The new Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid SUV has officially gone on sale in the UK, featuring better equipment and safety levels than before. Prices start from £33,995 (RM183k), and UK customers have up to eight exterior colours to choose from.

Now, the Forester e-Boxer draws propulsion power from familiar FB20 2.0 litre horizontally-opposed petrol engine. The direct-injected mill alone makes 145 PS at 6,000 rpm and 188 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, and gets augmented with an electric motor that produces 13.6 PS and 65 Nm of torque.

The e-motor is installed within the Lineartronic CVT, while a separate 4.8 Ah lithium-ion battery pack (installed under the rear boot floor; reduces volume from 520 litres to 509 litres) supplies electrical juice. The battery is recharged via regenerative braking or deceleration (engine drag is harnessed to charge the battery).

It’s able to drive on pure electric power alone, but the distance is limited to around 1.6 km and at speeds of up to 40 km/h. Subaru says the e-Boxer system offers up to 10% improvement in fuel economy, especially when compared to its combustion engine-only 2.0L counterparts. Subaru’s famous symmetrical all-wheel drive system with X-Mode is standard.

On the outside, the Forester e-Boxer is identifiable through the e-Boxer badge on the tailgate, and it sits on new dual-tone 18-inch alloy wheels. Features such as LED headlights with C-shaped LED daytime running lights, high beam assist, and LED front fog lights are standard across the board, but items such as privacy rear glass and keyless entry with push-start button can be specified.

Inside, things don’t differ much from the regular fifth-generation SUV, so the centre stack comes with the same eight-inch infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The front seats get eight-way power adjustable function, whereas items such as heated steering wheel and heated seats are brand new additions to the model range.

For safety, the Forester e-Boxer is impressively specced. To start, it gets the automaker’s EyeSight driver assist technology, which offers Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection, Reverse Automatic Braking, and Driver Monitoring System as standard across the line-up. Two optical stereo cameras monitor road hazards for up to 110 metres ahead, and this helps with Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Sway and Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Lead Vehicle Start Alert.

There’s also a brand new system called Driver Monitoring System (DMS) , which uses a camera and facial recognition system to detect if the driver has lost his or her focus when on the move. It can also detect if and when the driver starts dozing off, and responds by audibly alerting occupants when this occurs. The system also automatically mutes music playback when the alerts come on.

As a secondary function, DMS can even be used to recognise up to five drivers. The built-in memory function allows five presets to be saved, which automatically adjusts seat position, door mirror angle, display screen content and air conditioning settings according to each driver’s preference. Neat, right?