In addition to the hot WRX STI, the down-to-earth Forester is probably the best-known model of Subaru. The new edition of the gradually converted from the all-purpose estate car to SUV Japanese success model comes in the next spring after a long wait in Germany on the market. For the first time in a Subaru is a hybrid drive on board.
SP-X / Vienna. Over the past 78.750 years, German car buyers have opted for a Subaru Forester a good 22 times. Thus, the "forester" after the 2011 dormant small car Justy the best-selling model of compared to Toyota or Nissan rather small Japanese car manufacturer. Now it is the all-new Forester, which is to usher in the electric age for Subaru. But very carefully.
Teesdorf is a 1.800-inhabitant village in Lower Austria, 25 kilometers south of Vienna. One of the largest driving safety centers in Europe is located on an area the size of 40 soccer fields. Here our neighbors practice the safe operation of their means of transport in their own cars or on motorbikes on an off-road course with steep climbs and descents, a racetrack or an asphalt, sometimes irrigated circular slab under the guidance of professionals. An unusual place for a world premiere, which is only a small step for the car world, but a really big one for the Japanese car company.
The first Subaru, which also uses an electric motor for the contemporary advancement in addition to the traditional boxer gasoline engine. Granted, with just 12,3 kW / 16,7 PS is the clean helper in the new Forester rather of the modest kind and hidden in the housing of the continuously variable CVT automatic transmission. The engine is used to support the two-liter Boxer engine, which in turn sets the tone with 110 kW / 150 PS. This so-called "mild hybrid" is a well-known technique for saving fuel in city traffic and to increase power in lower rpm ranges.
The new Forester, which after its US premiere more than a year ago now for the first time in the European version ready for a test drive, has no license plates, even its exact specifications and prices Subaru not yet revealed. Even the look is significantly different from the currently sold predecessor. Although the well-known silhouette remained almost untouched, but especially in the front, the designers set new accents. Two silver edged air intakes, in between a slightly higher placed grille. The side waistline has slid higher, the lower edge of the rear window rises slightly towards the rear. If the rear part of the predecessor was rather conservative in design, the rear lights reaching into the tailgate now cover the corners of a playful decorative strip.
The measurements were corrected only slightly upwards, 1,5 centimeters longer, 2 centimeters wider. More important is the 3 centimeter extended wheelbase, which improves especially the legroom of the backbenchers by avoiding the knee contact with the backs of the front seats more clearly than before. The design of the interior has been changed only minimally, offers as usual at Subaru solid high quality depending on the selected equipment.
The first test chapter for the novice is an off-road track in which, according to project manager Tomoyuki Nunome, the hybrid drive is more noticeable than on solid roads. The engineer is right. Especially in crawl over thick stones, bumpy hills and uneven bends, in which even the rear wheel is in the air, trump the 16 additional horsepower. While an internal combustion engine in extremely low speeds again and again needs gas shocks to slow forward, the e-colleague is wide awake already when rolling on an obstacle and provides enough pulling power for climbing and crawling.
Since the Forester has traditionally been bought more frequently in mountainous areas than in the lowlands, the ability to move away from the asphalt is quite desirable for local customers. The Swiss Post used Subaru for a long time to supply recipients in remote residential areas that can only be reached via natural paths. Winter suitability is also standard on the Forester.
Still, most new rangers will rarely turn into the landscape. Even if the classic users will not have sporting ambitions, the duo drive brings advantages. From tight corners, he also uses the early response of the gas pedal, just because not enough speed of the gasoline engine to accelerate must be waited. On the Teesdorfer Rundstrecke with its tight network of curves quite tangible. However, the vehement twist on sportsman-type is countered by the continuously variable automatic transmission, which naturally searches for the right speed again and again. It feels much more relaxed when cruising on the long haul.
In urban traffic, the new Forester will also be able to score points. Because with the constant stop-and-go, the petrol engine can often be turned off thanks to his e-colleague. On average, savings of ten percent or more are possible. The Subaru can even be on the move up to 40 km / h. That's just a little over 1,5 kilometers.
All in all, the Forester is a feel-good car with plenty of comfort on all seats, with a wide range of modern assistance system and depending on the budget lush equipment. New is a trip to the virtual world. With face recognition, the car can remember up to five users. If one of them then swings behind the wheel, the seat position, the setting of the mirrors and even the preferred radio station are automatically activated. A nice idea, if such a Forester in the family is used again and again by other members.
The German subsidiary of Subaru reveals nothing about prices, performance data and consumption yet. Finally, a good half year will pass before the newcomer to the dealer. But it is clear that he will always have the hybrid technology on board, will always be traveling with four-wheel drive and certainly a touch more expensive than the current same-strength model. This costs depending on the equipment between about 32.000 and 40.000 Euro.