but when I need, need is then real. It was actually bit difficult to find hill descent control from Forester’s direct competitors and this was something I personally valuated quite much.
  • Active Torque Vectoring – First I thought this would be one of the marketing things but Forester is actually quite fun car to drive in curvy roads. At least for being such a tall car. Active Torque Vectoring should improve cornering by braking opposite back brake
  • Auto Vehicle Hold – Keeps your car still without changing gear to P, could be handy e.g. in traffic lights.

Safety

  • EyeSight – EyeSight is actually quite a multipurpose tool. It is general name for the bi-camera system behind the windscreen. Subaru utilizes EyeSight e.g. for following tasks: cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane sway and departure warning and lead vehicle start alert.
  • Driver Recognition System – Car uses this to recognize the driver to adjust seat, mirror, radio stations and air conditioning settings personally. System is also used to monitor driver and ensure that she/he is really driving and not doing anything else. E.g. if the driver is distracted and looking to other than road, car alarms driver.
  • Automatic braking when reversing – This is a very handy feature and should help you avoid damaging car.
  • Side camera (passenger side) – Very good addition to have extra camera but why Subaru you did not implement front camera also (similarly as JDM models have it)?
  • Automatic high beam – After one year of ownership I have not used high beam yet. Idea with the automatic high beam is that you don’t need to manually switch between high and low. I had similar feature in my previous car, Toyota Prius. Didn’t use it actually at all. It was just easier to switch manually. I don’t have experiences yet of the Subaru’s implementation, how reliable it is to recognize right moments to switch lights.
  • Blind spot monitoring – Extremely convenient to have. Car lit orange light to the side mirror when there is car on the blind spot. Orange light is bright enough to spot it easily. In my previous car there was blind spot monitoring too but warning light was way too small.
  • Rear cross traffic alert – One of my favorite safety features. This spots not only bicycles and cars but humans too.
  • Safety in general – Subaru has won practically all possible NCAP and similar tests. It is safe to drive and surpasses it’s competitors in moose/dodging tests. Fun fact is that Forester outperformed Mercedes AMG A 45s in a moose test.

Source and links

  • Feature list and datasheet tables gathered from Subaru’s official websites (subaru.eu, subaru.co.uk and subaru.fi). Opinions for the features are based on my experience of owning and driving car.
  • Link to the official datasheet of the e-Boxer Forester.

7 comments

  1. Hello and a Happy New Year! I have been trying to discover the Forester E-Boxer and still am under way. Have read Your AdventureForester through and found it of help. I see and am convinced there’s much of subjective when one chooses and like or dislikes a particular made/ model/ vehicle. Have you ever considered picking up an Outback? Yet the fifth generation only petrol 2.5 liters powered (for some more than 6 years already), neither electric nor hybrid. Ground clearance just 20 cm. I have owned and driven both Outback and Forester starting with 2001 MY and there indeed a dilemma now which one to marry since it should be one to use for 10 years ahead. It seems the US-like 6th generation Outback is not coming to Europe and it has just been announced that Subaru/ Toyota are launching a Forester size full electric yet the 1st half this year (2021).
    And regarding the floor-liners you applied, do they also help keeping rust-off metallic driver seat mount? This area under the Forester seat rails is notoriously corroded in 2-3 years due to chemical reagents (salt). And Subaru has not changed any thing in this regard. Vs Outback where this area is well covered.
    Thank you and enjoy your lovely E-Boxer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and Happy New Year to you too! I did not consider Outback as I prefer more upright seating position and then Forester is bit shorter car, which makes bit more nimble. I will take few photos of the floor liners and let you know once visible. Have you test driven already e-Boxer Forester? Did you like it?

      Like

  2. Thank you for sharing your view on Forester vs Outback. Yes, I have made a test-drive on the Forester E-Boxer. Since I used to experience only Outback for last 7 years, I’m a sort of being inclined to compare every car with the Outback. So, my main observations, very briefly : the Forester is smoothly and well riding in city area, though EV-driving is rather unpredictable, it should be quite green in a very slow traffic, you won’t notice Stop-Go switch; you will always be on petrol engine if in rush between traffic lights; probably one should learn more and get feeling of using the hybrid. Outside the city area, it seems you may need more power to overtake slow-movers and it might become an issue when the hybrid battery is low (less than a half). I didn’t have opportunity to challenge long and steep climbs (e.g., in hilly and mountainous). Of course, I could not notice a GPF (PPF) indicator (didn’t pay attention) during the test drive. However, that might be an issue and I follow your experience on the problem.
    Thus, the Outback looks more reliable on the petrol-only-engine and its power was enough for me in all circumstances. The Forester should be a little less petrol consuming and smoother-greener in low-traffic (e.g., in traffic jams).
    I’m staying tuned with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Though decision indeed! Follow your own feelings and needs. Outback and Forester have a lot same characteristics but they are also different. Outback takes probably more cargo and might be even a bit quieter. Forester has more rugged look, which was also important for me.

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