2023 Subaru Solterra EV charges to production with estimated range of 220 miles

Built on a platform shared with the Toyota bZ4X, the Solterra promises to be off-road ready for weekend adventurers.

By Benjamin Preston

As Subaru prepares to debut its first-ever electric vehicle, the Solterra, we caught up with it at the New York International Auto Show this week. New outdoor-inspired compact SUV uses a twin-motor electric powertrain to form a new version of Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, delivering 8.3 inches of ground clearance for weekend adventurers through dirt trails.

Subaru says the Solterra was developed through a joint venture between it and Toyota, and will be built in Japan and China on Toyota’s new dedicated all-electric vehicle platform, known as the name of e-TNGA. Subaru calls its version the e-Subaru Global Platform.

Toyota said last April that the new electric vehicle would incorporate Subaru’s extensive experience in developing all-wheel-drive systems and that the Toyota version would be called bZ4X. Toyota says the bZ4X will fall under its Toyota bZ umbrella brand – “beyond zero”, a zero-emissions benchmark, which includes six other bZ models to be introduced by 2025.

The Toyota-Subaru partnership is not new. It builds on the first-generation Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 collaboration that continues today, and the development of the Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid, which uses some components from the Toyota Prius Prime.

What it competes with: Nissan Ariya, Toyota bZ4X
What did he look like: The offspring of a Subaru Crosstrek and a Toyota RAV4.
Powertrain : Front and rear electric motors with a combined output of 218 hp; all wheel drive
Price: $44,000 to $48,000, estimated
On sale: Mid-2022

Taking CR

Subaru loyalists eagerly await news of the brand’s entry into the electric vehicle market as one after another automakers signal their intentions. If the Solterra meets the light off-road and snow-weather performance standards set by Subaru’s other cars, the brand’s EV converts will most likely be happy with it. All-wheel drive and decent ground clearance are a good start, as is good cargo space and interior styling cues familiar to anyone who’s owned a Subaru built in the last few years.

Photo: Subaru

Outside

Subaru says the Solterra’s body styling is pinned to its trapezoidal grille, seen here as a blank panel, because a traditional grille isn’t necessary on an EV. It’s worth noting that the draft trapezoidal grille, slim headlight housings and oval-shaped blue marque badge make the Solterra look like Ford’s Mustang Mach-E from the front, as does its rear hatch. deeply inclined.

The similarities end there, however. The Solterra’s styling could be described as angular and active, with chiseled lines and black plastic accents suggesting ruggedness and movement. The roof appears to be adorned with utility rails – a must for any self-respecting Subaru owner, who likely has bikes, cargo boxes, kayaks and other kit in that vein to attach to the roof.

Photo: Subaru

Inside

Much like many current Subaru models, the center of the dash is dominated by a large touchscreen, although the Solterra is a 12.3-inch horizontally oriented unit. And it appears to be running a version of the redesigned infotainment system that’s debuting on many new Toyota and Lexus models. Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay will be standard, and a wireless smartphone charging station will be optional. The turn signal and wiper stalks, as well as several of the dashboard controls, look like they’ve been removed from Toyota’s existing parts bin, but that’s not a bad thing.

In terms of volume, the interior space is smaller than the current Subaru Forester by a few cubic feet. Despite its steeply raked rear window, the Solterra offers a little more cargo space than the Forester. That’s probably because the Solterra has a large, flat load floor, which Subaru says can be arranged at two different heights. The 60/40 split rear seats fold down for even more cargo space. The rear hatch opening is over 41 inches wide for easy loading and unloading.

Thanks to the e-Subaru platform that underpins the Solterra, its cabin floor is also flat, which Subaru says helps with legroom.

What motivates him

Subaru has yet to provide details on the individual power output of the Solterra’s two electric motors, but their combined power output is 218 hp and 248 lb-ft. of torque. The all-wheel-drive system will include X-Mode traction and descent features found on many gas-powered Subarus. The automaker claims the estimated range is over 220 miles, though that figure hasn’t been confirmed by EPA testing. Like all electric vehicles, the Solterra will be compatible with Level 1 and Level 2 charging, as well as commercial DC fast charging. According to Subaru, the battery can be charged to 80% capacity in less than an hour using DC fast charging.

The Solterra’s infotainment system is enabled to use apps to help the driver find charging stations, tapping into a network of more than 3,000 DC fast chargers and 38,000 Level 2 chargers.

Photo: Subaru

Safety and active functions

The Solterra will come with EyeSight, Subaru’s suite of advanced active safety features that includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic, lane-change assist features and cruise control. adaptive. The car will also come with a 360-degree camera and a park assist feature that applies the brakes if an obstacle is encountered while reversing. A new feature called Safe Exit Assist which warns passengers of approaching vehicles when exiting the car will also be included.

Photo: Subaru

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