Motor image recently unveiled the new Subaru Forester e-Boxer at its showroom in Kowloon Bay. The official distributor of Subaru vehicles in Hong Kong pointed out that the city is the first Asian market outside Japan to begin sales of the all-wheel drive five-seater SUV.
Speaking at the ceremony, Motor Image general manager Eugene Ma believes the new Forester will continue to be well-received by the brand's customers.
"The current generation has proven to be the most popular Forester in Hong Kong. Considering the upgraded hybrid system, along with the competitive pricing, we expect the latest e-Boxer to consolidate the model's success," said Ma with confidence.
At the launch event, two Forester e-Boxers in blue and white greeted the invited guests.
The current, fifth generation Forester was first introduced into the local market late last year. As the Forester e-Boxer is not a refreshed mid-cycle offering, let alone a new generation, it is understandable that it features no visible modifications.
But dig deeper - into the engine bay - and you will find the major changes in the latest Forester e-Boxer.
Instead of the 2.0-liter normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, the new vehicle comes equipped with a mild hybrid system containing an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries.
The small 16.7ps electric motor is installed inside the transmission case, allowing minimum structural change to the brand's famed Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.
The lithium-ion batteries are located above the rear axle, contributing to the overall front-and-rear weight distribution.
The original four-cylinder engine and the other key drivetrain parts are mostly untouched. The gasoline engine retains its 150ps output and 194Nm torque figures and the engine torque is transferred to all four wheels via an automatic continuously variable transmission and an active torque split system like the pre-hybrid set up.
The new hybrid system offers a slightly higher combined output, and the instant torque from the electric motor will come in handy during city traffic acceleration. But the real advantage of the system is its electric mode when one gets stuck in crawling-speed traffic, when emissions can be greatly contained.
While the hybrid system has its merits, it doesn't change the fact that the Forester e-Boxer is not the vehicle of choice if performance is one's top priority. Instead, Ma's confidence in the new model stems from the vehicle's upgraded EyeSight package, which features a range of driver assistance and safety features.
"It's a package that many customers ask before getting to know about a particular Subaru model," he added.
The standard Forester 2.0i-S EyeSight e-Boxer costs HK$339,800, while the Range Edition is another HK$7,429 with the red accented body kit and distinctive front grille.