New Subaru Forester e-BOXER, Review of the Japanese Hybrid 4X4 SUV
The legendary Subaru Forester e-Boxer that gains Mild-Hybrid technology for this 2020 Forester e-Boxer is updated, a new platform, 70% more rigid, a lot of active safety thanks to the standard EyeSight package and an ability to overcome obstacles in an off-road mode that would make any other off-road SUV pale.
A small look to the future for Subaru, which presents the 2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer, powered by the traditional 2.0- cylinder 4-cylinder thermal engine (abbreviation FB20) combined with a small electric unit of 16 HP and 65 Nm, without upsetting what always appears to be a reliable mechanics, solid and able to get us out of any mess when we leave the asphalt.
New the SGB platform, which has a frame rigidity of 70%, more sophisticated and capable of ensuring greater driving feeling. More technology on board with the EyeSight active safety package, standard since the entrance layout, without however reaching a level 2 autonomous guide, but in any case, well structured.
The price lists of the 2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer start at a price of $39771 for the Free version, already rich as standard with many interesting options and accessories, going up to the Premium, from $48173, with everything included, without missing anything.
2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer Redesign & Dimensions
A small sprinkling of aesthetic innovations for her, which renews the design of the fourth series, keeping the typical shape with two raised volumes, almost multispace, that has accompanied her since 1997. The length increases by about 1.5 cm, while in width it gains a good 2 cm, now presenting a length of 4.625 meters and a width of 1.815m.
New chrome finishes on the front, around the LED fog lights, for greater elegance, the same technology used for the high and low beam headlights, which we appreciated for the great lighting in low light conditions. Two silver bulkheads also appear in the lower part of the bodywork, in a pure off-road style both in the front and in the rear, while the low profile of the car is all surrounded by plastic bumpers, very useful when leaving the city asphalt. Also new is the design of the 18 ”alloy wheels as well as the rear lights, Led and C-shaped, which give the car a somewhat elaborate but particular look.
2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer Interior
Small but substantial improvements also inside, where two displays appear on the console. The upper one is dedicated to the hybrid system and other useful information, so as to always keep the mechanics under control, while the lower 8 ” is intended for Starlink infotainment, quite modern and practical in everyday use, with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, and all the appropriate technologies. The navigation system with slightly outdated graphics and not easy to use is not exactly intuitive and fluid.
The interior is well finished, it shows solidity, with leather on the door panel and soft plastics almost everywhere, well done. There is a lot of space, thanks to3 cm more step gained with the new SGP platform. The leather seats are comfortable, for all 5 passengers, with plenty of space for legs and head. Behind we find the air vents, USB sockets and also heated seats, 3 accessories not discounted even on this segment of cars.
The trunk gains 4 liters, rising to 509, up to a maximum of almost 1800 liters by folding the rear seats according to a 60:40 scheme. New the electro-actuated rear hatch, which turns out to be faster in opening and closing by 4/5 seconds, also gaining the keyless function: by pressing the dedicated button, the tailgate will close, also locking the vehicle doors once the maneuver is completed.
On The Road
Despite having a not quite featherweight of 1650 kg in running order and a considerable tonnage, the new SGP platform manages to make the 2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer quite agile and composed on the road. The suspensions digest any hole you may encounter, even off-road, and support well from the side-lying down, much more than you could have expected. The steering is full-bodied, even if a little light in some circumstances, becoming a little untruthful during the motorway speeds.
Good comfort onboard, traveling soft and relaxed, pampered by the comfortable leather seats of the Premium set-up, top of the range. The external acoustic insulation is well done, the aerodynamic rustles remain mild up to about 120 km / h, beyond which the typically vertical windscreen begins to make them more pronounced in the passenger compartment.
Engine Specs – Mild-Hybrid Performance
The hybrid system of the Subaru Forester e-Boxer is mild, being precisely a Mild-Hybrid, therefore not as incisive as a Full-Hybrid or a PHEV, and the 2.0 Boxer 4-cylinder thermal engine still reigns supreme. It has been revised for 80% of the components to adapt to a hybrid system of this type, and delivers a maximum power of 150 HP between 5500 rpm and 6000 rpm, resulting a bit lazy in speed changes when you are already on the move. The small battery is crammed under the rear trunk, to which it does not steal space, and powers a small permanent magnet synchronous three-phase electric motor, inserted inside the mechanics of the 7-speed CVT automatic transmission.
The autonomy in EV mode is low, about 1.5 km declared by Subaru, which can however also approach the 2 km with gentle and lightfoot, up to a maximum of 40 km/h, beyond which the thrust of the thermal engine. The engagement of the latter is, unfortunately, a little rough, with a pronounced vibration of the body and consequent acoustic noise, which slightly clashes with the tranquility of the EV mode.
The maneuvers are almost entirely managed electrically, which also helps us in stationary shots, uphill starts, and off-road driving, where its 65 Nm gives us that extra flicker that sometimes could be fundamental. The whole hybrid system shows a weight of about 110 kg on the scale, including the necessary cables and harnesses, arranged evenly on the car, which however marks a fairly low center of gravity, considering the overall height, thanks above all to the arrangement of the engine Boxer.
During the short time together with the Subaru Forester e-Boxer, we had the opportunity to test its off-road skills on mud, white roads and paths with cobblestones and stones of various sizes, overcoming any obstacle with marked fluency. The two modes dedicated to off-road, DIRT-SNOW and DEEP SNOW-MUD selectable by the X-MODE handle to change the distribution of the torque and the intervention of the electronics to ensure a more or less aggressive behavior of the car.
The permanent Subaru Symmetrical AWD system (Subaru patent) of the Forester e-Boxer has proved perfectly up to the brand and history of the car, without ever giving the impression of going into crisis, even with more than half a wheel immersed between pools of water, rocks, and mud.
The system designed and patented by Subaru, distributes the torque optimally on all 4 wheels, through a front differential and a rear differential, with a central multi-plate clutch that postpones up to 40% traction on the rear wheels.
2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer Fuel Economy & Pricing
Subaru declares an 11% reduction in consumption compared to the previous model, without the Mild-Hybrid system, presenting a fuel consumption of about 8 liters / 100 km in the WLTP cycle, close enough to the 11 km per liter that we found in a few km together with the car. Obviously the size to be moved is considerable, as is its mass, but all in all the values are consistent with what the house of the Pleiades declares.
The price list of the 2020 Forester e-Boxer starts from a minimum of $39771, for the FREE layout, decidedly already rich and well equipped, also including the EyeSight passive safety system. The range is divided into two other versions, STYLE from € 38,500 and finally Premium, from €$48173 with all included, for those who don’t want to miss anything.
Image Source: Subaru.eu