2023 Subaru Solterra: The Pleiades Star Cluster Has Gone Electric

The 2023 Subaru Solterra is the Japanese automaker’s first attempt at an all-electric vehicle for the masses, but it didn’t do it alone. Similar to the BRZ sports car, Subaru got help from Toyota in the process. The result is a slightly high-riding crossover on a battery electric vehicle platform (or “BEV”) jointly conceived by Toyota and Subaru. It’s typically the same architecture underpinning the Toyota bZ4X, and the resemblance between the former and the Solterra is uncanny.

Nevertheless, the two vehicles have varying intents (in our eyes, at least). Whereas the Toyota has a more refined and premium vibe, the Subaru Solterra has a more rugged and outdoorsy attitude with its plastic-clad fenders, but that’s where the differences end. The Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4X have the same electric components underneath, so choosing between the two boils down to taste and brand loyalty.

2023 Subaru Solterra: What’s New?

The Solterra is an all-electric vehicle that made its global debut in Japan a week ahead of its official U.S. debut at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show. Subaru derived the Solterra moniker from the Latin words for “Sun” and “Earth,” a nod to the brand’s commitment to environmental preservation and sustainability.

The all-new Solterra is a five-seat crossover with 8.3 inches of ground clearance and dual electric motors. In Japan, the Solterra is available with a single electric motor and front-wheel drive.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

The Solterra wouldn’t be a Subaru if it didn’t come with the brand’s mythical symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. All Solterras in the U.S. will have dual electric motors and standard all-wheel drive. Each motor churns out 80 kW of power for a combined output of 215 horsepower and 246 lb-ft. of torque. The drivetrain utilizes Subaru’s electric X-Mode system to deliver relentless grip when you need it most. At the same time, Grip Control with hill ascent and hill descent assist offers surefooted traction over loose or challenging terrain.

2023 Subaru Solterra
2023 Subaru Solterra. Photo: Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru Solterra Range

The Subaru Solterra has a standard 71.4 kWh battery pack to deliver an estimated 220 miles (354 kilometers) of range. On the other hand, the Japanese market Solterra with a single electric motor and FWD is good for 330 miles (based on the Japanese testing cycle), which is more to our liking. We’re pointing this out because new EVs need to have more than 220 miles of range to entice buyers into taking the plunge.

However, Solterra’s estimated driving range is similar to competitors like the Audi e-tron (22 miles), Volvo C40 Recharge (210 miles), and Ford Mustang Mach-E (211 miles). Still, we’re living in a world where the cheapest Tesla Model 3 RWD offers 267 miles of range. If Subaru (and Toyota) want to draw attention, it needs to equal or surpass Tesla’s benchmark.

Speaking of range, the Subaru Solterra accepts Level 1 or Level 2 AC and DC fast-charging when the batteries go flat. According to Subaru, the Solterra can reach 80 percent in under an hour using a 150 kW DC fast charging station.

Go-Anywhere Design

Thanks to the Impreza WRX’s rallying genes, Subaru vehicles have always had a rugged, outdoorsy, and go-anywhere personality, and the Solterra is no different. Brandishing the evolution of Subaru’s Dynamic X Solid design concept, Solterra has the signature hexagonal grille with a low hood line and slim headlight clusters. Meanwhile, the rear design is unmistakably a Toyota, but Solterra has a dual spoiler on top and a sleek ducktail spoiler in the rear hatch to set it apart from the bZ4X.

Inside, Solterra has a similar dashboard layout as the bZ4x. It has a digital instrument cluster and a large touchscreen infotainment display. In addition, you can choose the available 12.3-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, smartphone connectivity (with remote lock/unlock and remote climate control features), and wireless charging.

As expected from a crossover, the 2023 Subaru Solterra has more than enough living space to accommodate a small family. It rides on a 112.2-inch wheelbase with shorter front and rear overhangs and a nearly flat floor, enough to unravel up to 126 cubic feet of passenger and cargo space. And in case you’re interested, Solterra has the same length and height as the Toyota bZ4X, but the latter is 10 mm wider than the former.

2023 Subaru Solterra interior layout.
2023 Subaru Solterra interior layout. Photo: Subaru of America, Inc.

Numerous Standard Safety Features

The 2023 Subaru Solterra is home to the brand’s EyeSight driver assist technology with blind-spot monitoring, lane changing assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and many more. Solterra is the first Subaru to have a 360-degree surround-view camera system and a Safe Exit Assist system. Of course, it also comes standard with many airbags, including side-curtain, side pelvis/torso, and knee airbags.

2023 Subaru Solterra: Pricing & Availability

The 2023 Subaru Solterra arrives at U.S. dealerships in mid-2022 as a 2023 model. Pricing and other info remain forthcoming, but we reckon base prices to start around $35,000 to $37,000.

When the new Subaru Solterra does arrive, our free and easy search tools* will show you dealer inventory in your area. That tool will also help you obtain the invoice price, which is a good starting point for negotiations.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Photos & Source: Subaru of America, Inc.

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