Sunday 18 August 2019

Double boost: Subaru adds 'mild' hybrid to Forester, XV

Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester interior
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

They are not due here until the autumn but I was lucky enough to get driving in, and details of, two on-tour 'electrified' Subarus in Dublin recently.

They are special in that the new Forester and the smaller XV Crossover will have mild-hybrid technology - as part of the company's move to electric.

Both e-Boxer models, with their horizontally opposed powertrains, have a 2-litre (150) petrol engine and are boosted by the motor-assist technology.

Mild-hybrid technology boosts the engine when needed and can deputise for it over short spells.

Both cars have all-wheel-drive (AWD) as standard.

The Forester e-Boxer is new, the XV is not - apart from becoming a mild hybrid model. The Forester has a new platform and better driving dynamics. The level of technology is high: facial recognition, new X-Mode and reverse automatic braking.

Both are due for sale in November. The Forester kicks off from €44,495 for SE models. Prices for the XV e-Boxer start from €38,945.

The system uses a Lineartronic transmission that integrates an electric motor, powered by lithium ion battery, DC/DC converter and electric motor inverter.

The Forester felt comfortable and spacious if a little slow to respond (but the stepped CVT transmission didn't generate much 'boom') on my brief drive.

There are three driving modes: Engine, EV and Motor Assist. And there is also SI-Drive which lets you choose between 'Intelligent' and 'Sport' modes.

The 2-litre 150bhp horizontally opposed 4cyl has 80pc new components and is up to 11pc more efficient. From starting off, or at low speeds, the electric motor alone can power the car for around 1.6km. Above that, engine and motor combine and at high speed the engine takes over completely while charging the battery as well.

Safety technologies (standard) include EyeSight Driver Assist and Driver Monitoring System. The latter alerts you of fatigue or distraction. It also automatically adjusts driver settings for seat position, door mirror angles, and air-con preferences. Smart.

An important element too is the Reverse Automatic Braking function which helps avoid collisions.

Overall Forester width is up 20mm, the wheelbase is stretched 30mm, and there is 220mm of ground clearance for off-tarmac driving. It has a towing capacity of 1,870kgs.

There is also an SE Premium version (€48,195, 18ins alloys, sunroof, leather seats, sat nav, electric tailgate, heated rear seats).

The XV e-Boxer has the same 2-litre petrol engine and 'hybrid' set-up and many of the safety/comfort elements outlined.

The €38,495 SE model has 17ins alloys, electric/heated driver's seat, dual zone air-con, etc.

For €41,495, SE Premium adds sunroof, sat nav, etc.

I enjoyed my drive in the XV mainly because it is a lighter car and was livelier in response.

Roomy and well priced considering it has AWD and automatic (CVT) transmission, we should be hearing a lot more about it.

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