Subaru Forester E-Boxer hybrid specs and prices

Subaru has revitalised its Forester and now offers its most popular SUV in mild-hybrid 'E-Boxer' form. Read on for the full low-down

James Wilson
Jan 30, 2020

Subaru has introduced a new mild-hybrid version of its Forester SUV. The new Forester is currently available in E-Boxer guise only with “E” signifying it’s a mild hybrid - this means it has a small electric motor that can provide a boost to the petrol engine to reduce fuel consumption, but isn't powerful enough to power the car independently, as with a standard hybrid.

Prices start at £33,995 with the first Forester E-Boxer models already on UK roads. Mild hybrid cars are likely to increase in popularity, as they offer some of the fuel economy benefits of hybrid models while being cheaper for drivers to purchase and less complicated for manufacturers to create than ordinary hybrids.

Subaru has long produced vehicles that offer 'go-anywhere' ability, with four-wheel drive for greater grip on slippery roads. All of its current models come with four-wheel-drive, 'boxer' engines - which should provide greater agility around corners (keep reading for more on this) - and solid build quality which makes the company's cars particularly long-lasting.

Curious as to what the new Subaru Forester E-Boxer has to offer? Keep reading for full specifications, prices and performance figures.

Quick facts

  • Prices from £33,995
  • Mild-hybrid petrol-electric 'powertrain'
  • Claimed economy of 34.7mpg
  • Claimed CO2 emissions of 154gkm
  • Automatic gearbox only
  • Maximum towing capacity of 1,870kg

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer specs

When it comes to trim levels you can choose from XE and XE Premium – no endless lists of mildly different specifications here. XE kicks off the range and comes as standard with LED headlights (which feature automatic high-beam assist), an electronic handbrake, electric front seats, an eight-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and keyless entry.

For those trying to keep up with the Joneses, range-topping XE Premium builds on the above by adding leather seats (which are heated for passengers in both rows of seats), heated steering wheel, sat-nav, an electric tailgate and sunroof.

Furthermore, both XE and XE Premium models are fitted with a wide range of safety technology as standard. This includes Subaru’s EyeSight system, automatic reverse braking and a facial recognition driver monitoring system – the latter being included for the first time on any Subaru. What each of these pieces of equipment do is detailed further in the technology section further down.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer prices

In the UK, Subaru Forester E-Boxer XE variants come in at £33,995, while XE Premium models cost £36,995. This means that they aren't the cheapers SUVs of this size, but you do get four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox across all models - something you often have to pay extra for with other models.

As these models went on sale at the very end of 2019 they're already available on the market, so deliveries should be quick and used models should start to appear shortly.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer performance

Each and every Forester E-Boxer gets the same engine and automatic gearbox - referred to as 'Lineartronic' - paired to an electric motor. The engine is a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre petrol boxer unit, which in itself is something of a rarity as few other manufacturers use these in mainstream cars.

The benefit of boxer engines is that rather than standing upright like most petrol and diesel engines, they lay flat under the bonnet. There are a number of positives to a boxer configuration, however, one of the standout benefits is that it lowers a car’s centre of gravity which can lead to better handling around corners, as the car rolls less.

Meanwhile, Subaru uses a symmetrical four-wheel-drive system spreading the weight of the car more evenly, which again helps to improve roadholding and improve safety when driving, according to the company.

Combined power output for the hybrid system is 148hp. This translates to a 0-62mph time of 11.8 seconds and a top speed of 117mph - this means that the Forester accelerates in a leisurely way compared with many more muscular alternatives.

As for emissions, under the latest - more accurate - fuel economy test the Forester E-Boxer claims an official economy figure of 34.7mpg. Subaru is yet to confirm a carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions figure from the latest test, but has instead provided a figure of 154g/km calculated under the older - less accurate - test procedure. Either way, this is not a hybrid you should choose for economy as the four-wheel drive and off-roader format contribute to underwhelming economy figures.

If you want to find out more about the differences in new and old economy tests, read about WLTP and NEDC economy tests here. In short, the latest set of figures should be easier to achieve on real roads compared with the old ones.

Alongside E-Boxer models, Subaru has developed a 2.5-litre petrol non-hybrid version of the Forester, but it has not been confirmed if and when this will arrive in the UK.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer range

Mild-hybrids are so named because they provide only modest electrical assistance to a petrol or diesel engine. As such, they rarely come with an electric range figure, but the Forester E-Boxer is (slightly) ahead of the game with an all-electric range of one mile. There is one caveat though, the Subaru Forester E-Boxer can only drive under battery power alone up to speeds of 25mph.

On top of this, the Forester E-Boxer is classed as a self-charging hybrid, which means it cannot be plugged in and therefore has no charging time. Click to read about how self-charging hybrids work here.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer rivals

What you're looking for in a car affects which models are classed as genuine rivals for the Subaru Forester. If you're drawn to the Forester for its off-road abilities, few mainstream SUVs this side of a Land Rover come close to the Subaru. On the flip side, if you're after a well-built practical SUV then there are a number of competent alternatives from the likes of Skoda, Ford and Mazda.

Taking a closer look at rivals with off-road credentials, the Land Rover Discovery Sport represents a clear and present danger to Forester sales. Prices are similar (excluding range-topping HSE spec) and thanks to a recent overhaul, the Discovery Sport is bang up to date inside and out. Perhaps the biggest trump card the Land Rover has is the fact that some versions can seat seven - two more than the Subaru.

On the flip side, Land Rover doesn’t have the greatest reputation for reliability (although ownership surveys have suggested this has improved over recent years) whereas Subaru is known for creating tough, reliable cars, making the Forester a much safer bet if you want a trouble-free new or used car.

Other off-road-ready rival SUVs include four-wheel-drive versions of the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Kodiaq and Mazda CX-5 although none are as able off-road as either the Subaru or Land Rover. If you don’t want to be riding high in an SUV, there are a number of four-wheel-drive estates available, too. These include the Volvo V60 Cross Country and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

When considering rivals for those after a practical/well-built motor car but not necessarily one that can go off-road, the number of options rises exponentially. Upmarket models such as the Audi Q3, BMW X2 and DS 7 Crossback are all available for similar money. Meanwhile, more affordable models from Kia, Hyundai, Citroen, Peugeot and Honda are all also on the table.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer technology

All Subaru Forester E-Boxer models come with a wide range of safety equipment as standard. First up is Subaru’s EyeSight system, which uses two cameras located near the rearview mirror to monitor up to 110 metres of the road ahead. The information gathered can then be fed into systems such as adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane keep assist, which can keep you in your lane and maintain a safe distance behind the car in front.

Then there is Subaru’s new driver monitoring system which uses facial recognition (via a camera in the dashboard) to ensure the driver is paying attention to the road. If it thinks you're not focusing on getting from A to B safely it will trigger a warning sound and if the software thinks this warning is being ignored, it will mute any audio being played through the Forester’s sound system so the warning takes centre stage.

On a less safety-critical note, the same facial recognition software is claimed to be able to recognise up to five drivers and hence be able to remember the preferred seating position, cabin temperature and the content displayed in front of the driver for each individual.

Rounding off the standout safety equipment is rear vehicle detection. This brings together blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert to help minimise the chances of an accident caused by a driver not being able to see an approaching car.

Away from safety equipment, Subaru has upgraded its X-Mode off-road system to include settings for driving in snow/dirt and deep snow/mud. X-Mode is a feature that gives a Forester much more control over its engine, transmission and brakes to help prevent you getting stuck when driving up, over or down tough terrain.

No modern hybrid is without a range of electric car driving modes and the Subaru Forester E-Boxer is no different. In total there are three modes: EV Driving, Motor Assist and Engine Driving. The first allows a Forester E-Boxer to drive under battery power alone (up to speeds of 25mph and provided there's enough battery charge), the second means the electric motor and engine work together, while the last means only the petrol engine is being used to power the wheels.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer interior

Inside, Subaru has thoroughly overhauled its Forester making large updates over the previous-generation model. While the new eight-inch touchscreen media system (one inch larger than the one used in the old model) is a major aspect of this, it is the simplification of buttons and dials around the centre console which mark the biggest immediate improvement.

Elsewhere the rest of the cabin has also been updated, with new trim design here and new material choice there – all with the aim of giving the Forester a more modern cabin.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer exterior

To the untrained eye, the new Subaru Forester will look mighty similar to the model it is replacing. Look a little harder though and changes become more obvious, especially at the rear.

Overall the design has become sharper and more angular. The front and rear headlights complement the sharp body lines, while the plastic cladding dotted around the body helps reiterate that this Subaru packs some off-road punch.

2019 Subaru Forester E-Boxer boot space

Take a tape measure to the new Subaru Forester E-Boxer and it will come in at 4,625mm long, 1,815mm wide (2,065mm including wing mirrors) and 1,730mm high – the latter including 220mm of ground clearance.

These dimensions mean boot space with the seats up comes in at 520 litres and 1,779 litres with the seats folded down. For those looking to tow, the Subaru Forester E-Boxer has a maximum towing capacity of 1,870kg.


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