Subaru adds hybrid to Forester and XV ranges

Buyer take-up sees 700 units sold before launch.

Subaru has taken its first steps along the path of electrification of its model portfolio with the release of hybrid versions of the XV and Forester. 

Given these two SUV nameplates are the most popular in the company’s line-up, it was to quote their Senior Product Manager Goran Popov a “no brainer” to start the journey with hybrid versions of these models.

The new hybrids are off to a flying start too with pre-launch sales to fleet and private buyers already sitting close to 700 units, effectively sold out until around May this year. And initially at least, supply is likely to be constrained about 150-200 cars per month.

Sporting eBoxer badges, the new variants retain AWD and are what the company refers to as a ‘mild hybrid’ that uses the familiar 2.0-litre Boxer petrol engine along with a 12.3kW permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor integrated into the Lineartronic CVT transmission unit, plus a high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack. An eight-year warranty applies to the battery pack.

Placement of the battery pack under the rear floor helps keep the centre of gravity low and prevent loss of cargo space (both desirable), but means the spare wheel and tyre has been ditched (another ‘first’ for the brand) with only an inflator kit provided (not ideal in an off-road-able SUV).

Subaru Forester Hybrid S 5

The eBoxer logic adjusts power split between petrol and electric to suit driving conditions.


There’s straight motor-assist EV driving, electric plus petrol engine, and petrol engine only driving.

Regenerative braking, and coasting with foot off the throttle both enable charging for the traction battery pack.

Electric motor assist also enhances off-road ability in X-Mode through better low-speed torque control, according to Subaru.

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XV Hybrid offers a 7% improvement in combined cycle and more than 14% improvement in urban cycle fuel consumption tests. 

Forester improves by more than 19% on the urban cycle and more than 9% on the combined cycle compared with the normal 2.5-litre petrol models.

There’s a single hybrid model in XV with list price of $35,580, while Forester offers hybrid in two-spec levels – Hybrid L and Hybrid S – with prices of $39,990 and $45,990 respectively, about $3000 dearer than their petrol Forester equivalents.

Like their conventional counterparts, both XV and Forester carry five-star ANCAP safety ratings and are well-equipped with standard safety features and Eyesight driver assist technology.

Expect more electrified Subaru models in the future, including plug-in hybrids and full EVs.

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