Subaru has finally pulled off the curtain on its all-electric 2023 Solterra SUV. It's the brand's first EV and is being joint-developed between it and Toyota.
The Solterra name is actually a portmanteau of the Latin words for sun (sol) and Earth (terra). Clever naming aside, Subaru was clear to point out in a press release (opens in new tab) that by working together with Toyota, it can bring its years of all-wheel drive experience together with Toyota's electrification technology. Right now, the Solterra is set for a 2022 release in the U.S., Canada and Europe and will offer around 329 miles of range.
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The electrification push by Subaru is not surprising. Governments around the world are pushing for it, with many phasing out internal combustion engines (ICE) altogether. Actually, even Japan is mulling over a plan (opens in new tab) to ban ICE cars by 2035, although it's being met with much resistance. Regardless, if Subaru wants to be able to continue selling in the U.S., and especially in parts of Europe, then the move is a necessary one.
From the image posted above, it's not at all surprising the Solterra looks similar to the Toyota bZ4X concept. And considering the two companies worked together on the "Toyobaru" twins, the 2022 Toyota GR-86 and Subaru BRZ, it makes sense the pair would collaborate on an EV SUV.
Either way, here's everything we know about the Subaru Solterra so far.
Subaru Solterra 2023 release
Subaru announced that the 2023 Solterra will go on sale sometime in 2022. It will deliver vehicles to the U.S., Canada, China, Europe and Japan.
Reservations have opened in the U.S., and the Solterra will be available in all 50 states. Customers have to hand over a $250 refundable deposit, after which they can select a dealership, trim and color scheme.
Customers will be contacted sometime in April to finalize the details, which will include pricing and availability.
Subaru Solterra 2023 price
Subaru has not announced a price for the Solterra, but we can make some educated guesses. Among Japanese automakers, Subaru vehicles generally tend to be priced a little higher. Not only is this an issue of production — Subaru simply does not manufacture or sell at the scale of Honda or Toyota — the company tends to focus on key areas, like all-wheel drive, in ways that its competitors do not.
Either way, considering the increased demand on batteries, we suspect that the Solterra will see a starting price in either the upper $30K or low $40K range.
The most expensive part of any electric car is its battery pack. Some automakers, like Mazda with its MX-30, have opted for a smaller battery as most people don't drive more than 130 miles on a daily basis. Tesla, on the other hand, has given its buyers high mileage options to assuage range anxiety concerns.
Subaru Solterra 2023 range
All models of the 2023 Subaru Solterra will come with a 71.4kWh battery. It will provide 329 miles of range based on Japan's WLTC standards. The all-wheel drive version of the Solterra will get 286 miles of range.
The Solterra will come in two drivetrains, either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Considering Subaru's advancements in all-wheel drive, it'll likely be the more popular choice among fans, even if it means 43 fewer miles of range.
The front-wheel drive model will have 201 horsepower with a single 150kW motor turning the front wheels. The all-wheel drive version will instead have two 80kW motors pushing out 214 horsepower.
The Solterra also supports DC fast charging up to 150kW. Subaru did not give an estimate on how long a charge will take. But the Solterra's sibling vehicle, the Toyota BZ4x can get to an 80% charge in 30 minutes.
Subaru has partnered with EVgo to allow customers access to the charging network, though it's currently unclear what this will involve.
Subaru Solterra 2023 features
Subaru hasn't given us too much information on what we can expect with the Solterra. What we do know is that it will include X-Mode AWD control, which "enhances the sense of security on rough roads." There's also a "Grip Control function, which enables the vehicle to run at a constant speed while stabilizing the vehicle even on rough roads, the capability is further enhanced," according to a press release made available to The Verge (opens in new tab).
Being a Subaru, expect a solid all-wheel drive system coupled with advanced safety features. In a prior press release, the automaker said, "Subaru engineers worked to bring together the brand’s all-wheel drive capability, superior driving dynamics and world leading passive safety in a versatile, dedicated EV platform. The result is a technologically advanced full-electric SUV that is also a truly capable and durable Subaru SUV."
Subaru Solterra 2023 Outlook
Considering that Tesla has a greater market capitalization than Ford, while producing six times fewer vehicles, surely any automaker would want a piece of that success.
It's also no surprise that Subaru and Toyota worked together on this project. The pair worked together on the GT86 and BR-Z twins back in the late 2000s, bringing a fun and affordable real-wheel drive sportscar to driving enthusiasts. And if governments are mandating that automakers all switch to electric, then why not work together again and split development costs?
The Solterra will try and fit somewhere in the market for traditional car buyers that may not want to spend the cash on a Tesla Model X, but also want the reliability of a Japanese off roader. Likely, buyers will choose between the Solterra and the Toyota BZ4x, both of which will be very similar.