Subaru Forester E-Boxer Review (Updated 2020)

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Known for their commitment to safety and comfort, Subaru is no stranger to the SUV market and this car continues that tradition.
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Introduction

The 5th generation Subaru Forester was first unveiled at the 2020 Singapore Motorshow in January, signalling the arrival of the SUV into Singapore. Known for their commitment to safety and comfort, Subaru is no stranger to the SUV market and this car continues that tradition.

The Subaru Forester comes in 2 versions, the GT and the E-Boxer.

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Exterior

Compared to the old Subaru Forester, the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer has very slight differences. With a somewhat straighter upright grille and modified front bumper, Subaru has not really changed the exterior much. After all, as the saying goes, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”.

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A mostly unchanged exterior

The 2020 Subaru Forester comes in several colour schemes, namely Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green metallic, Magnetite Grey, Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl and Horizon Blue Pearl.

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Interior

The interior of the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer is as simple as it gets, without sacrificing functionality.

Overall usability is streamlined, with buttons and features easy to find and use. Materials used could be better, as buttons are made of plastic which feels a little weak and not really premium. However, for a car that is billed as rugged and practical, this works just fine.

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Streamlined usability

Main features include automatic climate control, which is useful in temperate countries (unfortunately not really useful in Singapore), a moonroof and proximity keyless entry and a push-start engine button. With a 4.2 inch information display for multimedia including Apple Carplay, Bluetooth and Navigation, plus a modern steering wheel with a cruise control feature, Subaru provides all you need for a good drive.

Space is in huge supply, with the backseats enjoying the largest share of legroom, and the cabin is capable of accommodating 4 large humans (1.83m or 6ft). Cargo space in the boot is massive for an SUV in this class, topping the compact SUV cargo charts with 2154 litres of space.

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Cargo space that is massive even for a SUV

Seats are made of leather by default, with perforated edges. Comfort may not be the best, but these seats get the job done. Combined with the large windows and spaciousness, car-sickness is not a worry at all.

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Spacious, leather seats

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Performance

The 2020 Subaru Forester performs pretty well as an SUV, it can handle most terrain with ease. It is also highly robust and can provide enough power for daily needs.

Power-wise, it runs at 148bhp with 196Nm of torque, reaching a top speed of 188km/h. The engine is a 2.0 litre four cylinder boxer engine, supported by a 12KW electric motor. The car can run in 3 modes, EV, pure engine and Motor Assist mode, which is a combination of both modes.

EV mode is triggered in slow driving conditions, and utilises electricity at low speeds from standstill. When accelerating, the vehicle will switch to Motor Assist mode, splitting power to optimise speed and efficiency. Once top speed is reached, full engine mode will be triggered, and maintained during cruising. As the vehicle is cruising, the engine will recharge the hybrid battery.

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Handling

The 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer uses CVT as its mode of transmission. Noise may be an issue at higher speeds or during hard acceleration. However, the overall responsiveness of the vehicle should be enough to overcome this.

High sidewall tires contribute to the smooth ride, and the Subaru Boxer engine with its low centre of gravity and counter-balancing pistons make it ultra-stable.

Like any formidable SUV, the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer is an AWD (all-wheel drive), meaning all 4 wheels grip into the ground and provide excellent traction. It is also in line with the rugged outdoor vibe of the Forester, proving that it can handle the wilderness.

Another solid feature for outdoor enthusiasts is the X-Mode Dial, which is a knob that can be triggered to switch between normal, snow/mud and deep snow/deep mud settings.

Additionally, the Forester’s Subaru Global Platform is a solid framework which reduces vibrations and rattling adds to the already stellar handling experience. The patented technology results in a 50% decrease in body roll compared to previous models, and doubles as a shock absorber too (see the safety section for details).

Overall, the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer has great handling, due to the stable boxer engine, which offers responsiveness and balanced weight distribution. Coupled with the solid symmetrical AWD system, which is always turned on, you get a pleasant heftiness which is controlled. Unlike FWD and RWD (front and rear wheel drive) systems, the AWD system is perfectly balanced and not prone to understeering or oversteering.

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Fuel Efficiency

Subaru is known for being abysmal in terms of fuel efficiency, but the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer changes that to an extent.

With a fuel efficiency of 11.9km/L on both highways and roads(at its best) and 14.9km/L on average, it has improved compared to previous models. It is also better than the Subaru Forester GT’s fuel economy, which is a bonus. However, it can’t really be compared to the better models on the market in terms of absolute fuel economy.

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Safety

The 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer has a whole host of safety features to keep drivers worry-free.

Subaru’s specialised EyeSight Driver Assist technology consists of adaptive cruise control which brings the car to a stop during heavy traffic, pre-collision braking which can save the driver’s life during accidents, and sway warning, which indicates when the vehicle is at risk of losing balance. The lane departure feature which is probably the most frequently used safety feature warns drivers if their vehicle is drifting to the edge of the lane or if the vehicle is crossing lanes without signalling.

A new feature introduced in the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer is Reverse Automatic Braking, which automatically engages brakes if the car detects an obstacle in the rear. In addition to that, the Subaru Forester comes equipped with rear and front cameras which scan the road for potential hazards.

Physically, the chassis which contains the aforementioned Subaru Global Platform is shock absorbent and cushions impact. Collision energy absorption has been improved by up to 40%, according to Subaru.

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Price

At a price point of $124,800 including COE, the E-Boxer is alright, although prices could have been decreased if not for the hybrid powertrain, which jacked up the development cost.

$2,888 is all it takes to upgrade the standard model to the GT Forester model, but the E-Boxer is enough for most Singaporeans.

Summary

In summary, Subaru has presented a decent SUV option that does just about enough right. In terms of functionality, the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer definitely delivers, and while it may not have the best aesthetic or fuel efficiency, it does what a Subaru does best.

Verdict

What we like
- A tough, practical SUV with outstanding safety features and a decent interior
- It is an all-rounder and can thrive in cities or outdoors, and it has a delightful chunkiness which gives it a stable, reliable feel
What we do not like
- The E-Boxer hybrid powertrain's low distanced electric range is disappointing, and may not justify the cost of including the feature in development
- The fuel efficiency has improved, but it is still not in the top echelon for fuel efficiency, and there are better options out there
Editor’s recommendation
For those who would want a reliable, solid vehicle for family use and outdoor use, the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer is a viable option, boasting a tanky solidity and lots of terrain control mechanics. The spacious interior and functional interface make for straightforward use.

For those who prefer a luxury feel or better fuel economy, the 2020 Subaru Forester E-Boxer may not be the vehicle for you. Check out our other articles to find out which car suits you the best.

Subaru Forester E-Boxer Specifications

2020 Subaru Forester Model

E-Boxer

Dimensions

4625mm x 1815mm x 1730mm(LxWxH)

Wheelbase

2670mm

Turning Radius

5400mm

Weight

1664kg

2020 Subaru Forester Model

E-Boxer

Engine

1955cc 4 cylinder DOHC Horizontally Opposed

Transmission

CVT

Drive Type

All-Wheel Drive

Power

148bhp

Torque

196Nm

Top Speed

188km/h

0-100km/h

7.5s

Fuel consumption

14.9L/100km

Suspension (Front/Rear)

MacPherson Strut/Double Wishbone

Brakes(Front/Rear)

Ventilated Discs

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