After introducing the new 2019 Subaru Forester in which we got to try out on track and dirt, in a regional unveiling towards the end of last year, Subaru has flown us down to Singapore to check out the new Forester e-Boxer – a mild hybrid version of the fifth-generation model.
The Forester e-Boxer gets the FB20 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine with 145 hp and 188 Nm of torque. Those with a keen eye will notice that the output is actually lower than the outgoing Subaru XV we reviewed recently but the e-Boxer gets a “top up” of 13 hp and 65 Nm of torque from the electric motor.
The battery is placed under the cargo floor with boot space now limited to just over 500 litres with the non-hybrid model offering 520-litres. Unlike certain hybrid models, the e-Boxer cannot run purely on electric power, at least not for a significant distance like other PHEVs, but merely serves to set the car off.
What’s really interesting about the e-Boxer is that it comes with a facial recognition feature that can identify/remember up to five different passenger’s facial profile. Like the memory function for your electronically-adjustable seats, once the system detects a specific driver, it will automatically adjust the steering and seats to its preset position, for example.
Even cooler, the system will also detect if your eyes are not focused on the road and will alert you with a message on the instrument cluster.
As for our local market, the new non-hybrid Forester is expected to make its debut in May this year with three possible variants, where the EyeSight driver assistance system will only be available a few months after its initial introduction. The EyeSight system however will only be limited to the top variants.
We’re also told that the Malaysian models will not be too different from the Taiwanese-spec Foresters – so the powered sunroof could be a possibility!
As for the Subaru XV, you’ll just need to be a little more patient as the EyeSight driver assistance system is expected to be available for the crossover, only in 2020.