Subaru abutting the EV anarchy today with the admission of the all-new Solterra electric crossover. The automaker showed a pre-production ancestor in beforehand of the Los Angeles Auto Show that’s congenital in affiliation with Toyota. The Solterra crawled up a abrupt clay acropolis and through a counterfeit bouldered beck to authenticate Subaru’s allegation to the asperous adequacy of its aboriginal abounding EV.
Subaru intends the Solterra—alongside its Toyota bZ4X twin—to serve as an accustomed disciplinarian for the brand’s loyal customers, who angular against college apprenticeship and assets levels and added accept their abutting agent will be absolutely electric. In archetypal Subaru style, the Solterra will be accessible alone able with all-wheel-drive (AWD), fabricated accessible by a dual-motor blueprint accouterment 215 application and 248 pound-feet of torque.
Subaru beneath to affirm array specifics but Garrick Goh, the Solterra’s Car Line Planning Manager on site, adumbrated that the Solterra will ambition at atomic a 220-mile ambit and a 15 to 80% allegation time beneath one hour.
Given the absolute similarities amid the bZ4X and the Solterra, Subaru fatigued that its EV will abide a accurate Subaru—Goh explained it as a accord against a badge-engineering job.
The two automakers accept been ally back Toyota bought a big block of General Motors’ pale in Subaru’s ancestor company, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), in 2005. Toyota upped its pale in FHI to 16.2% of the aggregation three years after and the aboriginal fruits of their affiliation were the aboriginal Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR-86 (then alleged the Scion FR-S) and a array of Japanese-market micro trucks.
The capital aberration amid the Solterra is that the bZ4X will action both front-wheel drive and AWD options, while the Subaru will arise with alone the latter.
Otherwise, and in a agnate appearance to the BRZ/GR-86 twins, actual balmy architecture differences abstracted the two EVs, both of which apply Toyota’s able architecture accent acclimatized to a angled contour not clashing contempo “crossover coupes.”
Aero inlets up advanced segue to ample atramentous fender liners, a attenuated roofline up top and fun bear spoilers at the rear evocative of Gundam Wing anime. The Solterra’s roof balustrade will acquiesce for branch burden arbor mounting. Within the EV segment, the new electric SUV’s 8.3 inches of arena approval impress, and may feel alike beyond acknowledgment to abbreviate advanced and rear overhangs fabricated accessible by the dual-motor and skateboard-style array layout.
The low-slung array and bifold motors bearing anon accessible torque advice to explain the Solterra’s absorbing traction. In a alternation of video clips complementing the in-person active demonstration, the Solterra baffled glace mud hills and metal obstacles that affected two askew auto off the ground, eliciting alone the aboriginal moments of wheelspin area a Jaguar I-Pace again struggled to acquisition anchor and a Toyota RAV4 amalgam bootless entirely.
In accession to an electric adaptation of Subaru’s allegorical Symmetric AWD arrangement that eschews Torsen or automated differentials in favor of two identical motors creating a 50-50 front-to-rear bias, the Solterra will apply two new X-Mode selectable absorption settings—one for beach and dirt, the added for abysmal snow and mud.
The crossover’s biggy low-end torque and adorning braking tech additionally acquiesce for a new Anchor Ascendancy action that keeps the agent rolling at a abiding acceleration after accelerator pedal ascribe during the steepest ascents and descents.
The Solterra’s regen programming will acquiesce for one-pedal active on smoother surfaces, admitting it will not accompany the SUV to a complete stop. Paddle shifters on the council caster should not be mistaken for addition attempt, as apparent on the anew apparent WRX, to aftermath faux gearshifting sensations—instead, the paddles acclimatize the backbone of the Solterra’s adorning brakes.
Other autogenous tech appearance accommodate wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (the closing alone wireless for 5G-equipped phones), a wireless charging pad in the centermost console, and a USB-C anchorage tucked into accessible amplitude beneath the accessory selector. A agenda key app for smartphones will acquiesce for alien start, including altitude control, as able-bodied as alien locking and unlocking.
As befitting a company’s aboriginal EV, the Solterra additionally receives a few abstruse firsts, like an accessible 360-degree camera arresting on the 12.3-inch infotainment screen, as able-bodied as driver’s aids including accepted dark atom monitoring, assurance avenue active and automated abetment for parallel, head-in and tail-in parking spots. Adaptive cruise ascendancy and lane-keep abetment buttons additionally arise on the council wheel—which, crucially and happily—is not a bond as on some versions of Toyota’s bZ4X (and Tesla’s S Plaid).
The Solterra’s autogenous feels aerial and spacious, admitting the narrowed awning that creates a sleeker exoteric contour than the Subaru Forester SUV. That agent absolutely measures fractionally beneath and narrower, but its taller acme and boxlike administration actualize altogether altered visuals.
The Solterra fit two six-foot-tall journalists calmly in the disciplinarian and driver’s ancillary rear seat—with affluence of leg and headroom—while the rear burden alcove offers 30 cubic anxiety of accumulator with added accessible beneath the burden floor. The rear seats breach 60/40 and bend flat.
Part of the absorbing commuter space, which totals 126 cubic feet, comes acknowledgment to Toyota and Subaru’s collective accommodation to abandon the fun “frunk” accumulator alcove in favor of affective the birr forward.
Where an internal-combustion agent ability sit in gasoline SUVs, aperture the awning of the Solterra and bZ4X reveals front-mounted array cooling and altitude ascendancy equipment. A abate electric motor beneath and to the rear of the arresting apparatus admiral the advanced axles and contributes to the abbreviate advanced overhang, admitting the blueprint did force Subaru to break for backbone and assurance during crash-testing.
Aiming for an IIHS Top Assurance Pick rating, Subaru and Toyota congenital the agent with a assurance anatomy that routes appulse activity about the advanced and commuter compartments anon to the battery, which Goh explained is the arch allocation of the car. Exact body blueprint about that array abide beneath wraps, including kilowatt-hour ratings, weight, and cooling architecture details.
With the electric all-wheel drive arrangement akin by 8.3 inches of arena approval and absorbing access and abandonment angles, the Solterra sounds like it could bout or beat the off-road-worthiness of Subaru’s added crossovers. But the admixture of adequacy isn’t akin by range—Goh neither accepted nor denied a accessible all-embracing adaptation with added array accommodation or power.
The contempo account that Lucid, Rivian, and Atlis all aimed at ratings afterpiece to the 500-mile mark has adapted the EV landscape. The Solterra’s account of absolute competitors will be bent by the ambit that the assembly models offer. Volkswagen’s ID.4 already offers added than 240 afar in all of its variations, and Nissan says the 2023 Ariya will hit 280 miles.
None of the accepted EV crossovers are accurately aiming for the affectionate of buyers Subaru is, but cast loyalists generally like to adventure far afield in places with historically poor charging infrastructure. The company’s ambition of architecture an accustomed disciplinarian for the outdoorsy army may crave added than 220 afar of range—or those abutting car acquirement affairs could actual able-bodied angle appear a amalgam advantage instead.
Expect acceptance on added Solterra specs including official ambit estimates, commitment dates and appraisement as Subaru moves afterpiece against production.
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