This is a big day for Subaru. The company's first foray into the all-electric world is a big one, and we mean that literally. Co-developed with Toyota, the Subaru Solterra is a full-fat EV wrapped in a five-passenger SUV body that certainly stands out in the crowd. That is, provided the crowd doesn't include the Toyota bz4x. More on that in a bit.
The Solterra's world debut is here, but alas, there's still quite a bit we don't know about this new model. Subaru will sell the Solterra in global markets, but this debut focuses on the Japanese-spec model. We'll get a taste of what US buyers can expect next week ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, but you can bet any differences, either aesthetically or mechanically, will be very slim if they exist at all.
Gallery: 2023 Subaru Solterra (JDM)
That said, here's what you need to know. The Solterra puts power to the ground through a pair of electric motors, one for each axle. Each motor generates 107 bhp (80 kilowatts) for a combined output of 215 bhp (160 kW), and with Subaru's penchant for all-wheel-drive vehicles, that's the only configuration available on the Solterra. It utilises 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 stability at speed.
The Solterra's electricity comes from a 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving the SUV a range of approximately 285 miles (460 kilometres) per Japan's WLTC standard. History shows EPA ratings are generally lower, however, so expect to see that number drop for the Solterra's L.A. debut. As for charging, Subaru doesn't offer time estimates but the SUV can charge at 150 kW. That should translate to about a half-hour to recoup 80 percent of range.
The Solterra's exterior styling shouldn't be a surprise at this point. Aside from numerous teasers leading to the debut, the Solterra is a near-copy of its brother from another mother, the Toyota bz4x. Subaru changes up the front fascia to create a Subie-esque mouth where you'd normally find a grille, and the lower fascia is a bit more aggressive-looking with its prominent intake and round driving lamps. The Solterra's taillight design is also a near-copy, with the lenses on the rear liftgate being specific to Subaru. 18-inch wheels are standard, with 20-inchers optional.
Inside you'll find more familiarity with the bz4x, right down to the same centre touchscreen and digital dash layout. Minor trim updates should help differentiate the Subie from its Toyota twin, and of course you'll see Subaru logos aplenty. With all-wheel drive being standard (front-wheel drive is available on the Toyota) expect a more rugged, outdoorsy flavour with Solterra compared to the bz4x. Dimensions are a match to Toyota as well, checking in at 4,690 millimetres (184.6 inches) long, 1,860 mm (73.2 in) wide, and 1,650 mm (65 in) tall. The Solterra tips the scales at 2,020 kilograms (4,453 pounds).
Subaru will offer the Solterra in numerous markets around the globe starting in mid-2022. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date, and as mentioned previously, stay tuned for the Solterra's US debut just ahead of the L.A. Auto Show on November 17.