Subaru Forester e-BOXER Hybrid Electric Vehicle
If you’re looking for a mid-sized hybrid SUV then the Subaru Forester e-BOXER may be on your list. But how does this vehicle perform as a tow car and everyday family vehicle? Is hybrid technology a gimmick? In this blog I will answer that for you having spent a week driving it.
What do you need to know about the Subaru Forester?
The Subaru Forester e-BOXER is a 5 seater SUV from Japanese manufacturer Subaru. It comes with a 2.0 litre boxer petrol engine, which delivers 148PS. The lithium batteries drive the electric motor and provide 2PS, taking the total to 150PS. There are two specifications available, the XE Lineartronic and XE Premium Lineartronic. Both come with a 7 speed automation gearbox with manual paddles on the steering wheel.
The Subaru Forester E-BOXER Premium Lineartronic has a kerb weight of 1687kg. This gives it an 85% tow match of 1433kg and a 95% match of 1602kg. This model can tow up to 1870kg which will give you plenty of options when choosing a caravan. The gross vehicle mass of this model is 2185kg. You will be able to tow many caravan matches without the B+E entitlement.
As well as a reasonable tow capacity, the vehicle has a good sized boot and comes fitted with roof rails. This is useful if you’re going on a family holiday with an awning or pedal bikes.
The Forester e-BOXER does not need plugging in to charge as it is a HEV. The electric motor will drive the car at speeds under 25mph for a range of about a mile. You can drive you through villages, towns and city centres on the electric motor. The result is reducing your emissions in these populated areas. The electric will engage at speeds above 25mph or when the vehicle is coasting or going down hill. At other times it assists the petrol engine to reduce fuel consumption.
We averaged 34mpg in normal driving conditions and 44-50mpg on motorways.
How well equipped is the Subaru Forester?
The answer is quite simple, very. The high spec model we tested had plenty of technology, all standard in the price. Features include keyless entry with stop start ignition. There is an electric operated drivers seat and electric folding door mirrors. Standard too is leather upholstery, heated front seats and alloy wheels. The touchscreen SatNav and media centre is easy to use.
The Subaru benefited from blind spot warnings, a nearside front camera, a rear reversing camera and rear parking sensors. Safety comes first with award winning levels of equipment. This includes a lane departure warning, a collision avoidance system, a driver monitoring camera and adaptive cruise control.
The Subaru is a capable 4×4 vehicle, it offers full-time 4WD with Subaru X-Drive. In X-Drive mode the hill descent feature activates to assist on those steep inclines.
Extras on this model included the detachable 13 pin electric tow bar pack.
What is it like to drive?
The Subaru engine did lack power with 150PS. That is the only criticism of this vehicle, with a 0-62mph of 11.8 seconds. The ride was smooth and we noticed little roll in the corners and bends.
The Subaru was a comfortable ride and an enjoyable vehicle to drive, it cruised well on the motorways. On country lanes it felt very sure footed and in the heavy rain we were glad to have the 4WD system. The electric drive system took very little time to get use to and was quite novel for the first few days. We both enjoyed driving the Subaru and found all the controls within easy reach. We did agree that the engine needed more power.
The Subaru managed well in tight spaces, it was agile and the steering felt light but precise.
How did the Subaru tow?
Due to the lower kerb weight we could not tow our Isonzo so were kindly loaned an Adria Action for a few hours. The detachable swan neck tow ball was one we were familiar with. The reversing camera made things easier for hitching. The red sensor box on the camera did obscure the view a little. When towing the Subaru managed very well, there was no bounce or pulling from the caravan. The engines lack of power was noticeable on a steep gradient when towing. Around 1500kg would be a comfortable towing limit for this SUV.
We wanted to test the towing capability on the electric motor. We towed around a caravan site to test this feature in a safe setting. The electric motor cut in and was able to tow the caravan around the site at speeds of up to 10mph. We established that the hybrid Subaru can tow on the electric motor on flat ground. On an incline it switched back to petrol. What this does mean is lower emissions and fuel savings.
How much does the Subaru Forester e-BOXER cost?
The Subaru XE starts at £35,995 and the XE Premium is £38,995. The only extra to this top of the range model was the detachable tow bar.
What do we actually think?
We found the electric capability of the Subaru a pleasant surprise. Having used the vehicle for a week we can see how it does actually work as a hybrid. The Subaru is a genuine 4WD SUV and has plenty of safety equipment. If this was available with more power then it would be an absolute winner.