LOS ANGELES – Subaru has just pulled the curtain off of the Solterra. The first EV from the company to be sold around the world, the Solterra will offer an estimated 354 km of range, standard all-wheel drive, and is ready to join a segment that is set to explode in Canada over the next year.
Solterra is a joint project between Subaru and Toyota, their second after the BRZ/86 sports coupe. This time, Subaru says it was a 50-50 split, with an equal number of engineers from both companies involved. Subaru brought its AWD knowledge, drivetrain knowledge, and passive safety design experience to the project, the automaker said.
Starting with the driveline, the Solterra will come to Canada with just one setup. A 71.4 kWh (usable) battery sends power to two electric motors, one at each end of the vehicle. Power output is 215 hp, equally split front and rear, along with 246 lb-ft of torque. Subaru wasn’t able to give a curb weight at the reveal, but, like with most of the brand’s models, don’t expect this to be a rocket ship in the way we’ve come to expect from EVs of a certain brand.
Not yet officially tested, Subaru says its estimates suggest a range of more than 354 km on a charge. With 150 kW L3 charging capability, Subaru said that a 0-80 percent L3 charge should take under an hour.
The nose is the only part of the Solterra that says Subaru as far as styling. The filled-in hexagonal grille is unique to the Subaru side of the partnership, and we’ll point out here that Subaru is far more upfront about Solterra and Toyota bZ4X being largely the same vehicle than most automakers would be, the rest is more RAV4 than Forester, though it is a stylish shape. That nose, the front and rear lights, hatch trim, and wheel garnish are the main differences between the two on the outside.
Inside, Solterra has an unusual gauge placement, moving the digital dash above the steering wheel to give it an interesting balance between head-up display and conventional gauges. This is a wide vehicle (wider than Outback despite being similar in length to Forester), and the cabin takes full advantage of the space to give a feeling of airiness and room. The 2023 Solterra will have up to 849L of cargo space behind the rear seats, with an adjustable load floor that can deliver maximum size or a flat floor from the large hatch opening through to the backs of the front seats.
Infotainment is a new system for Subaru, using the all-new System Toyota has launched with the new Tundra and Lexus NX. We didn’t spend time with it at this reveal but I have used the system in the Tundra and it is a massive improvement over the existing systems from both automakers. “Hey, Subaru” voice control will be part of the package, and able to change climate settings as well as handle basic audio and nav commands. A full cloud-based nav and intelligent assistant will be a subscription service. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both included, with the base Solterra using an 8.0-inch screen and a 12.3-inch version available.
Standard active safety tech will include pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane departure warning, blind spot alert, and new Safety Exit Assist which lets you know if you’re about to open your door into a moving car or cyclist. A 360-degree surround-view will be available, the first time Subaru has offered this.
One pedal driving won’t be offered, but Subaru’s S-Pedal will come close. That system will bring the vehicle almost to a stop using regenerative braking, and Subaru said that in the highest regen mode (controlled by steering wheel paddles) that the deceleration would be like putting a gas car into 1st gear. Dual-mode X-Mode off-road settings will be included and, again new for Subaru, Grip Control mode that offers hill ascent and descent speed control.
The 2023 Subaru Solterra is expected to go on sale in mid-2022, offered in one trim level with tech and luxury package options. Subaru didn’t have pricing for the model yet, but expressed that they do have federal and provincial EV incentives in mind.