2023 Subaru Solterra EV Charges Production With 220 Miles Range

Built on a platform shared with the Toyota bZ4X, Solterra promises to be curb-ready for weekend adventurers

Written by Benjamin Preston

As Subaru prepares to launch its first electric car, the Solterra, we caught up with it at the New York International Auto Show this week. The new outdoor-inspired compact SUV uses a two-motor electric powertrain to form a new version of Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system, providing 8.3 inches of ground clearance for weekend adventurers traversing dirt trails.

Subaru says the Solterra was developed as part of a joint venture between it and Toyota, and that it will be built in Japan and China on Toyota’s new all-dedicated electric vehicle platform, known as e-TNGA. Subaru launches its version on the global e-Subaru platform.

Toyota said in April that the new electric vehicle would incorporate Subaru’s deep experience in developing all-wheel drive systems and that Toyota’s version would be called the bZ4X. Toyota says the bZ4X will fall under the Toyota bZ — “beyond zero,” referring to zero emissions — the brand’s umbrella, which includes six other bZ models that will be introduced by 2025.

The Toyota-Subaru partnership is nothing new. It is based on the first generation Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 collaboration that continues today, and the development of the Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid, which uses some Toyota Prius Prime components.

What it rivals: Nissan Ariya, Toyota bZ4X
what it looks like: The offspring of the Subaru Crosstrek and Toyota RAV4.
powertrain: front and rear electric motors with a power of 218 hp; All Wheel Drive
price: $44,000 – $48,000, estimated
For sale: mid 2022

Take CR to

Subaru believers have been anxiously awaiting news of the brand’s entry into the EV market as other automakers, one by one, signaled their intentions. If the Solterra meets the standards for off-road, snowy, light-duty performance set by other Subaru vehicles, then the brand’s EV converters will likely be happy with it. Four-wheel drive and decent ground clearance is a good start, as is good cargo room and interior design cues familiar to anyone who has owned a Subaru built within the past few years.

Pictured: Subaru

the outside

Subaru says the Solterra’s body design is anchored to its trapezoidal grille – seen here as a blank panel because a conventional grille is unnecessary in an EV. Notably, the trapezoidal grille, slim headlight housings and the oval blue brand badge make the Solterra look no different from the Ford Mustang Mach-E from the front, as well as the steeply-storied rear hatch.

But the similarities end there. Solterra’s design can be described as angular and active, with chiseled lines and stabs of black plastic accents that suggest solidity and movement. The roof appears to be decked out with utility rails—a must for any self-respecting Subaru owner, who will likely have bikes, cargo boxes, kayaks, and other kit in that vein to mount to the roof.

Pictured: Subaru

inside

Like many current Subaru models, the large touchscreen dominates the center of the dashboard, although the Solterra is a 12.3-inch horizontal unit. It appears to be running a version of the redesigned infotainment system that debuted on several new Toyota and Lexus models. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be standard, and a wireless smartphone charging base will be optional. The turn signal, wiper stems, and many of the dashboard controls look like they’ve been lifted out of the current Toyota parts enclosure—which isn’t a bad thing.

In terms of size, interior space is smaller than the current Subaru Forester by a few cubic feet. Despite its steep rear windshield, the Solterra offers slightly more cargo space than the Forester. That’s likely because the Solterra has a large, flat load floor, which Subaru says can be arranged at two different heights. The rear seats fold down 60/40 to provide more room for luggage. The rear hatch opening is over 41 inches wide for easy loading and unloading.

Thanks to the e-Subaru platform that supports the Solterra, the floor of its passenger compartment is also flat, which Subaru says helps with legroom.

What drives her?

Subaru has yet to provide details on the individual power outputs of the Solterra’s two electric motors, but their combined power output is 218 hp and 248 lb-ft. of torque. The X-Mode all-wheel drive system will include the traction and hill descent features found on many gasoline-powered Subarus vehicles. The automaker says it has an estimated range of over 220 miles, although that number has not been confirmed by EPA testing. Like every EV, the Solterra will be compatible with both Level 1 and Level 2 charging, as well as DC fast charging. Subaru says the battery can be charged to 80 percent of capacity in less than an hour using DC fast charging.

Solterra’s infotainment system is enabled to take advantage of apps to help the driver find charging stations, and tap into a network of more than 3,000 DC fast chargers and 38,000 Level 2 chargers.

Pictured: Subaru

Security and Active Features

The Solterra will come with EyeSight, Subaru’s suite of advanced active safety features that includes automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic, lane change assist features, and adaptive cruise control. The car will also have a 360-degree view camera and a parking assist feature that applies the brakes if an obstacle is encountered while backing up. A new feature called Safe Exit Assist that alerts occupants of approaching vehicles when exiting the vehicle will also be included.

Pictured: Subaru

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