Subaru took the wraps off the brand's first-ever battery electric vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The new EV is built on a dedicated EV chassis platform, and carries a useful mid-size crossover SUV body.
The Solterra represents an entirely new market for Subaru, which has previously offered hybrid and plug-in-hybrid models of their mainstream gas-fueled vehicles. However, some signature Subaru traits never change: the Solterra offers symmetrical all-wheel-drive and Subaru's capable X-Mode for off-road driving.
Named for the Latin words for Sun and Earth, the Solterra uses two electric motors mounted at the front and rear of the vehicle to deliver its all-wheel-drive. Together, the motors produce 215 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. There is no transmission; the motors drive the wheels directly. The EPA has not yet issued its final estimate, but Subaru states that the Solterra will have a range of more than 220 miles on a full charge.
Every Solterra will be equipped to take advantage of DC Fast Charging stations as well as standard Level Two 240-Volt chargers, which are easily installed in home garage settings.
On the outside, the Solterra is a visible departure from Subaru's current design language. Sculpted with sharp cut-lines and flared fenders, the Solterra is a bold-looking SUV. For comparison, the new EV is about the same size as the popular Outback midsize crossover.
Inside, the Solterra is a science-fiction car. There's an available 12.3-inch central touchscreen monitor, wireless charging, support for Android and Apple phone integration, and an app for your phone that will allow you to pre-condition the cabin temperature. Solterra owners never have to sit on a cold seat, or open an oven-hot car in summer.
As a new EV, safety tech is in the forefront of the Solterra's value proposition. For the first time ever, Subaru is offering a 360-degree bird's-eye camera system with Solterra. Standard advanced safety includes blind spot monitoring, LED headlights with automatic high beams, automatic reverse braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic pre-collision braking and throttle management, and lane departure warning with lane change assistance. Another first is safety exit alerts, which warns you before opening the car door if another car or pedestrian is approaching from behind.
With all that, Subaru has targeted the Solterra to receive a Top Safety Pick + rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That's likely to happen, as Subaru already has nine vehicles that rank as Top Safety Pick or better. That puts Subaru in the top rank of automakers, tied for first place.
The Solterra is also an SUV, and Subaru has not neglected utility. There's 30 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats, and the car will comfortably seat five adults. A 6-foot-tall passenger can sit behind a 6-foot driver with ease.
Subaru has not yet released pricing or specific on-sale dates, but the Solterra is expected at area dealerships in calendar 2022.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.