Toyota's PHEV powertrain is a big step up from the current engine.
Subaru has built a strong following around the Forester compact SUV. But according to the Japanese magazine Mag-X, the next-generation Subaru Forester is right around the corner. Allegedly, it will debut in 2023, and in a surprise move, it will use Toyota's hybrid engine technology.
The all-new Forester is rumored to debut in 2023, which makes sense considering it was recently facelifted. Subaru also added a new Wilderness trim to the range, making it even better off the beaten path than it already was.
By now, Subaru and Toyota have a solid partnership, dating back to the original 86 and BRZ. The coalition expanded to include the new GR 86 and BRZ and even electric SUVs that were designed side by side. Subaru's version is called the Solterra, while Toyota chose the name bZ4x.
Despite being similar in size, the new Forester is not expected to share a platform with the Toyota RAV4. Though it would make financial sense, it would move the Forester too far away from its inherent off-road ability. The RAV4 is a good SUV, but Subaru's global platform is a step above. However, the hybridization could come from the plug-in RAV4 Prime.
Subaru will likely stick with its permanent all-wheel-drive formula, which made it a huge sales success in the USA. However, the current engine is a generation behind, and that's where Toyota can lend a helping hand.
Subaru will use Toyota's hybrid tech to equip the Forester with an Atkinson cycle engine and two electric motors. This will also give the Forester plug-in capability, making it significantly more efficient than the current model.
We're not entirely sure how the AWD system will work, however. The current RAV4 PHEV uses an eAWD system, so there is no mechanical coupling between the front and rear axle. Considering Subaru's humble off-road roots, it will likely require a mechanical coupling.
Power-wise, the Scooby will benefit greatly. The current naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-pot only produced 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. The RAV4 PHEV's combined power output is rated at 302 hp, and it has an EPA-estimated fuel consumption of 94 MPGe.
To us, this seems like the logical route. Subaru will keep its platform and AWD system to retain that essential Scooby DNA, but the benefits of switching over to Toyota power are too good to ignore.