Subaru is on the eve of expanding its presence in the Irish market, both in the Republic and in the North with the arrival of the fifth generation Forester, an all new hybrid version the e-BOXER.
For some time, the Forester has been the top seller for Subaru throughout the whole island of Ireland and also on the mainland and the overall package that the latest version delivers is going to prove extremely popular with existing owners; however Subaru aim to conquest as they challenge some well known brands in the premium sector. The e-Boxer which majors on safety, capability and reliability; these will prove to be the pillars of success for this newcomer.
A survey in Japan saw the new Forester come out not only on top, but the safest passenger vehicle tested to date; this shows just how much effort has been placed on safety for driver and passengers. The e-BOXER version commemorates Subaru’s heritage and marks the future of ‘Confidence in Motion. The newcomer arrives in dealer showrooms with a completely new power train which combines an electric motor with two of Subaru’s core technologies, the horizontally-opposed Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, a cutting-edge re-design of the body and chassis, it offers advanced safety performance and a dynamic driving experience. There is an abundance of technology which ensures that it is safer than ever as EyeSight driver assist technology, Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection, Reverse Automatic Braking, and Driver Monitoring System are all standard across the range.
There really is no need to scroll through an additional options list, as this is a very complete package. One item I would like to have seen on this model however is a head up display. Overall it now has a more premium feel, exterior design ensuring the most spacious and capable Forester to date, featuring a high-quality interior, versatile boot space and 220mm of ground clearance. So this new Forester is one vehicle well suited to off-road adventures, the upgraded X-Mode dial can now switch between two modes adapting to the most extreme weather and road conditions.
I drove over some extremely poorly surfaced roads in County Monaghan and the ride was surprisingly good; however on this occasion there was not the opportunity to take the vehicle off road, but a Subaru spokesperson assured me that its go anywhere ability is impressive; that drive is for another day. A survey by Subaru came to the conclusion that their customers like the outdoors, so after having put up a few miles in one I can see this Subaru appealing to a wide audience; even urban dwellers will appreciate its many plus points. With a two litre direct injection horizontally opposed petrol engine and an electric motor, the lithium-ion battery unit is mounted within the boot floor and allows for pure-electric driving at speeds of up to 40kph (25mph.) Matched with an updated Lineartronic transmission and Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive, it achieves smooth, linear, acceleration and highly responsive torque. Power-split adjusts according to the driving condition and alternates between three driving modes: EV driving, Motor Assist driving and Engine driving. At low speeds, power is by the electric motor alone for quiet, zero emission driving. At medium speeds, the motor and the engine work together to improve power and performance and Motor Assist driving improves off-road ability as it generates earlier torque when using X-Mode and also assists when towing; the towing capacity is 1,870 kg. At higher speeds it is driven solely by the petrol engine and according to speed and driving conditions, the engine will recharge the battery.
Nobody could fail to be impressed by the high level of standard equipment and the absence of an option list is refreshing. There are two trim levels, XE and XE Premium, and no one would be disappointed with the overall package of the XE. Of course you can step higher to the Premium which boasts such items as leather seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, sat nav, new 18 inch alloy wheels, sunroof and the power tailgate will be favoured by many. Subaru are aiming high for this newcomer and it is set to rival many of the premium SUV brands; certainly it comes out on top re value for money.
From 2020, Subaru Ireland aims to increase sales ten fold, quite a target, this will be aided in no small way by the new Forester e-BOXER and further new models are on the way. In Northern Ireland the aim is to increase sales aided by the recent appointment of two new dealers.