If you are one of those drivers whose eyes wander from the road at the slightest excuse, you are not going to like Subaru’s e-Boxer Forester one little bit.

This capable, reliable and seriously safe SUV packs a serious technological punch which kicks into action as soon as you sit in the driver’s seat.

Before you even push the starter button, your face is scanned by a new driver monitoring system. Using facial recognition technology, it not only tells you off if your gaze wanders from the road but can also recognise if you are tired.

A camera installed on the visor of the multi-function display can spot if you look out of the window, or across at a passenger, for an extended period of time. It also constantly checks your eyes are open and sounds a warning if it thinks you are drowsy. It will also mute the audio to ensure the warning message sinks in.

This safety system is just one of a number fitted to the fifth generation of a vehicle that has grown to become Subaru’s top-selling model in the UK.

While many SUVs might look the part, the spacious five-seater Forester is a properly proficient off-roader, with 22cm of ground clearance and twin-mode four-wheel-drive designed to tackle serious off-road conditions.

Power comes in abundance from a 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed petrol engine which is combined with an electric motor. Pure-electric driving up to 25mph comes thanks to a lithium-ion battery mounted in the floor of the large boot.

At medium speeds, the motor and the engine work together to improve power, performance and towing, and at higher speeds the car automatically switches solely to petrol power.

As you might expect from a company which produces some of the tautest handling cars in the world, the hybrid Forester retains nicely-weighted steering and real feel when cornering hard. The electric motor and battery pack are aligned longitudinally with the heavy motor placed near the vehicle's centre of gravity. The battery and other components are positioned above the rear axle helping balance the weight and planting the car securely on the road.

The Forester is a little wider and longer than its predecessor, giving more space inside the smartly-trimmed high quality cabin and is also hugely well equipped. The XE Premium trim car driven here came with 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, LED headlights and LED front fog lights and privacy glass on the rear windows.

Other luxury touches range from eight-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats, to heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

The dashboard is dominated by an eight-inch colour touchscreen that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto links for smartphones, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. 

Other safety equipment includes two cameras mounted either side of the rear-view mirror that scan the road more than 100 yards ahead and are linked to everything from adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, to lane sway and departure warning and lane keep assist.

The car also keeps an eye on the rear with blind spot monitoring, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. Sensors mounted in the rear bumper also detect obstructions when reversing and if there is a risk of collision, the system automatically applies the brakes.

The driver monitoring system also has a secondary function of using face recognition to adjust vehicle settings. The seat position, door mirror angle, display screen content and air conditioning settings can be set and synchronised to a recognised driver, with the system able to memorise settings for up to five people.

So whatever happens, on or off-road and whether you are travelling forwards or backwards, you can be sure the Forester will always keep an eye out for you.

Auto facts

Model: Subaru Forester e-Boxer XE Premium

Price: £38,995

Insurance group: 21

Fuel consumption (combined): 34.7mpg

Top speed: 119mph

Length: 461cm/181in

Width: 179.5cm/70.5in

Luggage capacity: 505 litres/17.8 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres

Towing capacity: 1,870 kg

CO2 emissions: 154g/km

Warranty: Five years/ 100,000 miles