Subaru Forester Hybrid Confirmed For Australia; Why Americans Would Buy It
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Subaru needs to move toward electrification and the Japanese automaker is moving toward more fuel-efficient hybrid models around the globe. They already have the new fifth-generation Forester e-Boxer in the Japan market, and just announced a new 2019 Subaru Crosstrek e-Boxer hybrid this week also for Japan. Now Subaru Australia confirms the 2019 Forester e-Boxer will launch down under. Americans would buy the new fuel-efficient Forester if the Japanese automaker brings it to U.S. shores.
According to a report from WhichCar, Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie confirmed the new Hybrid Forester and XV e-Boxer will be heading to Australia. Christie says, “We have our own specification [Forester] in Australia and there’s a lot of testing that goes into ride and handling, but yes there is a Forester hybrid and we are working with Japan now about how and when we bring that in.”
The U.S. is getting a new second-generation 2019 Subaru Crosstrek plug-in-hybrid later this year, but the Forester and Crosstrek e-Boxer models going to Australia are mild hybrids, not plug-ins. Forester and Crosstrek e-Boxer use the newly-developed 2.0-liter direct injection engine coupled with an AC synchronous electric motor with a total output of 187 lb-ft of torque. The mild hybrid system is mated to a full-time all-wheel-drive system and Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission.
Christie said in an earlier interview, “The move towards electrification means we’ll have a hybrid Forester in the market by the end of next year, and a second hybrid model [XV] shortly after that in early 2020. It’s the first hybrid for Subaru in Oz and we’re really excited about it.”
Subaru has not announced fuel-mileage specs for the 2.0-liter e-Boxer hybrid models, but they will be more fuel-efficient than the 26/33/29 city/highway/combined mpg the new 2019 Forester with the 2.5-liter powerplant achieves.
Americans want more fuel-efficient models
Americans would buy the new Forester Hybrid if it’s priced competitively. In a recent study by iSeeCars, they found Americans are buying previously-owned hybrid and electric vehicles at a faster clip than all other models, including the most popular SUVs and crossovers. The used hybrid and electric vehicles are moving off dealer lots quicker than all other vehicles because they are more affordable than the new models.
New Subaru President Tomomi Nakamura is counting on the newly-redesigned fifth-generation Forester to help rebuild the brand's tarnished image in Japan because of the recent fuel-mileage falsification scandal that rocked the country. Forester is the Japanese automaker’s top-selling nameplate around the globe and they need the small SUV to keep sales momentum going. The Forester e-Boxer hybrid model should help spur sales in Japan, Australia, and Europe. It would also likely be popular in the US.
The 2019 Subaru Forester 2.5i gas model makes its dealer launch in the U.S. next month, but Subaru has been silent on when or if North America will get the new fuel-efficient Forester e-Boxer hybrid model. Americans will buy it if they do. Stay tuned.
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Photo credit: Subaru Japan