Keen buyers should note, however, that the range is now already sold out until May. Details here.
Both the (small) XV and (mid-sized) Forester SUVs employ the same hybrid drivetrain. The new system, which works in conjunction with Subaru’s existing 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine, was developed by Subaru.
When in hybrid configuration, the petrol engine makes 110kW @ 6000rpm and 196Nm @ 4000rpm.
The battery pack is a 4.8 amp hour, 118.4 volt unit, mounted over the rear axle. It has lithium-ion chemistry, and weighs 24.5 kilograms. Using those numbers, the Subaru hybrid battery pack has a 0.568kWh rating.
That battery feeds a 12.3kW, 66Nm electric motor, which is housed within the same Lineartronic CVT as conventionally-powered models, with some small changes.
The battery is charged only with kinetic energy via the electric motor, during braking and coasting. There are currently no short-term plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) to the Subaru range.
Subaru has not supplied combined power and torque figures for the hybrid drivetrain.
Fuel economy for both the XV and Forester improve, with the most notable gains in town driving.
Subaru Forester Hybrid fuel economy
Combined cycle: 6.7L/100km – a 9.4% improvement over the regular petrol model
Urban driving: 7.5L/100km – 19.35% improvement
Highway: 6.2L/100km – 5.9% improvement
Subaru XV Hybrid economy
Combined: 6.5L/100km – a 7.14% improvement over the regular petrol model
Urban: 7.5L/100km – 14.77% improvement
Highway: 5.9L/100km – 1.67% improvement
Above: Forester Hybrid S cabin
Both hybrid Subarus emit less CO2 as well, with the XV dropping from 159 grams per kilometre (on the combined cycle) to 147. The Forester hybrids emit 152 grams, down from 168.
This setup, which is different from other hybrid systems on the market, allows it to run through the same permanent all-wheel drive system that Subaru has been using for many years. That means off-road capability, ground clearance (220mm) and ‘X-Mode’ remains unchanged with the hybrid drivetrain.
Those going off-road will be disappointed to hear that hybrid versions of the XV and Forester both lose out on having a spare wheel. This is another first for Subaru, opting for a puncture repair kit instead.
No spare wheel: Subaru executives told us the spare was an unfortunate victim in both hybrid models, where having a low centre of gravity and no compromise to the overall storage space was deemed more important.
Above: XV Hybrid cabin
In non-hybrid variants, the XV has a temporary spare wheel, while the Forester has a full-sized spare.
For those who want a hybrid Subaru with a spare, Subaru’s accessories team is at work trying to find a solution of securing a spare in the back somehow.
Servicing costs are yet to be determined for the XV and Forester Hybrid, but Subaru indicated that if they do change, increases will be minimal.
Along with Subaru’s typical five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, the hybrid battery comes with an 8-year/160,000 kilometre warranty.
Subaru XV and Forester Hybrid pricing
The Subaru XV Hybrid comes in one specification, costing $35,580 before on-road costs. That places it in between the XV 2.0 Premium ($34,420) and XV 2.0i-S ($36,530).
The Forester Hybrid has two specifications, Forester L at $39,990 ($3,450 more) and Forester S at $45,990 ($3,000 more) – both before on-road costs.
NOTE: Subaru did not have vehicles available to drive at this week's media briefing. We will have comprehensive reviews live in the coming weeks.