You have to move with the times. Almost 20 years after Toyota’s launch of the Prius, the Subaru brand has finally launched its first hybrid — two of them in fact.

Hybrid versions of the best-selling Forester and XV models share the same petrol-electric power train — or e-Boxer in Subaru parlance.

It’s all part of a long-term strategy that Subaru says will produce a variety of next generation power plants and technologies in the coming years.

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Colin Christie, said Forester and XV are long-established sales successes.

“We know there is pent-up demand for hybrid variants among one of the most loyal customer bases in the industry,” he said.

“We’re already achieving significant fleet successes with our hybrid variants, in an area where our engineering, safety and whole-of-life costs make a compelling story.

“Now, with the formal launch into showrooms across Australia, we can see small but important opportunities to enter a growing space, in which Subaru will have an increasing presence in the not too distant future, with a variety of increasingly sophisticated and efficient hybrid – and later electric – vehicles.”

With their lower fuel consumption, more than 500 Forester and XV hybrids have not surprisingly already found homes with fleet customers.

The e-Boxer power train comprises a 2.0 litre horizontally opposed Boxer engine linked via Motor Assist to a high voltage lithium ion battery, offering fuel economy benefits, particularly in congested city driving.

The four cylinder 2.0 litre engine produces 110kW of power at 6000 rpm and 196Nm of torque at 4000 rpm and features the efficient intake/exhaust Active Valve Control System (AVCS).

The electric motor produces 12.3kW of power and 66Nm of torque, and is self-charging, via kinetic energy captured by regenerative braking and coasting.

Subaru claims XV Hybrid offers more than 14 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency over equivalent petrol variants in the urban cycle and more than 7 per cent in the combined cycle.

Forester offers improvement of more than 19 per cent in the urban cycle and more than 9 per cent in the combined cycle.

That’s compared to 2.5-litre petrol variants.

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The e-Boxer logic adjusts the power split between petrol and electric propulsion to match driving conditions.

It automatically changes between three modes:

  • Motor Assist EV driving
  • Motor Assist electric (EV) + petrol engine driving, and;
  • Petrol engine driving

From standstill or at low speed, the vehicle is powered by the electric motor only, for quiet, zero-emission driving.

Depending upon driving environment, vehicle and battery condition, it can operate in fully electric mode up to 40 km/h.

At medium speeds, combined power from both the electric and petrol engine produce responsive, linear and more fuel efficient acceleration.

At high speed, the Boxer petrol engine exclusively powers the vehicle, while regenerative braking or coasting with foot off the accelerator, recharges the lithium ion battery.

Under certain driving conditions above 40 km/h, when decelerating or coasting and the battery is charging, the petrol engine can turn off, achieving fuel saving.

As soon as the accelerator is pressed, the engine will re-start.

Subaru’s smooth and efficient Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is mated to the e-Boxer system for ultra-smooth power delivery and torque.

Motor Assist enhances X-Mode off-road capability, through better low speed torque control.

If the idea of a hybrid Sooby appeals, the Forester Hybrid AWD is priced from $39,990, while XV Hybrid AWD is priced from $35,580 — the latter with a new colour Lagoon Blue Pearl.

 

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It's a h-h-hybrid Super Roo!

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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