Subaru’s Hybrid Powertrain Goes Mainstream

Subaru has moved its first hybrid powertrain into its volume-selling Forester off-road workhorse.

The system, debuted in the smaller Subaru XV e-Boxer urban crossover, now powers the brand’s second-best selling model behind the go-anywhere station wagon, the Subaru Outback. AS with its smaller sibling, the Forester e-Boxer employs a 2.0-liter direct injection horizontally opposed gasoline engine married to an electric motor.  A lithium-ion battery unit is mounted within the boot floor and claims pure-electric driving at speeds of up to 25mph.  Power-split adjusts according to the driving condition and alternates between three driving modes: EV, Motor Assist and Engine driving.

It will drive in EV mode for up to a mile, an interval experienced in many urban conditions with stop-and-go traffic where it claims a 10% improvement in fuel economy can be seen compared to the traditional gasoline only version. At medium speeds, the motor and the engine work together while at higher speeds the ICE will recharge the powertrain for later use.

In keeping with the principals of Subaru’s horizontally opposed four-cylinder gasoline engine to keep the center of gravity low, the electrified elements of the hybrid powertrains are aligned longitudinally with the heavy motor placed near the vehicle’s center of gravity.  The battery and other components are positioned above the rear axle to help a balanced weight distribution.

Its standard ADAS features the brand’s EyeSight driver assist technology, Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection, Reverse Automatic Braking, and Driver Monitoring System. At the same time infotainment includes an eight-inch multifunction color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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