In-depth reviews

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

Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance rating

3.0 out of 5

£34,820 - £37,820
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower

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 best described as lacklustre. It doesn't just have a rather Underwhelming 0-62mph time, it's also slightly clunky making the transition from electric to petrol power.

Subaru Forester hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

Needless to say, the Forester isn’t fast. In fact, you might find it mooing away rather noisily as the CVT gearbox lets the 2.0-litre engine rev noisily when you try to build speed quickly. There can be a slight hesitation as it shuffles between the petrol and electric power sources, too. For all that, the Subaru does feel fast enough the majority of the time, and unless you ask for everything it’s got, it’s also quiet and calm.

While the Forester’s on-road performance is just about adequate, it excels off road. The permanent four-wheel drive comes with two 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 that automatically controls the car’s speed and traction when you’re crawling down a slope.

These gadgets, and ground clearance of 220mm, mean the Forester is better in tricky conditions than almost anything in its price range, short of dedicated 4x4s like 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, dispatching them with casual ease that makes you feel almost secondary to the car’s progress. It does it all for you, and certainly feels as unstoppable as you’d ever expect a sub-£40,000 mid-sized family SUV to. It’ll tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 1,870kg, as well.


You want a Subaru Forester to be stoically grippy, comfortable and easygoing to drive, and that’s just what it is. There’s a lot of sloppy body lean even in moderate cornering, but there’s also masses 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. We rather like that about it, even if you can’t get around the fact that there are countless alternative SUVs that drive far better on road, including the Mazda CX-5, Skoda Kodiaq and Toyota RAV4.

Most Popular

New Polestar 3 electric SUV priced from £79,845
Polestar 3

New Polestar 3 electric SUV priced from £79,845

Specs for the first Polestar SUV have surfaced online, with the Tesla Model X rival boasting a 380-mile range from its 111kWh battery
20 Sep 2022
Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Best electric cars 2022
Best cars

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Here, we run through our favourite new electric cars that you can buy right now in the UK…
21 Sep 2022
Top 10 best seven-seater electric and hybrid cars 2022
Best seven-seater electric and hybrids
Best cars

Top 10 best seven-seater electric and hybrid cars 2022

If the regular crop of electrified SUVs and family cars don’t provide enough practicality for you, then take a closer look at the range of electric an…
12 Sep 2022