The Car Connection Subaru Solterra Overview
The Subaru Solterra is a fully electric crossover SUV built in partnership with Toyota. The brand’s first global electric vehicle shares a platform, design, cabin, and features with the Toyota BZ4X, but its all-wheel-drive system and off-road capability sets it apart from its twin and other electric crossovers.
MORE: Read our 2023 Subaru Solterra review
Late to arrive but necessary for Subaru to keep up with a evolving global marketplace shaped by increasingly stringent emissions regulations, the Solterra doesn’t revolutionize a segment populated by vehicles such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, as well as the Toyota BZ4X.
The new Subaru Solterra
Sized like the Subaru Forester but designed like a Toyota RAV4, the Solterra wears its black cladding on its sleeve, fenders, bumpers, rockers—you get the idea. A roofline with available roof rails leads to a split roof spoiler that flows down a raked rear windshield lacking a windshield wiper and out over a duckbill spoiler. Inside, the Solterra wears Toyota’s latest accessories, with a wide center console covered in gloss black plastic and topped with an available 12.3-inch touchscreen. The most distinctive element to Toyota, Subaru, and any other vehicle, is a digital instrument cluster recessed so far from the steering wheel on a plastic tray that it nearly touches the windshield.
Behind the wheel, the Solterra rides quieter and with more punch than any other Subaru SUV. Two 80-kw motors power either axle for standard all-wheel drive, and the Solterra goes from 0-60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. Power comes from a 72.8-kwh battery pack, and the range caps out at an EPA-estimated 228 miles. Three off-road drive modes adjust traction settings and throttle response, and the Solterra’s 8.3 inches of ground clearance and water fording capability give it some bona fides missing in rival electric crossovers. Five regenerative brake settings return some energy to the battery, but the Solterra lacks a true one-pedal drive mode. Unlike other Subarus, the Solterra isn’t equipped to tow, but the roof can hold a static load of 700 lb.
Drive mode switches in the console and a heating and cooling bar provide relief from relying on the touchscreen, but the wide center console eats up front leg room. With seats for five but comfort for four, the Solterra’s back seat has plenty of leg room, and the 60/40-split rear seats fold down to expand the cargo area from 30 cubic feet. Water-repellant synthetic leather made with recycled plastic bottles upholsters the inside, but all the plastic trim pieces and a band of machine-like corduroy trim on the dash fail to give it an inviting interior presence.
Like most other Subarus, the Solterra comes equipped with a suite of driver-assist features that help to avoid or mitigate crashes as well as add comfort over longer distances. Using a single camera with radar instead of its EyeSight dual-camera system, the Solterra comes with automatic emergency braking front and rear, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and an available surround-view camera system that’s as helpful for parking as it is for off-roading.
Standard features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats, and at least five USB ports. Available features include power front seats with cooling, a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, and Harman Kardon sound.
A heat pump and eco-minded climate control settings increase the efficiency of the Solterra, which goes about 3.1 miles per kwh, and has an EPA-rated 104 MPGe combined. The range meter doesn’t indicate battery power percentages, instead relying on a range guesstimator. DC Fast-charging at up to 100 kw will enable an 80% charge in about 56 minutes. A 240-volt Level 2 charger with 32 amps will charge in nine hours.