The Subaru Solterra had its global premiere ahead of the LA Auto Show in a few days’ time. It was developed in partnership with Toyota, and is largely similar to the bZ4x. But Subaru have added a few touches of their own. Stay tuned for a First Look and ALL You Need To Know…! And stick around to the end where we give our opinion on what Subaru have achieved!
Design & Styling
So, let’s start off with design and styling. Now we want to pay respect to the creatives and designers at Subaru…and…as difficult as it may be… forget about Toyota and talk about the Solterra in its own right.
It cuts a silhouette quite familiar to the cross-over SUVs that we’re seeing in such large numbers these days. Although it’s a lot shaper and much more angular than the likes of an iD.4 or a Telsa Model Y.
Wheel arches decked in a black plastic trim really cut into the body and give it a more rugged look. Sitting on 18” rims it looks a little more utilitarian, but you can option 20” rims that we think a lot of people will favour.
At the front, Subaru have adorned the Solterra with a hexagonal closed off grille and C-shaped light cluster to remind us of the Subaru design language. A stylish V-shaped crease wraps the headlight and runs up the bonnet to meet the A-pillar.
Inside, from the footage we’ve seen so far, we have some nice plush materials, and a relatively clean centre console that offers a 12.3 inch screen. The centre console floats over some good storage space. The 3-spoke steering wheel has a smattering of buttons to control the usual functions like radio, volume, cruise control and a few other toggle options.
Subaru, at least initially, will be coming to market with just the AWD version. So what do I mean there? Let’s look at the details. We have two 80kW motors, one on the front and one on the back. That gives a total output of 160kW and 215hp. So we’ll be expecting good traction from the Solterra in line with the brand’s heritage. And will that get us off the line fast? Well, we’re looking at a 0-100kmh or 0-62mph time of seven and a half seconds. So it’s brisk enough in the grand scheme of things, but certainly not as fast as some of the competition!
We’re hoping that the AWD set-up in the Solterra favours off-road traction and capability as opposed to straight-line performance on the drag strip. This would be supported by Subaru employing their AWD x-Mode and Grip Control Feature.
We hope to get our hands on one soon to test it out!
Let’s talk about the size before we jump back to the juicy stuff like batteries, range and charging!
So the Solterra won’t be as big as some of the cross-over SUVs we’re seeing out there lately, but it’s still a significant size and will weigh in at a fraction over 2 tonnes. It’s going to be 4.7m long and 1.65m tall with a wheel-base of 2.85m which is substantial. It allows the designers to push the wheels out to the corners and establish a bit more space inside the cabin. So there is ample room for adults in the back, and couple that with the glass roof, it should feel relatively airy inside. Ground clearance is a tasty 210mm for those that are thinking of taking it off road.
Battery & Range & Charging
So, what sort of battery, range and charging do we get in the Solterra? Well, we have a decent capacity of 71.4kWh. We’re still waiting on official figures but a spec sheet we’ve seen indicates an estimated range of 460km. That would be impressive from a battery that size in a car that heavy…so we expect real-world range to be a bit less than that.
And what about getting some electrons back into the battery? Well, we have 6.6kW on AC as standard. That’s probably adequate for most people, but it’s not really impressive, and certainly not impressive by the time the Subaru actually hits public roads in the hands of customers. But we suspect that there will be an 11kW or more AC option. Especially for European markets where there are a lot of 22kW AC posts.
On DC, Subaru are doing pretty well. The Solterra will take 150kW if you can find a charger fast enough to put that out, which depending on where you live in the world, may be tricky enough. It’s way too early to tell what the charging curve will be. Will it hold the 150kW rate for a while? We’ll see.
Summary & Competition
So what do you make of your First Look at Subaru’s Solterra? We think it’s a pretty decent offering, although we would be critical of both Toyota and Subaru for taking so long to get something to market. We really would have liked to see a vehicle like this in customers’ hands 5 years sooner.
But let’s put that in the past and welcome them to the table. Although not for everyone, the design is sharp and modern. The AWD features will be hugely attractive to people living in colder climates, and those that like to take their SUV off road every now and again.
We can see the Tesla fans being critical of the Solterra’s charging and speed off the line, but we suspect that the Subaru buyer will be a different market altogether!
But that’s enough from us today, let us know what you think in the comments below. We love to hear from people all over the world! Have Subaru delayed too long in getting to market, and will they be left behind? Or maybe you just like the look of the Solterra, and really value the AWD functionality?
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