The Subaru Forester is one of the most rugged and interesting-looking crossovers in its segment, loved by people who love the outdoors, dog owners, surfers, and just regular people taking the kids to school. However, the Forester has one major problem: it’s not very economical. Rumor has it that an all-new 2025 Subaru Forester will fix that by borrowing hybrid technology from Toyota.
Japanese crossovers really took off in the 1990s. Models like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V drove like cars, were practical, and came with reliable engines. As a relatively small automaker, Subaru was late to this party. It showed the Streega concept at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show and it took until the 1998 model year to put the Forester into production.
Fuel economy was important, but the Forester had other great features, like a low center of gravity thanks to the boxer, which recommended the mini-SUV for some performance upgrades. We’re referring to the Forester STI, one of the coolest 4×4 to come out of that era.
Subaru also has a certain reputation, so all Foresters came with AWD. But while traction is an advantage, customers now seem to value fuel economy on small crossovers.
The current generation of the Forester, the SK, has been rolling off the assembly line in Japan since 2018. And despite a successful facelift, it’s now getting ready to be replaced. News out of Japan suggests the all-new model will be called the 2025 Subaru Forester, and it will need hybrid technology from the biggest automaker in the world.
Local scoop website Spyder7 reports that the 2025 Forester will debut next year, matching the existing FB20 2.0-liter engine with Toyota’s hybrid technology. Specifically, the term, “Strong Hybrid” is used, hinting at its relation with the Toyota Urban Cruiser.
How Subaru will use Toyota tech
This sounds simple in theory, but the two brands have very little in common when it comes to making cars… other than the BRZ/86 sports coupe. Subaru puts permanent AWD on its cars, and the boxer engines are always mounted longitudinally. Meanwhile, when Toyota hybrids have AWD, they just use an electric motor to power the rear wheels, and there’s no mechanical connection to the longitudinally-mounted engine at the front. Of course, there are exceptions, but they’re mostly high-end or performance cars and the Forester is neither.
Subaru will instead mount the four-cylinder boxer engine with Toyota’s 118 horsepower motor before the power is sent to the E-CVT and thus to the symmetrical AWD system. The DB20 isn’t a very powerful unit, making 143 hp, so the total system output would only be about 190 horsepower. But that’s within what the segment demands, and it will boost the Forester’s mpg numbers from the current 33 mph highway closer to 40 mpg.
Over here in America, Subaru may decide to offer a more powerful Forester model, either by having the hybrid system based on the 2.5-liter FB25 or by turbocharging.
Now, we are sharing Spyder7’s rendering as well, but it’s probably not accurate in any way. They must have taken a Mitsubishi Outlander and combined it with Nissan and Toyota elements. Subaru is leaning heavily into ruggedness, so expect lots of cladding, even though “hybrid” will be plastered all over the vehicle.