Subaru Forester hybrid performance, top speed & engine
Performance is a bit weak on the road, but once you head off it, the Subaru Forester hybrid is king of this class
|0-62mph||Top speed||Driven wheels||Power|
If we were to give a standalone rating for off-road ability, the Forester would get five out of five. Sadly we don't, and the e-Boxer's on-road performance is lacklustre. It doesn't just have a rather underwhelming 0-62mph time; it's clunky when transitioning from electric to petrol power.
Subaru Forester hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
The Forester isn't fast. In fact, you'll find it mooing away as the CVT gearbox lets the 2.0-litre engine rev noisily while you try to build speed quickly. As we said earlier, its 0-62mph time is a disappointing 11.8 seconds, a figure trounced by most of its rivals. There's hesitation as it shuffles between the petrol and electric power sources - unless you decide to switch off the engine stop-start system and use 'Sport' exclusively to keep the engine running, all of which undermines the fuel-saving benefits of a hybrid.
The Forester excels off-road, thanks to permanent four-wheel drive and dedicated terrain settings: one for light mud and sand, the other for deep mud and snow (the latter allowing more slip). There's also a hill-descent mode which automatically applies the brakes to control the car's speed and traction when crawling down a slope.
These gadgets, and ground clearance of 8.6 inches (220mm), mean the Forester is better in tricky conditions than almost anything in its price range, short of dedicated 4x4s such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport – and we suspect it'd even give that car a run for its money.
It certainly shrugged off the deep mud and steep, slippery slopes of our off-road track, easily dispatching each obstacle. It's very impressive for a sub-£40,000 mid-sized family SUV.
You want a Subaru Forester to be stoically grippy, comfortable and easygoing to drive, and that's just what it is. There's a little bit of body lean during cornering, but there's still plenty of grip and predictable steering response that makes it feel reassuring, whatever the conditions.
Ride comfort is good, too, with the suspension soaking up the worst of the bumps and ruts in the road. The overall experience is one of an old-school SUV, despite the Forester's very modern safety and electronic assistance systems. Some may prefer the fact it doesn't feel remotely sporty to drive, but if not, there are countless alternative SUVs that drive far better on the road, including the Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe all-wheel-drive Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid is great off-road and comfortable on-road, but its price is quite hard to justify
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsYou’d expect better efficiency, despite the Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid's size and off-road credentials
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Subaru Forester hybrid's reputation for reliability are big plus points, but company-car and other tax costs are high
- 4Engines, drive & performance - currently readingPerformance is a bit weak on the road, but once you head off it, the Subaru Forester hybrid is king of this class
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid is well equipped, if rather dated-looking inside
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Subaru Forester hybrid is roomy and functional inside, but there's no seven-seat option
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Subaru Forester hybrid boasts class-leading driver aids and a great crash safety rating, but there's no spare wheel