Subaru is set to capitalise on the fast growing popularity of hybrid SUVs by introducing electrified variants of the Forester mid-size SUV and XV compact crossover in early 2020.
Dubbed the e-Boxer, Subaru’s new petrol-electric hybrid powertrain will find its way under the 2020 Forester and XV, along with a mild refresh to both models. The e-Boxer combines Subaru’s renown flat-four engines and symmetrical all-wheel drive system with an electric motor and battery pack.
While the 2.0-litre petrol engine’s 110kW and 188Nm is not particularly muscular, the electric motor’s 10kW and 65Nm should add considerable performance boost and sharpen throttle response. The motor is placed in the middle of the drivetrain, near the vehicle’s centre of gravity, while the battery and other hybrid components are arranged above the rear axle for better weight distribution.
Unlike plug-in hybrids, the e-Boxer is self-charged through regenerative braking and coasting, and thus does not need to be connected to a power outlet. Subaru claims it can improve fuel economy by around 10 per cent, despite adding 110kg of weight.
Like the regular Forester and XV models, the hybrid variants will drive through a CVT automatic, optimised for the hybrid powertrain.
When launched, the Forester hybrid will compete directly with the highly successful Toyota RAV4 hybrid, while the smaller XV hybrid will be a unique and the sole electrified offering in the compact SUV segment, discounting the full-electric Hyundai Kona Electric.
Full pricing and specification of the Subaru Forester hybrid and XV hybrid will be announced closer to launch next year.