Unboxing the all-new Forester e-Boxer
The Singapore Motor Show is the first motor show to kick off in the Asean region this year, and it has become the launch venue for some brands that are looking to introduce their newest models in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.
Motor Image Group, the region’s exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in nine countries with markets in China, South East Asian countries and the Philippines, introduced the all-new Subaru Forester e-Boxer, the brand’s first hybrid model.
The brand’s popular mid-size SUV was the obvious choice for its first gasoline and electric-powered hybrid.
Its proprietary dual-engine mechanism uses a lithium ion battery to energize its electric motor to propel the Forester at low speeds, while the boxer gasoline-powered engine kicks in to propel it in higher speeds.
“The showcase of the new Forester e-Boxer offers our customers impressive efficiency and fuel economy with its dual electric-petrol engines, while still retaining the trademark comfort, handling and safety that the Forester is known and loved for,” said Glenn Tan, deputy chairman and managing director, Tan Chong International Limited.
“The Forester e-Boxer offers our customers the choice of a vehicle that marries environmental awareness with performance, and we are thrilled to introduce this variant to the market,” he added.
The annually-held Singapore Motor Show is organized by the Motor Traders Association of Singapore (MTA), which is also led by Tan as the president of the organization.
As one of the attractions of the show, world-renowned precision driver and Guinness record holder Russ Swift used the all-new Forester as part of his stunt shows when performing daily at the four-day motoring event.
The gasoline version was unveiled last June, and the hybrid variant is slated to be the brand’s entry point in offering hybrid variants.
It is expected that other models will also have hybrid powerplants in the near future.
Despite the need to allocate an area for batteries, space has not been compromised by the Forester e-Boxer’s greener drive train.
Just like its gasoline-powered variants, this hybrid model also uses the new Subaru global platform (SGP), which has been designed from the start to accommodate conventional, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains.
Having this vision in mind, its designers were able to keep the changes negligible in determining the height difference of the cargo floor between the hybrid and the gasoline versions, thus enabling the Forester e-Boxer to offer more than 500 liters of cargo space.
During the motor show weekend, Motor Image flew in members of the motoring media in the region, as well as its dealer principals to witness the unveiling of the Forester e-Boxer.
At the expansive Changi Exhibition Center’s open parking lot using a dynamic test track with various simulated road conditions, the media was able to test the handling and performance of the hybrid Forester.
There was a straight and long track that allowed the Forester e-Boxer to go “flat out” and accelerate effortlessly. It also showed that the vehicle had noticeably less engine noise than its gasoline-fed sibling.
In the slalom, skid pad and wet section as well as the speed bump course, the Forester was pitted against two other Japanese hybrid models of the same segment to allow participants to compare the ride, handling and overall performance vis-a-vis competitors.
Participants were asked to drive all the three different SUVs aggressively and see how they behaved under varying road conditions.
In the slalom section, the Forester e-Boxer showed very quick and controlled handling response, allowing the drivers to get back to neutral position after evading traffic cones strategically laid out in an s-pattern.
Thanks to the boxer engine layout, the Forester had the lowest center of gravity among the three test mules and handled with much more precision and control.
For the skid and wet surface turns, the other two vehicles reacted violently and almost spun out because of understeer, and it was very difficult to keep the vehicles under control.
The Forester’s lower center of gravity and its all-wheel drive system was very effective in helping drivers regain control, which is very important when driving in challenging weather and road conditions.
This was also true in the wet surface area. The Forester e-Boxer reacted very quickly to the drivers’ inputs, and intelligently distributed the proper torque across its four wheels to counter the effects of skidding under very wet conditions.
The other two brands had a difficult time in regaining control because of its front wheel drive platforms.
The speed bump course showed how the Forester e-Boxer behaved similarly with its gasoline-fed variants, thanks to the new Subaru global platform now available across all the Subaru models.
A more rigid chassis, optimal shock absorption capabilities, and better weight distribution is the basis of all Subaru’s current and future models, promising improved active and passive safety, comfort and performance.
The Forester e-Boxer test drive also highlighted the key features of its EyeSight technology, like its adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, lead vehicle start alert and lane departure/lane sway warning.
The EyeSight technology will soon be available across all models.
According to Motor Image, four variants of the gasoline-powered all-new Forester (with some variants featuring the EyeSight technology) will be unveiled later this January, with the e-Boxer scheduled in 2020.
Motor Image Pilipinas, the local distributor for Subaru, is now accepting reservations for the all-new Forester. The final price will be announced during its formal launch on Jan. 24.
The Forester e-Boxer was sure-footed even on wet surface conditions
The traffic cones guide the drivers towards the slalom course to show how well the Forester e-Boxer handles and performs
Braking exercises for the EyeSight features
These ramps show how much ground clearance the Forester can take, as well as how sure-footed they are even if some of the wheels go into the rollers simulating slippery ruts and mud.