The 2023 Subaru Solterra is the Japanese automaker’s first fully electric vehicle, and the compact crossover SUV is a joint venture between Toyota, which sells this same EV under the moniker. Mechanically, you won’t find much difference between Subaru’s Solterra and its Toyota-badged cousin. Subaru said it was responsible for tuning the all-wheel-drive system, which will be standard on US-spec Solterras. In other countries, the Solterra will be available with a single-motor, front-wheel-drive configuration that won’t be available in the US.
The 2023 Subaru Solterra is powered by a 71.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack and two electric motors, producing 215 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Subaru estimates a driving range of about 220 miles, which isn’t bad but also isn’t great. The company also says the Solterra is capable of DC fast-charging and while Subaru has yet to confirm US-spec details, the global variant can accept charging speeds up to 150 kW, allowing the battery to reach 80% capacity in under an hour.
The 2023 Subaru Solterra has 8.3 inches of ground clearance and is equipped with its X-Mode all-wheel-drive tech. X-Mode incorporates a function called grip control, which is sort of like low-speed off-road cruise control with hill ascent and descent assist.
The Japanese brands tend to take a more cautious approach to new technologies than their European counterparts, and this explains why the likes of Mazda, Toyota, and Subaru have taken their time to reveal fully electric models. For Subaru, this landmark expansion begins with the fully electric Solterra SUV.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Along with the fact that the 2023 Subaru Solterra is powered exclusively by electricity, it has an all-wheel-drive system utilizing two electric motors that generate a combined 215 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. That power can be deployed differently depending on the drive mode, of which there are four: Eco, Normal, Power, and X-mode, which is intended to help in slippery conditions or on uneven terrain by independently modulating the power to each wheel.
For those interested in taking the 2023 Subaru Solterra off-road, it has 8.3 inches of ground clearance and a “Grip Control” feature that’s essentially a low-speed cruise control. The paddles on the steering wheel allow the regenerative-braking force to be adjusted.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
While Subaru hasn’t disclosed how big the Solterra’s battery pack is, or how much useable capacity it has, the company is estimating a driving range that exceeds 220 miles on a single charge. Subaru is equally mum on the subject of charging times, only saying that the Solterra is compatible with DC fast-chargers and “capable of a significant charge in under an hour.”
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The 2023 Subaru Solterra‘s interior features a high-mounted digital gauge cluster, a big touchscreen for the infotainment system, and an elevated center console with what looks like a rotary shift knob. The steep windshield, large side glass, and panoramic sunroof appear to give the cabin an airy feel.
The mix of attractive textures throughout also contributes to a fetching aesthetic. Along with the various storage spots, including the large bin under the center console, the Solterra makes for a useful travel companion with up to 30 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded flat.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Solterra’s infotainment system is available with a 12.3-inch touchscreen that’s located in the center of the dash. Every model features standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wireless phone charger. The inclusion of a smartphone app lets users remotely control the HVAC system for pre-conditioning the cabin or to lock and unlock the doors, among other things. We also expect built-in navigation and possibly an upgraded stereo option to be on the roster.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every Solterra is stuffed with a host of standard driver-assistance technology that includes automatic high-beam headlights and—for the first time on a Subaru—a 360-degree camera system. For more information about Solterra’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
Engine and Transmission
Dimensions and Measurement
Seating Capacity5 seater