2023 Subaru Solterra debuts in Japan ahead of official US debut

Alvin Reyes - Nov 11, 2021, 6:19am CST
2023 Subaru Solterra debuts in Japan ahead of official US debut

The 2023 Subaru Solterra got its first taste of the spotlight in its home market of Japan recently. Subaru began teasing us with the Solterra last May as the brand’s first-ever all-electric vehicle. And then, the automaker released a teaser photo of the Solterra’s front clip on the dirt a few days prior. Subaru also made it clear the Solterra will make its official debut at the LA Auto Show on November 17, 2021.

But now, Subaru has spilled the beans on its first production EV, and it’s essentially a redesigned Toyota bZ4X. The Solterra is riding on a BEV-dedicated e-Subaru Global platform developed with Toyota, available with a single (FWD) motor or dual (AWD) electric motors and a 71.4 kWh battery pack.

Subaru claims the FWD Solterra achieves 330 miles of range (Japanese testing cycle), while the AWD version is good for 285 miles. Of course, the EPA range figures will be marginally lower, so it’s safe to assume the AWD model can go 250 miles before the battery goes flat.

And if it does, Solterra accepts DC fast-charging up to 150 kW to replenish the batteries (from zero to 80-percent) in around 30 minutes. Subaru is also kind enough to install a heat pump for the heated seats and tiller without drawing too much power from the batteries.

Meanwhile, the Solterra AWD features the brand’s proprietary X-MODE control system for enhanced all-terrain capabilities. Subaru adds the AWD has a new Grip Control function that allows the vehicle to run at a constant speed when traversing inhospitable terrain. The Solterra is not a full-on electric off-road driving machine like the Rivian R1S, but it does have the chops to keep going when the tarmac ends.

Style-wise, there’s not much to distinguish the Solterra from its Toyota bZ4X platform twin, although the Scooby has a unique hexagon grille and a new taillight design. Oh, it also gets bespoke 18-inch wheels, but larger 20-inch rollers are optional. In terms of size, Solterra is riding on a similar 2,850 mm wheelbase and is the same length and height as the Toyota (although the Bz4X is 10 mm wider).

It’s the same story inside as the Solterra has the same dashboard layout with a digital instrument cluster and center touchscreen. Strangely absent is the optional wing-shaped steering wheel of the Toyota, but we reckon the Solterra has inherited the steer-by-wire system with a 150-degrees lock-to-lock ratio. We also fancy those orange seats to provide a nice contrast to the predominantly gray interior.

The Subaru Solterra will arrive at global Subaru dealerships in mid-2022. We expect pricing, trim models, and other info to come early next year, but we’ll know more about the new Solterra at its official US debut at the LA Auto Show next week.


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