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2022 Subaru Forester e-Boxer Hybrid Review: Better Sight

Lionel Kong
14/09/2022
2022 Subaru Forester hybrid in Singapore

The fifth-gen Subaru Forester is updated with better tech, but is it more of the same? 


2022 Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid 2.0i-S

Launched: August 2022, Price S$172,800 with COE (September 2022)
Five-door, mid-sized SUV, five seats
150hp, 2.0-litre mild hybrid, VES B, 6.9L/100km


PROS

Good all-round visibility

Confident driving dynamics

CONS

Small screen on car data interface

Not quick by current standards



SINGAPORE

A collection of factors over the last decade has meant that Subaru has not been on the top-sellers list in Singapore for quite some time, but that’s not saying that its cars are not capable products. The updated Forester here is really another good example of how the brand is still capable of making cars that punch above its weight, and pricetag.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid in Singapore

It’s a midlife refresh of the fifth-generation Forester that was unleashed upon the world in 2018, and in the tradition of all facelifts, the new car gets redesigned head and taillights, restyled bumpers, plus, this time, some real technology updates.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid in Singapore

The big new thing that Subaru is shouting about is its improved EyeSight stereo camera system, used by the car to control major active safety features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid steering wheel in Singapore

Rather than use an arsenal of radars and infra-red sensors like on continental luxury cars, Subaru’s safety arsenal is powered by actual cameras mounted at the top of the windscreen, just in front of the rear view mirror. The little Suzuki Ignis uses a similar camera-based system as well. In the Forester, the two cameras are now better integrated into the cabin architecture and fit flush against the windscreen from inside the car.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid screen in Singapore

One thing that we alway have a go with in every new car equipped with such is to have a go with the adaptive cruise control system. In the Forester, the cameras can read the lane markings and well as the distance to the car in front, and cruise intelligently without running up the rear end of the car in front. It’s smooth and very usable on expressways but we wouldn’t recommend using it in city traffic because we discovered that whenever lane markings break up at traffic junctions the car gets very confused.



2022 Subaru Forester hybrid in Singapore

The car actually automatically brakes in anticipation of running out of road when lane markings disappear, which isn’t a very appropriate response when you’re driving straight through a yellow box junction. When the lane markings are clear however, the system works perfectly. 

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid boxer engine in Singapore

Subaru classes the Forester with its 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor package as a mild hybrid, but this isn’t like any other mild hybrid we’ve driven. That’s because instead of the usual 48-volt, or 12-volt integrated starter generators of most other mild hybrids including the Audi A4 and Kia Stonic, the Subaru Forester uses a 118.4-volt electric drive system with a 13.5kWh battery.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid in Singapore

This means that it can actually function as an electric vehicle over short distances. We tested the car and found that it can cruise around carpark speeds of under 25km/h in EV mode, and a light on the dashboard tells you that the car is in full electric drive. The car will also automatically shut off the engine and run on electric power during smooth bouts of highway cruising. The result is an average fuel economy of around 8.5L/100km in mixed urban use. It’s quite far off the claimed 6.9L/100km, but when you stop to consider that the car features a proper four-wheel drive system, a 2.0-litre engine, genuine offroading ability, that’s really quite a respectable return.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid X-Mode in Singapore

Subaru’s X-Mode selector for choosing the appropriate offroad drive modes isn’t going to be much use on tarmac, but this is just the kind of car that you want to have if you’re the sort that wants a real SUV for some trail driving in Malaysia. With the correct tyres fitted, the Subaru Forester is more than up to the task.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid in Singapore

Road manners are good and refined on the whole, but the car isn’t actually very quick in a straight line. It is very steady and sure-footed with good dynamics however. The new car actually has a revised suspension setup for improved handling.



2022 Subaru Forester hybrid cabin in Singapore

There’s also little to complain about the spacious interior, except maybe for the tiny little data and entertainment display screen. Bootspace is expansive though, along with good rear seat head and shoulder room. 

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid boot in Singapore

The big question is, how does it stack up against similarly priced competitors like the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5, or even the Honda HR-V Hybrid? At time of writing they all float around the S$180k mark, but the Subaru Forester is still one of the rare family-sized SUVs on sale here that’s car-like and also with proper offroading capability. It’s really a matter of personal preference, within this bracket, but the Qashqai has the poshest urban vibe and Mazda CX-5 the better dynamics. The Honda HR-V Hybrid is a bit outclassed, with its lack of standard fit equipment despite the high pricetag.

2022 Subaru Forester hybrid boot in Singapore

A step down in the Subaru lineup too is the XV, which is kind of like a baby Subaru Forester and about S$30k cheaper. Well worth a look-in, if this class of car is what you are shopping for.


 Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid 2.0i-S

Drivetrain type Petrol-electric mild hybrid  
Engine 1,995cc, horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder
Engine Power150hp at 5600-6000rpm
Engine Torque194Nm at 4000rpm 
GearboxCVT 
Electric Motor16.7hp/66Nm 
BatteryLithium Ion, 13.5kWh
System Power / TorqueNot stated
0-100km/h11.8 seconds
Top Speed188km/h
Fuel Efficiency6.9 L/100km 
VES Band B / neutral
AgentMotorimage Singapore
PriceS$182,800 with COE and VES
Availability Now
Verdict Still a properly well-balanced drive, but local prices make it a tough proposition in a crowded market segment

Tags:

5 door 5 seats forester Forester e-boxer hybrid 2.0i-S mild hybrid Subaru SUV

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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