Does it make sense to test drive a car when it needs updating? That’s what happened to us with the Subaru Forester Hybrid we bring to you today. The current generation was launched in 2020 and a few weeks ago the update was announced, the Forester 2022.
It is a large SUV with a clear family orientation. We tested it thoroughly and even made a video at the time so you could see our first impression.
We made that video right after strict confinement. We covered a few hundred kilometers, but we were unable to leave the Community of Madrid due to a legal obligation. Hence, just before we knew there was an update coming, we decided to take it on a long journey.
were completely 1,336 km the routes† With four people on board (five at one point) and the trunk filled to the brim, in the middle of winter. The aim is to check whether the cost of its hybrid engine is much higher than that of other hybrid SUVs when traveling.
Does subaru have hybrid?
Subaru Forester Hybrid Features
The truth is that apart from the color there are few differences from the unit we tested two years ago, so we are not going to expand too much. The Subaru Forester Hybrid is an SUV from 4625mm in length with a fairly conservative view.
Because of its height (1,730 mm) and width (1,815) it does not look too big. The large glass area stands out, as do the standard 17-inch wheels or the good ground clearance of 220 mm. Overall, it provides the right off-road dimensions: angle of attack (20°), ventral (21°) and departure (26°).
The cab stands out for its spaciousness and good access, with generous doors that also open wide. The quality of the finish is above average. No frills, but all very well put together. Even if you drive on stone paths, you will not notice any creaks.
In the center of the dashboard is the infotainment system screen, 8 inches, with an elongated top one (a very branding detail) where you see data from the hybrid, traction system… Some superfluous with the color screen between the instrument panel clocks, but the it’s not that hard to find what you’re looking for
Behind, a good space for two and even three adults, as the width is quite good. If you take two children in their child seats, you will be quite restricted at shoulder height, rather than by the car itself, as child restraint systems usually have.
Those seats do have a few USB connections and outputs from the aerators. In addition, the backrest reclines, although not too much.
The Subarus always have some cargo areas that are slightly lower than their rivals. The reason is obvious, as it is a permanent four-wheel drive vehicle, under the floor is the drive shaft to the rear wheels, subtracting this depth. Despite everything, his 509 liter capacity with five chairs in use they are bad.
Okay, maybe it’s not deep like others and under the floor we hardly find a not too big hole. And it is that next to the gears, in the space closest to the seats, there is the battery of the hybrid system, which tries to center the weights of the car.
It also has some details such as hooks to hang bags, rings to fix the load, a 12 V socket on the left wall. And a reversible bottom, carpeted on one side and solid on the other, perfect for transporting wet gear.
The loading opening is very wide, making it easy to load large items. For the longest, you can lower the rear seat backs, using levers on the sides of the car or from inside the car. This way you get a completely flat loading space of 1,779 liters capacity.
Equipment and price:
The Subaru Forester Hybrid is sold with three trim levels: Sports Plus Access has many elements such as LED headlights, 17-inch wheels, headlights with LED technology, dual-zone climate control, electric parking brake, heated seats with electrical and heated adjustments or the multimedia system which includes an 8-inch screen .
Above we find the Executive and Executive Plus finishes, with more details such as keyless access or the rain sensor. It complements the Eyesight system’s multiple driving aids with a driver monitoring system or the right rear-view mirror camera that assists with maneuvers or driving off the tarmac. The most complete adds a sunroof or leather trim.
It is, as usual in the brand, very closed trim levels. There are hardly any options, you can hardly choose the color of the car when configuring. Of course, there are quite a few accessories in the catalog after market†
The price without discounts starts from €32,950, a rate that increases by less than 3,000 euros if you want the Executive finish. Right now, at the end of its commercial life, it’s easier to find deals for the Subaru Forester Hybrid in our new car section. Also pay attention to the options for financing the car in order to pay it more comfortably every month.
This Forester (and the one that will follow it in a few months) is sold with a single mechanical configuration. It is a four-cylinder boxer engine with direct injection, a naturally aspirated 2.0 with 150 hp (110 kW) between 5,600 and 6,000 rpm, and a few 194Nm at 4,000 turns.
It is associated with the continuously variable Lineartronic automatic transmission, which delivers permanent power to all four wheels as usual. And it is precisely in this change where a 17 hp electric motor (12.3 kW) maximum power and 66 Nm of torque.
This solution is widely used in hybrid cars… But in the case of the Forester, the battery capacity is very low, barely 0.6 kWh, which operates on 118 V. Therefore, it approves a consumption that seems high for a hybrid (8.1 l/100 km), without the performance being very high, because to reach 100 km/h from standstill, 11 ,8 seconds. The top speed is decent, 188 km/h, but that doesn’t seem so relevant to us.
We have long since stopped associating Subaru with the rally world. Decades ago, they were cars that cornered like no other, like that WRX STI I drove. The Forester is a far cry from that: it’s a tall, comfortable set-up that’s great for touring, but not best suited for slow cornering on the road.
The comparison is not fair at all. Because then the all-wheel drive of the Forester helps to take corners safely. Also the good weight distribution and the fact that the boxer engine is in a lower position than a conventional one ensures that it almost never loses grip when entering and exiting corners… there is little to complain about.
However, the engine and transmission assembly does not encourage running either. The control unit “tells” the engine to gradually deliver its power, hence its modest acceleration figures and not to come out of corners in a devilish way.
With the SI-Drive system you can vary that engine program. The Intelligent is the most conservative and the Sport has the most tuned car, where it moves the best. There are notable changes between one and the other, but even before that you don’t have a car with an instant response to the accelerator pedal… because of the change.
That also affects the sound. Although a lot of work has gone into soundproofing the engine compartment, when you fully depress the accelerator pedal, the sound of the engine fills the cab until the variator finds the right spot.
Result of all this? Well, you end up looking for a more progressive driving style, without abruptness. And there, eye, the Subaru Forester Hybrid is a very comfortable vehicle. You appreciate the wide glass surface, for the sense of space and relief it offers and there the change itself appears to be smooth.
The hybridization…we found it scarce, especially given the car’s quiet philosophy. And it is that the electric motor sometimes hardly moves the car, at very low speed or when the orography is very (but very) favorable. That battery punishes you considerably, which screams for more capacity.
A larger battery would reduce consumption. After those more than 1,300 km, the on-board computer noticed 8.6l/100km, half a liter more than approved. It penalizes you for moving so little in electric mode.
On the highway and especially in the city, where the technology of, for example, Toyota ensures very low consumption. Also permanent four-wheel drive. In my previous test I managed to lower the approved consumption, with less highway, but if you make long trips, the consumption will go more towards this figure.
I am one of those who think that slightly more consumption is irrelevant if the car will soon offer more safety. Even if the car can give you an extra. In this case can circulate with roads with more solvency. Bridgestone’s summer tires on the test unit weren’t the most suitable, but you can move through muddy areas with great peace of mind, once you start to slide the system can direct all the torque to one axle for a better response. The X-Mode system adapts to different surfaces and you also have a descent control for when the going gets tough.
A hybrid is imagined as the ideal car to reduce consumption… and costs. The Subaru Forester Hybrid lags behind its competitors by using a system that pays little attention to the electrical part. That Yes, when traveling you don’t have to worry about charges, just to fill your 48 liter petrol tank (the battery is forced to reduce it).
However, we cannot speak of an insane consumption, only a higher expenditure, especially because of the peculiarity of the brand itself, which has not wanted to give up the symmetrical and permanent four-wheel drive, which offers other advantages.
What really makes the Forester stand out is its great value for money. You get a better package than the more expensive Toyota RAV i-AWD. The Toyota, yes, spends less. Another alternative would be the hybrid Hyundai Tucson, which is also offered with four-wheel drive (see test) and whose consumption is also lower, but for which you also have to pay more.