2023 Subaru Solterra Enters the Growing EV Crossover Market
Playing off its reputation for sensible, earth-friendly adventure vehicles, Subaru joins the EV marketplace with a small crossover designed around the outdoorsy activities Subaru owners are known for. The 2023 Solterra—whose name is a combination of the Latin words for “Sun” and “Earth,” is a small, AWD, two-motor electric SUV that’s closely related to Toyota’s bZ4X but is tweaked to appeal to the Subaru customer.
Photos of the Solterra show a long wheelbase with short overhangs at nose and tail. Subaru’s current design language of plastic-cladded sides extends beyond the wheel arches up the front fenders to flank a body-color hexagonal grille whose blocked-out design clearly defines the Solterra as an electric vehicle at first look. In the back are jutting awnings of rear roof spoiler over complicated multi-element taillights. A glass roof lights up the cabin over both front and rear seats.
Inside, the seating position is almost van-like, with a low dash and instrument panel set above the steering wheel. The center console is divided into multiple smaller storage areas, including a wireless charging pad. The cabin looks bright and spacious, with textured material on the seats and along the dash. In the center of the dash sits a 12.3-inch screen with wireless smartphone connection.
Subaru’s AWD system in the Solterra is controlled by two electric motors mounted between the front and rear axles that produce a total of 215 horsepower. The Solterra comes with X-mode, which controls each wheel individually to provide better traction on uneven or slippery surfaces, and Subaru’s “Grip Control,” acts as a cruise control even in off-road situations. Three driving modes are available: Eco, Normal, and Power, and regenerative braking can be adjusted with the steering wheel paddles.
Range and performance numbers are not yet released, but Subaru says the cruising range was designed with “the distances of daily use” in mind, and that the Solterra will be compatible with DC quick-charging. The battery should be the same size as the bZ4X’s, which provides roughly 64.0 kWh of capacity. We should get more detailed U.S. information on Subaru’s new EV when it debuts next week at the Los Angeles auto show.
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