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2023 Subaru Solterra first look: The lifestyle-minded all-electric compact crossover

2021 AutoMobility LA / LA Auto Show

The 2023 Subaru Solterra officially made its global debut at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show and it aims to take the fight to the likes of the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E. Subaru’s first battery-electric vehicle is similar in size to the Forester and unlike most of its competitors, it boasts a generous 8.3 inches of ground clearance. That adds to the Solterra looking like a proper crossover instead of a raised hatchback.

If you think the 2023 Subaru Solterra looks similar to the Toyota bZ4x that’s because they’re siblings. However, it gets unique design cues to distinguish it like an enclosed grille, C-shaped LED daytime running lights, and split C-shaped taillights instead of the full-width one found in the Toyota. Both cars ride on the same underpinnings. Subaru’s version of the Toyota e-TNGA platform, dubbed the e-Subaru Global Platform, was engineered alongside the dual-motor AWD system for stability, handling, and improved safety. Between its two electric motors, the Solterra makes 215 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque.

Subaru didn’t reveal the battery size but it’s likely the same 71.4-kWh pack found in the Japanese-market model and its Toyota sibling. On a single charge, the Solterra should be able to travel over 220 miles. You’ll be able to charge the Solterra using a level 2 AC charger or DC charger, the latter of which should get the battery back up to 80 percent from empty in under an hour. The Solterra should have the same peak DC charging speed of 150 kW as its sibling, the Toyota bZ4x.

Subaru debuted a new version of its X-Mode system on the Solterra. This third version adds grip control, which provides hill ascent and descent assist, on top of improving performance in low-grip situations. The dual-motor AWD system provides better torque management, improving traction, and overall capability in all road conditions.

The Solterra gets a full suite of driver assistance features as standard equipment. This includes front automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Safe exit assist, which lets you know of oncoming vehicles or pedestrians before you exit the vehicle, is a new addition. The Solterra is also the first Subaru to get a surround-view camera system. Like the rest of its vehicles, Subaru is aiming to get the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS with the Solterra.

You’ll find an available 12.3-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility inside the Solterra. From what we can tell, the crossover appears to be using its version of Toyota’s latest user interface, which is not a bad thing. That system, which we experience in the 2022 Tundra and 2022 Lexus NX, is intuitive, responsive, and easy to use. It can also be equipped with a wireless charger on the center console. The Solterra also gets new tech features including remote start and an app that lets you warm or cool the cabin before you leave, and lock or unlock the vehicle.

The 2022 Subaru Solterra goes on sale in mid-2022 and will be available in all 50 states. Expect more electrified vehicles to join the Subaru lineup as the company continues to collaborate with Toyota and other Japanese automakers as part of a partnership in developing battery-electric models.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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