Friday, 11 December 2020 08:55

Forester gets a little spark

Written by  Mark Daniel
E-boxer, the revamped version of Subaru Forester. E-boxer, the revamped version of Subaru Forester.

Given that we already know already the Subaru Forester is a great SUV – after all it won the 2018 New Zealand Car of the Year Award – we were keen to get to grips with the latest e-Boxer Hybrid.

Best described as a mild hybrid, it mates a flat-four, 2-litre petrol engine making 110kW and 196Nm torque, with a 12.3kW/66Nm electric motor. Combined power and torque is slightly less than the conventional 2.5 litre petrol that produces 136kW/239Nm. The key difference claimed by the manufacturer is, of course, lower emissions and a drop in fuel consumption of up to 19%.

Like the petrol-only Forester, the Premium spec hybrid has the same DNA, including CVT transmission and Symmetrical All Wheel Drive, meaning Subaru diehards can stop feeling faint and read on. Add in the excellent Eyesight package that delivers the likes of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, lane keep assist and pre-collision braking and the Forester is right up there with the latest tech.  It also has a clever driver monitoring package that uses internal cameras to “watch” the driver for signs of drowsiness and distraction, while also using facial recognition for automated seat, preferred displays and rear-view mirror settings.

So how does it look, accommodate and drive? Certainly, first impressions are positive, with a proper grown up boxy SUV look, with chrome accents around the headlights, front grille, lower valance and under the door sills.

Wide opening doors offer easy access to plush leather upholstered seats that are yielding, yet supportive, with plenty of adjustment for drivers of all sizes. In the centre of the cabin, a 6.3-inch centre display covers all key operational aspects such as cameras (reverse, side view and front facing) navigation and the vehicle’s eco credentials.

Where the car really comes into its own is handling and grip, offering faultless road holding on the black stuff and unlimited grip on loose or slippery terrain. Having taken the vehicle throughout the Waikato on surfaces ranging from loose gravel to farm tracks and even muddy paddocks, we never felt as if we would have to divert from the plotted course and it never felt like getting stuck. This Forester also benefits from Dual X-mode that allows separate additional settings for snow/dirt or deep snow/mud.

Given the Forester offers plenty of space for occupants and cargo, while delivering industry leading smarts and great capability, it looks like Subaru has followed the mantra, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. So the only real question to ask is whether the hybrid is worth the $5,000 for a little electric shove. If you want to feel good, while reducing emissions and saving around a fifth on fuel, or if you spend time in urban traffic, go for it. If that doesn’t light your fuse, stick with the 2.5 litre petrol.

More like this

New-look 'Step-Thru'

Remarkably there are still many of the venerable Honda step-throughs operating on rural properties throughout New Zealand.

New car regs punish farmers

Farmers are again the hapless targets of new government regulations - this time to reduce the country's car fleet carbon emissions.

A price saving proposition

A bit like Vegemite, the first impression raised when you encounter a Mahindra Pik Up is love or hate – with one motoring journalist saying it had looks “only a mother could love.”

Warlock offers a touch of magic

Having previously reviewed the RAM 1500 in 2020, we recently took the chance to get behind the wheel of the latest addition to the series - the RAM 1500 Warlock.

National

a2 Milk seals Mataura deal

The a2 Milk Company (a2Mc) has been given the regulatory approval to buy 75% of Mataura Valley Milk, Southland.

Machinery & Products

Giving calves the best

Waikato farmer Ed Grayling milks 430 cows on mostly peat soil that is low on trace elements.

Feed system helping grow top heifers

Feeding livestock can bring with it several challenges including labour shortages, wasted feed, higher prices for smaller quantities, intake monitoring…

Hard hat or hard head

A recently released coroner's report into the death of a South Canterbury farmworker in 2019 raised the question of the…

Made in NZ: Trimax

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in New Zealand, creating productive…

Vendro badged tedders

Masterton based Tulloch Farm Machines has introduced a new series of Krone tedders badged Vendro, to replace the existing KW…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Microbe power

OPINION: Microbes fished from the stomachs of cows can gobble up certain kinds of plastic, including the polythylene terephthalate (PET)…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter