THE all-new Subaru Forester with mild hybrid power has now arrived at UK dealerships with two versions available priced from £33,995.
While it may not look spectacularly different from the outgoing model, the fifth generation Forester - now branded the e-Boxer - is new from the ground up. Sitting on Subaru's new global platform, it's longer, wider and roomier and comes with a completely new powertrain, improved dynamics and more advanced technology.
The new powertrain combines a two-litre, direct injection, horizontally opposed four-cylinder 'Boxer' petrol engine with an electric motor. A lithium-ion battery unit is mounted within the boot floor and allows for pure-electric driving at speeds of up to 25mph.
Paired with an updated Lineartronic transmission and Subaru's symmetrical all wheel drive, Forester e-Boxer automatically adjusts according to the driving conditions and alternates between three driving modes - pure electric EV mode, electric motor assisted driving and petrol power only.
In EV mode it can drive in fully electric mode for distances of about a mile and reach speeds of up to 25mph.
The e-Boxer comes with the latest camera and radar-based driver assistance technology as standard including a new rear vehicle detection system which, as well as blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert, is capable of automatically braking the car if sensors detect the possibility of a collision when reversing.
EyeSight driver assist technology functions optically using two stereo cameras which are mounted either side of the rear-view mirror It monitors for hazards up to 110 metres ahead and includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane sway and departure warning, lane keep assist and lead vehicle start alert.
But perhaps the most novel piece of high-tech kit is a driver monitoring system which uses camera-based facial recognition to detect if the driver's gaze has wandered or if the driver is dozing off and alerts occupants if this occurs.
As a secondary function, the system uses personal recognition to adjust vehicle settings. The seat position, door mirror angle, display screen content and air conditioning settings can be set and synced for up to five recognised drivers.
As well as the high-tech electronics the Forester e-Boxer comes with keyless entry and push button start, LED headlights with high beam assist, LED front fog lights, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, electronic parking brake and eight-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats as standard.
The range-topping XE Premium model adds rear privacy glass, heated leather front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, sat nav, power tailgate and sunroof.