Pros: Standard all-wheel drive; moderate off-road capability; optimized interior space
Cons: Middling driving range and charging time; shared Toyota platform means some “true Subaru” character is lost; some hard-plastic interior bits
CG Says: Subaru enters the pure-electric vehicle market with a new-for-2023 5-passenger compact crossover SUV. The 2023 Subaru Solterra is a joint venture with Toyota, which offers its version as the bZ4X. While the two vehicles use the same platform, the Subaru is unique in that, in typical Subaru fashion, it is only offered with all-wheel drive. This is accomplished via front and rear electric motors. Add in a fair amount of ground clearance, notable water-fording ability, and off-road electronic aids, and the Solterra is targeted to the Subaru customer with off-pavement aspirations.
The dual electric motors produce 215 horsepower combined. Subaru estimates driving range from 222 to 228 miles depending on trim level, and 102 to 104 MPGe in combined city/highway driving. A full charge with a Level 2 charger takes about 9 hours, while a fast charger can deliver an 80-percent charge in about an hour. Three trim levels are offered. The Premium features cloth upholstery, heated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen with cloud-based navigation, and 18-inch wheels. The Limited adds a 12.3-inch touchscreen, premium audio, wireless phone charging, roof rails, power liftgate, faux-leather upholstery and 20-inch wheels. A sunroof, ventilated front seats and ambient interior lighting round out the Touring. Standard safety equipment on the Solterra includes dynamic radar cruise control with lane tracing assist, lane departure prevention, emergency steering assist, intersection collision avoidance assist, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision low-speed acceleration suppression, proactive driving assist (for pedestrian and cyclist avoidance) lead vehicle start alert, and road sign assist with vehicle speed limit warning. Other safety-related features include a rear-seat reminder, rear-view camera with pedestrian warning, and safe exit assist (a new feature for Subaru that audibly and visually warns occupants of approaching vehicles before they attempt to exit the vehicle).
The Solterra’s battery pack is structurally integrated into the floor of the vehicle, not unlike many competitive EVs. This coupled with a relatively long wheelbase (axles pushed out to the ends) makes for a respectable amount of passenger and cargo space. This construction adds to collision safety and body rigidity, the latter resulting in a quiet and comfortable ride. The Solterra has decently brisk acceleration, and the regenerative braking can be easily adjusted for varying levels of “one-pedal” driving. To enhance off-road performance, settings on the electronic drive-mode system can be selected for different terrain, and the Grip Control system can modulate throttle and brakes while climbing or descending hills. While it’s a little late to the EV party and only available in limited numbers for now, the 2023 Subaru Solterra is a distinctive EV that captures the active lifestyle spirit of the Subaru brand.
|Body Style(s)||4-door wagon|
|Drive Wheels||all-wheel drive|
|Nation of Manufacture||Japan|
|Base Prices||Premium: $46,220
|EPA City Range (MPGe)
|EPA Hwy Range (MPGe)