Subaru has been on a roll recently with the XV growing in popularity and seems like they’ve got more to offer. No no, not a STI variant but rather something with more spark. Take a deep breath and welcome the all new 2019 Subaru Forester e-Boxer.
As the name suggests, the SUV segment contender is packing a hybrid electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery pack tucked away discretely in the boot space. The intelligent SI Drive Modes readily available in other Subaru models, allows the user to shuffle through different settings but in the e-Boxer, drivers will not be able to force the system into going full petrol or full electric.
That choice is left up to the system to intelligently decide. Generally, the petrol engine doesn’t kick in until demanded by the driver based on his/her right foot. Low speeds invite the system to shut down the petrol engine and run on electric juice alone.
Electric drive range is claimed at 50km which in all fairness is a huge amount of city driving where you need it most for popping out for lunch or queuing in an after school traffic jam. With both petrol and electric motor combined, a grand total of 18.5km/litre is achievable according to the stats.
Let’s talk more about the power train shall we. The fire breather under the hood is the similar 2 litre boxer engine found across the Subaru range. It’s adequate by itself with 145PS/188Nm but in the e-Boxer, it has company. The AC Synchronous electric system provides 13.6PS and an impressive 65Nm of torque, bringing the grand total to an electrifying 159PS and 253Nm. On the move, it proves to be sufficient and responsive.
In charge of sending power to the wheels is a CVT transmission hooked up to Subaru’s almighty Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system. Needless to say, handling is smooth as silk. Road feedback is transmitted flawlessly to the driver excluding the jarring roads of our country.
Gadgetry department has a lot to boast on this new model. The 2019 Forester comes with a very KITT-esque DriverFocus software which uses facial recognition to identify the driver. Yes, you read that right, facial recognition. Identifying a pre-programmed driver allows systems such as radio station, air conditioning settings and seat positions to be customised to each individual.
It also uses various sensors to detect driver fatigue, almost like a butler. Driver assists include EyeSight which uses cameras placed all around the car feeding data to systems like the adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking.
We can tell that Subaru is pleased and confident with the e-Boxer because the regional preview was joined by two rival vehicles. These vehicles were driven back to back to provide a substantial comparison point and my oh my does the Forester edge ahead. The possibility of us Malaysians getting our hands on the e-Boxer is unknown for now, but the petrol only Forester will make its debut sometime early this year.