Update: ‘Subaru Solterra U.S. launch’ section updated.
The Solterra, which the media referred to as the Subaru Evoltis previously, debuted as the first Subaru electric car in November 2021. It was displayed at the 2021 LA Auto Show.
The Subaru Solterra, developed in association with Toyota, is not an electrified Forester or a ‘conversion’ of an existing Subaru product. Subaru has invested in the future by creating the Solterra, an electric car that is not a traditional engine swap. Unlike other auto manufacturers, Subaru has moved forward without waiting to see if electric cars will catch on, with help from Toyota.
Subaru says that it created the name “Solterra” by joining the word “Sol” and “Terra,” which mean the “Sun” and the “Earth,” respectively, in Latin. The C-segment is the most popular class worldwide and gives automakers a very high level of scale and decent margins. That explains why Volkswagen, Nissan, and Skoda focus on electric cars in the C-segment first – consider the VW ID.3, the VW ID.4, Nissan Leaf, Skoda Enyaq iV, and the Nissan Ariya. In line with the industry trend, Subaru has introduced a C-segment BEV first, in the SUV body style.
The Subaru Solterra is basically a differently designed Toyota bZ4X, and that is evident in its identical shape. Subaru appears to have made no sheet-metal changes and dealt with easily swappable parts like the lights, grilles, bumpers, and wheels to keep the costs low.
At the front, the Solterra has bigger headlamps with C-shaped daytime running lights that are typical of Subarus. Subaru has used a unique hexagonal faux radiator grille and a distinctive bumper also to set the new electric SUV apart from its twin. Both parts carry a sharper design, making the front-end more aggressive compared to the Toyota. Another difference is the application of fog lamps on the Subaru model, a feature that aligns well with the brand’s adventure-themed vehicle line-up.
On the sides, the ‘EV’ badge instead of the bZ4X’s ‘ELECTRIC’ badge on the charging port cover and the model-specific alloy wheels are the differences on the Solterra. At the rear, the Solterra again tries to show that it’s very much a Subaru with uniquely designed tail lamps featuring C-shaped light guides. Unlike on the bZ4X, there’s no light band connecting the tail lamps. The interior design is the same, with the steering wheel’s closed bottom spoke being the only exception. There’s no yoke steering or wing-shaped steering option in this model.
The below photograph shows the component structure of the platform with the drive system mounted under the hood and the battery pack embedded in the floor. The Subaru Solterra does not feature a front trunk or a ‘frunk,’ but it does have a nearly flat floor.
The battery capacity of the 2023 Solterra is 72.8 kWh, the same as the bZ4X AWD. Subaru offers the 2023 Solterra in only an AWD configuration with two motors that generate 215 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque. The pure electric SUV delivers an EPA-est. range of only 228 miles in the Premium trim and 222 miles in the Limited and Touring trims.
|Specification||2023 Subaru Solterra (USA)|
|Battery Pack||72.8 kWh|
|EPA-est. EV Range||228 miles (Premium)/ 222 miles (Limited and Touring)|
|EPA-est. Efficiency (MPGe)||94/114/104 – Premium and 93/111/102 – Limited and Touring|
|No. of Motors||Two|
|Motor output (hp)||215|
|Motor Torque (lb.-ft.)||249|
|Max. Charging Power (kW)||6.6 (AC)/100 (DC)|
|Passenger volume (cu.ft)||95.7|
|Cargo volume with rear seat up, luggage compartment deck board up (cu.ft.)||27.7|
|Cargo volume with (rear seat up, luggage compartment deck board down (cu.ft.)||29.0|
|Total passenger & cargo volume (cu.ft.)||126|
|Rear cargo opening width (in.)||41.3|
|Seating Capacity||5 passengers|
|Ground clearance (in.)||8.3|
|Curb Weight (lb.)||4,365 (Premium)/4,455 (Limited)/4,505 (Touring)|
Solterra customers can charge it with up to 6.6 kW with AC using the on-board charger or with up to 100 kW with DC at fast-charging stations. Charging from 0 to 100% SoC on alternating current takes 11 hours. A DC fast-charging session till 80% SoC (presumably from 10% SoC) takes 56 minutes.
All-wheel drive specialist
With Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system, the Solterra should be capable of tackling snow, mud, and gravel with ease. While it’s not a rock-crawler, don’t take it for a high-riding wagon, for it’s a Subaru. It features the dual-function X-Mode system of ICE Subaru models that allows the driver to adapt the vehicle’s components for specific driving conditions like snow/dirt and deep snow/mud. There’s also a newly developed Grip Control, which consists of Hill Ascent and Descent Assist, to refine the SUV’s rough road performance.
There will be quick acceleration response, obviously. Not only that, our long-cultivated AWD capability will be further enhanced by precise, highly-responsive electric motors, which will lead to an increase in Subaru’s strengths such as stability, driving dynamics, and handling.Tomomi Nakamura, President and CEO of Subaru (STEP 2.0 Mid-Term Management Vision Progress Briefing)
In June 2019, Toyota and Subaru agreed to develop a C-segment BEV SUV for sale with their own badges. Subaru borrowed Toyota’s technical resources for the Solterra instead of indigenously developing it because it wanted to keep the investment and risk low. Tomomi Nakamura, Representative Director, President, and CEO, Subaru, had said this in an interview with autonews.com. Concurring that the new electric SUV is a compliance car to adhere to California’s emission regulation, he suggested that the project was driven as much by the law as by the market demand.
Having sold a wide range of hybrid EVs for years now and a few pure EVs recently, Toyota possesses expertise in electrification that Subaru lacks. While Toyota may have a higher contribution to the platform’s development due to its better know-how regarding electrification, Subaru has leveraged its strengths in areas like all-wheel drive and control.
There are still some uncertainties about how fast the market for electric vehicles will grow, how far the cost of batteries will come down, and so on. Under these circumstances, we believe there is an opportunity in efficiently using our relatively limited resources as an automobile manufacturer in model development by switching from in-house development to joint development.Subaru reasoning its decision for a joint BEV development during the Q2 FY2020 analyst briefing Q&A session
Key features of the Solterra are similar to those of the bZ4X, but it doesn’t get all of the Toyota model’s equipment. The Solterra is Subaru’s first vehicle to feature fully automatic parking. Other key features of the brand’s first EV include a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, digital key, heat pump-type AC, X-Mode AWD control system, and Grip Control. Like the bZ4X, the Solterra has a shift-by-wire system with a dial-type gear selector and is available with a solar roof internationally, but not a steer-by-wire system.
The 2023 Subaru Solterra is available in the U.S. in three trims: Premium, Limited, and Touring.
The Premium trim comes with exterior features like LED headlights, windshield wiper de-icer, heated ORVMs, 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/60 R18 tires, etc. Interior highlights include a 7-inch LCD instrument cluster, automatic climate control with S-FLOW, heated front seats, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. A wireless phone charger is available as an accessory.
Subaru Solterra Connect (SSC) offers connected services like cloud-based navigation and Remote Climate Control and Remote Lock/Unlocking via smartphone. These services come with a free trial subscription. On the safety front, Premium includes Blind-Spot Monitor; Rear Camera Detection with Pedestrian Warning; and Parking Support Brake.
The Limited trim upgrades to 20-inch wheels paired with 235/50R all-season tires and adds many features like a split roof spoiler, LED fog lights, power tailgate with automatic close and height memory, rain-sensing wiper system, and roof rails. Inside, it adds a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated outboard rear seats, heated steering wheel, wireless smartphone charger, and 12.3-inch high-res touchscreen infotainment system, and a free one-year subscription to a cloud-based navigation system.
The Solterra Limited is the first-ever Subaru in which a 360-degree camera system is available. Advanced Park enables automated parallel/perpendicular parking in the Limited trim. Plus, Parking Support Brake includes Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Lastly, a digital key is also part of the standard features.
The Touring trim adds a digital IRVM, LED footwell lighting (front and rear), HomeLink, front-seat ventilation, and two-tone paint options.
Subaru Solterra media impressions
According to Motor1.com’s review, the Subaru Solterra’s electric powertrain delivers ample power on highways to keep up with the traffic flow. There’s enough power in reserve for overtaking as well. What might disappoint customers is that the Soleterra’s drive modes only alter the throttle response—the steering and brake feel don’t change.
The Solterra also comes with Dual Function X-Mode and a new low-speed cruise control-like function christened Grip Control. Grip Control auto-adjusts speed while driving off-road and comes with three settings; Low, Medium, and High. With 8.3 inches of ground clearance, the Solterra can easily reach the far end of the trails. Active Cornering Assist and Vehicle Stability Control are standard.
Car and Driver says that customers can switch off stability control completely, after which the EV is happy to drift around on low-grip surfaces. CNET‘s review suggests that the Solterra doesn’t deliver the outright performance like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It could have been more fun to drive if the electric motors were tuned for more power and torque. However, the Solterra makes up for this by outperforming rivals off the beaten path thanks to its more rugged demeanor.
Subaru Solterra U.S. launch
The 2023 Subaru Solterra has started arriving at U.S. dealerships, but its availability is extremely limited. We’ve seen a few dealerships, including W & L Subaru (Northumberland, PA), Faulkner Subaru Of Mechanicsburg (Mechanicsburg, PA), CMA’s Valley Subaru (Staunton, VA), and Pine Belt Subaru (Lakewood, NJ), listing it online. The 2023 Solterra registered just 919 units in sales in 2022, with 94 units recorded in November, the first month of sales, and the remaining (825 units) in December.
|Solterra Premium||USD 44,995|
|Solterra Limited||USD 48,495|
|Solterra Touring||USD 51,995|
Subaru has priced the 2023 Solterra from USD 44,995 plus a USD 1,225 destination and delivery charge. The destination and delivery charge is USD 1,375 in Alaska, and it could vary in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Subaru offers five color options for the 2023 Solterra, along with a two-tone color scheme option for four of them:
|Color||Paint Charge||Two-tone Paint Charge|
|Harbor Mist Gray Pearl||USD 395||USD 890|
|Elemental Red Pearl||USD 395||USD 890|
|Cosmic White Pearl||USD 395||USD 890|
|Galactic Black||USD 0||Not Available|
|Smoked Carbon||USD 0||USD 495|
The company has partnered with EVgo, the largest public fast-charging network in the U.S. to provide Subaru customers access to over 46,000 charging locations across all 50 states. The EVgo network has 800 public fast-charging locations and over 1,200 Level 2 fast chargers in the United States.
Subaru Solterra STI
At the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon held in January, the Subaru booth hosted a surprise debut – the Subaru Solterra STI Concept. As the suffix indicates, this is a concept of the potential performance version of the Subaru electric car. The Solterra STI Concept features a special light blue color, red underbody spoilers on all four sides, a body-colored vertical blade in the side air inlets, gloss black alloy wheels with red highlight, and a gloss black roof spoiler featuring the STI logo on the sides. Subaru hasn’t revealed the technical details or confirmed a Solterra STI launch yet.
Subaru Electric Car FAQs
What is the Subaru Electric Car release date?
The 2023 Subaru Solterra is now available at dealerships in the USA.
What will be the Subaru Electric car price?
Subaru has priced the Solterra from USD 46,220 to compete with offerings from VW, Hyundai, Kia & Nissan.
Which electric SUVs will the Subaru Solterra compete with?
The Solterra challenges the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Toyota bZ4X, VW ID.4 & Nissan Ariya.
Featured Image Source: Subaru