Subaru Australia could launch an ‘e-Boxer’ hybrid version of the fifth-generation Subaru Forester after the introduction of the regular petrol-powered variant later this year. The Forester e-Boxer was revealed for the Japanese market recently, where it is claimed to offer a fuel consumption of 18.6 km per litre following the JC08 test cycle.

The Forester e-Boxer is powered by a FB20 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated, direct-injected flat-four petrol engine that makes 145 PS at 6,000 rpm and 188 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The engine provides slightly less output compared to latest XV (156 PS/196 Nm) but it is augmented by a 13.6 PS/65 Nm electric motor placed within the Lineartronic CVT.

The motor draws its power from a lithium-ion battery positioned under the cargo floor, which is recharged under braking. To accommodate the battery, the Forester e-Boxer has a smaller cargo space of 509 litres instead of the non-hybrid variants’ 520 litres. Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system remains ever so present.

In terms of operation, the e-Boxer system is capable of running on electric power only at low speeds for a limited distance like when setting off. At medium speeds, the engine and electric motor work together for better efficiency, while at high speeds, only the engine goes to work to both move the car and keep the battery charged.

Of course, the Forester e-Boxer isn’t the company’s first hybrid model as there was the XV Hybrid previously that used a version of the FB20 without direct injection and a nickel-metal hydride battery.

The new Forester and XV both ride on the Subaru Global Platform, which has been designed from the start to accommodate conventional, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains. The Japanese carmaker will introduce a PHEV this year, with the XV set to receive a Toyota hybrid system as part of the two companies’ technical partnership.

Registration of interest for the new Forester has already started in Australia, although more details like official specifications and pricing have yet to be revealed. The SUV should make its way to Malaysia as well, but just when that will take place remains to be seen. Would you like to see the e-Boxer variant be offered here?

GALLERY: 2019 Subaru Forester at the 2018 New York International Auto Show