Subaru is making a foray into the electric vehicle market with its first fully-electric car, the Solterra SUV. The Japanese automaker, known for its rally-inspired vehicles, has partnered with Toyota and released the Solterra as part of their joint venture. While Subaru has previously offered mild-hybrid options, the Solterra represents a bold step into the world of electric mobility.
The Solterra takes its name from the Latin words for sun and earth, reflecting its environmentally friendly nature. Built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform, it offers a spacious and flexible design. The SUV is only available in all-wheel drive, a characteristic synonymous with Subaru.
Under the hood, the Solterra boasts a 71 kWh battery powering a twin-motor electric powertrain. With 215 horsepower and 336 Nm of torque, the electric SUV can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. While Subaru claims a range of up to 289 miles, real-world driving may yield closer to 200 miles. However, with 150 kW DC rapid charging capability, the Solterra’s battery can be charged to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.
True to its Subaru heritage, the Solterra offers off-road capabilities with its “X-mode” function, providing versatility and ruggedness on various terrains. On the road, the all-wheel drive system provides ample grip, though the steering may lack precise feedback. Ride quality is excellent, and the electric powertrain offers a quiet driving experience.
The Solterra’s exterior design may appear unconventional at first, with bold wheel arches and plastic elements, but it grows on the observer. Sharp LED headlights and a closed grille contribute to an attractive appearance. Inside, however, the cabin quality doesn’t quite match the Solterra’s price point, with some materials and switchgear feeling subpar. The touchscreen infotainment system is visually appealing but lacks the sophistication and functionality found in competing models.
Two trim levels are available for the Solterra: Limited and Touring. Both come well-equipped, with the Limited featuring 18-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, an electric boot, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen. The Touring model adds larger 20-inch alloy wheels, a glass roof, synthetic leather upholstery, and a Harman Kardon sound system. However, pricing starts at £52,495 for the Limited trim, making it slightly more expensive than the Toyota bZ4X and other competitors like the Nissan Ariya.
In conclusion, the Subaru Solterra marks the brand’s entry into the electric vehicle market with a vehicle that showcases Subaru’s durability and ruggedness. While it offers impressive equipment and driving dynamics, the Solterra falls short in terms of interior quality and range compared to its rivals. Nonetheless, it represents an exciting step forward for Subaru and a compelling option in the growing electric SUV market.
– Ted Welford, “First Drive: Subaru Solterra”