The Last Electric Adventure

Subaru Solterra Full Overview

There’s a feeling of familiarity when you step into the new 2023 Subaru Solterra. The start button is where it’s supposed to be, the side mirror controls are located on the door panel, and the entire interface, from the power cluster ‘digital instruments to the infotainment system, looks like normal. Unlike some of the electric cars that have debuted recently, there’s no learning curve, hidden buttons or advanced technology to cause anxiety. Although the cabin looks more familiar to Toyota buyers than to Subaru loyalists, the Solterra is as simple as electric cars.

If you’re unfamiliar with the company’s first all-electric SUV, here are some details behind its creation. The 2023 Subaru Solterra is the result of a collaboration between Toyota and Subaru. The automakers have jointly developed an electric vehicle platform to produce an SUV for each brand. Everyone had a say in the product, from design to engineering to product planning. Toyota makes both SUVs in Japan, but Subaru assured us that the Solterra meets its wishes, while the new bZ4X meets Toyota’s requirements.

What about range?

A twin-motor setup allows the 2023 Subaru Solterra to use the automaker’s trademark symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and delivers 218 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Premium trims get a range of 228 miles, while Limited and Touring models see a slight drop (222 miles) due to their larger tires. According to Subaru, the 72.8 kWh lithium-ion battery takes about 56 minutes to reach an 80 percent state of charge on a DC fast charger, and its maximum charge capacity is 100 kW. On a Level 2 home charger, it should take about nine hours to get a full battery.

While the Solterra’s range isn’t as impressive as other EVs (like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6), Subaru wasn’t interested in sacrificing capability. The new Solterra features 8.3 inches of ground clearance, the highest of any electric SUV in the segment, which hurts its range as it increases the amount of aerodynamic drag. But more ground clearance means better approach, departure and breakover angles, and like other Subaru owners, Solterra customers will likely go off-road. And while the SUV competes with the aforementioned Korean models, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla’s Model Y, its dimensions are closer to those of a Toyota RAV4.

How is the cabin?

The 2023 Subaru Solterra will be available in Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels, and it’s well-equipped right out of the gate. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard, while Limited and Touring models get a larger 12.3-inch screen. Regardless of size, both screens are equipped with Toyota’s latest infotainment system, which features Google Maps navigation and is compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system is easy to use, has nice graphics and offers a “smart” assistant that responds to commands when you say “Hey, Subaru”. The assistant can change some cabin settings like temperature and can activate the windscreen wipers, but it requires a subscription to connect to the cloud for Google Maps navigation. The first year of this service is free, but after that owners will have to pay a monthly fee.

Based on our first driving experience, we’d opt for the subscription. For example: Say “Hey Subaru, take me to a charger”, and a list of the nearest chargers will appear on the screen. If you decline the subscription, you will lose this feature as well as the estimated range to your destination when using the built-in Google Maps. Subaru hasn’t announced how much it plans to charge for cloud usage, but Toyota prices its service at $16 per month or $160 per year. We expect Subaru’s pricing to be similar.

The cabin is well equipped beyond the fun technology. We drove a base Solterra Premium model and were pleased with the number of features it had – heated seats, dual-zone climate control and four USB ports as standard (including two for the second row). We’re not big fans of the A/C’s capacitive touch controls, though we do appreciate the hard buttons to raise or lower the temperature and to adjust the fan speed. The cabin as a whole is spacious for passengers and cargo. We found the second-row seating position to be a little too low, but the huge legroom makes up for the high knee position. The seats fold flat and you can lower the load floor to accommodate taller items. You can also use a small compartment under the load floor for storage. However, the Solterra lacks frunk, as Subaru used the space to pack the EV’s inverters and cables under the hood.

One minor gripe: The digital instrument cluster sits atop the dash, but away from the driver, and the steering wheel partially blocked our view of it. Unlike most cars where you see the speedometer through the steering wheel, this layout is designed for drivers to see over the steering wheel. But it didn’t work for us. Also, we’re not fans of the piano black trim used on the center console; as usual, it is shiny and easily smudged with fingerprints.

How does it ride?

Like other EVs, the 2023 Subaru Solterra takes advantage of instant torque from its motors, but don’t expect these early versions to look like an STI. It’s got enough power to easily reach highways and for high-speed passing, but it doesn’t impress like other SUVs in the class. That’s not his goal, though. Subaru and Toyota wanted to build an SUV that feels as normal or natural as possible, and the Solterra delivers on that effort. It’s not the most thrilling electric SUV to drive, but it gets the basics right while hopefully delivering the reliability and off-road capability that Toyota and Subaru are known for.

Subaru expects the Solterra to hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. That number puts it near the bottom of the class, but that’s not necessarily bad. Torque seems limited with Normal mode on, but select Power mode, and the Solterra packs more punch. Its all-wheel-drive system can send up to 60 percent of torque to the rear wheels under hard acceleration, making the initial feeling of thrust more apparent. Eco mode is the opposite, shutting off power to conserve battery.

The Solterra ride especially impressed us. The damping system provides a great feel, easily tackling road imperfections while keeping the chassis stable. Even on poorly maintained dirt roads, the Solterra’s suspension kept things relatively quiet in the cabin, and it doesn’t feel like a heavy EV. His direction is not as extraordinary; it’s soft and doesn’t feel as much as we’d like, even when you select Power mode.

Off the pavement, however, the Solterra proves to be a Subaru at heart. On a trail in the Tonto National Forest outside of Phoenix, we hopped on three wheels without losing traction, and with the help of X-Mode with Grip Control, we maintained a controlled pace uphill or downhill. descending from the hills. It wasn’t the most hardcore off-road experience, but the Solterra proved to be quite capable.

How much does it cost?

Pricing for the 2023 Subaru Solterra has not been announced, but we expect it to start around $42,000, not including any state or federal tax credits. However, buyers interested in a Solterra but who were unable to make a reservation will have to wait. Subaru is only producing 6,500 units this year, and all of them are accounted for. The company said it plans to offer many more units in 2023, but the exact number is yet to be confirmed.

This seems good! More details?

2023 Subaru Solterra Specs
STARTING PRICE $42,000 (MT East)
ARRANGEMENT Front and rear engine, all-wheel drive, 5-door and 4-door SUVs
MOTORS 218 hp/249 lb-ft permanent magnet type electric
TRANSMISSION 1-speed automatic
UNLOADED WEIGHT 4,400 to 4,500 lbs (manufacturer)
WHEELBASE 112.2 inches
L x W x H 184.6 x 73.2 x 65.1 inches
0-60MPH 6.5 sec (mfr east)
EPA FUEL ECONOMY 111-114/93-94/102-104
EPA RANGE (COMB) 222-228 miles
ON SALE Spring 2022