2023 Subaru Solterra debuts in Japan as Edgy EV with full-time AWD

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This is a big day for Subaru. The company’s first foray into the all-electric world is a big one, and we mean it literally. Co-developed with Toyota, den Subaru Solterra is a full-fat EV wrapped in an SUV body with five passengers that really stands out in the crowd. That is, provided that the quantity does not include Toyota bz4x. More on that in a while.

Solterra’s world debut is here, but unfortunately there is still a lot we do not know about this new model. Subaru will sell Solterra in global markets, but this debut focuses on the Japanese model. We’ll get a taste of what American buyers can expect next week ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, but you can bet that all the differences, either aesthetically or mechanically, will be very small if they exist at all.

That said, here’s what you need to know. Solterra puts power to the ground through a pair of electric motors, one for each shaft. Each engine generates 107 horsepower (80 kilowatts) for a combined output of 215 hp (160 kW), and with Subaru’s preference for four-wheel drive vehicles, it’s the only configuration available on the Solterra. It uses the company’s AWD X-Mode system for use on a variety of surfaces, which is further enhanced by the new Grip Control feature that provides extra speed stability.

Solterra’s electricity comes from a 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, which gives the SUV a range of approximately 285 miles (460 kilometers) according to Japan’s WLTC standard. History shows that EPA ratings are generally lower, so expect to see that figure for Solterra’s LA debut. When it comes to charging, Subaru does not offer time estimates, but the SUV can be charged at 150 kW. It should be translated to about half an hour to get back 80 percent of the range.

Solterra’s exterior styling should not come as a surprise right now. Apart from many teasers that led to the debut, Solterra is an almost copy of its brother from another mother, the Toyota bz4x. Subaru replaces the front panel to create a Subie-like mouth where you normally find a grill, and the lower panel looks a little more aggressive with its prominent intake and round driving lights. Sun Terrace’s taillight design is also an almost copy, with the lenses on the rear tailgate specific to Subaru. 18-inch wheels are standard, with 20-inch as an option.

2023 Subaru Solterra interior
2023 Subaru Solterra interior

Inside you will find more familiarity with the bz4x, all the way down to the same center touch screen and digital instrument panel. Minor trim updates should help differentiate the Subie from its Toyota twin, and of course you will see Subaru’s logos galore. With four-wheel drive as standard (front-wheel drive is available at Toyota), expect a more robust, outdoor taste with the Solterra compared to the bz4x. The dimensions also match Toyota, the check-in is 4,690 millimeters (184.6 inches) long, 1,860 mm (73.2 inches) wide and 1,650 mm (65 inches) long. Solterra tips the scales to 4,453 pounds (2,020 kg).

Subaru will offer Solterra in many markets around the world starting in mid-2022. Prices will be announced closer to the sale date, and as previously mentioned, keep an eye out for Solterra’s US debut just before the LA Auto Show on November 17.