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Subaru Solterra review: Will the first electric car succeed?

Subaru Solterra featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2023 TechnikNews)

2022 has Subaru put their first electric car on the road in cooperation with Toyota. You can find out how this performs in everyday life in my test report.

When you hear the name Subaru, most people immediately think of the all-wheel drive rally vehicle and the screaming boxer engines. These times seem to be over soon, which is why Subaru is now trying out their first electric car. But not, as you might hope, with an electric all-wheel-drive sedan, but with an SUV with the name solterra hears. This is based on the bZ4X from Toyota. Such collaborations between Subaru and Toyota have already been seen with the Toyota GT86 and the Subaru BRZ. So nothing new in itself. We'll see in detail whether it worked so well here.

tl;dr: Quite solid for the first attempt

Subaru has taken its first step into the world of electric mobility with the Solterra. The car cuts a fine figure on the road. It is quite maneuverable, accelerates quickly and handles confidently even on winding sections of the road. It also offers a voluminous interior with sufficient storage space. It's less shiny on the software side. The software adopted from Toyota is somewhat complicated to set up and essentially becomes obsolete as soon as you use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. In addition, there is no charging route planning or preconditioning, which ultimately affects the charging performance. Otherwise, the Solterra left a good impression review. Only the price is significantly too high for the basic version at €57.490,00 (including 19% VAT).

Design: Stays true to the line

Although the Solterra is based on Toyota's bZ4X, it fits well into the existing fleet. Except for the drive train and some decorative elements, Subaru has adopted the design 1:1 from Toyota. In any case, we like the look of it quite a bit.

Interior: Spaceship feeling with piano lacquer

Inside the car we find the same cockpit variant of the steering wheel and speedometer as we were able to admire in the Toyota bZ4X. One person will hate it, another will love it. The driver's display sits high up and is embedded in the back of the dashboard. The combination of the very small steering wheel and the driver display results in an interesting mix of head-up display and normal driver display. Same thing with infotainment. Subaru shares the software for this with Toyota and Suzuki. The software runs smoothly and, in addition to the standard functions, offers the option of connecting your cell phone via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Navigation with the integrated navigation system works well, but unfortunately does not offer charging route planning. You can also access one of the navigation systems from Google or Apple directly. The air conditioning and seat heating are operated using buttons, but can also be done via voice input.

The car does not lack space in the interior. It also offers enough head and legroom in the back seat. The car has slightly less storage space in the trunk due to its flattened roof, but it still has 452 liters. Subaru could only have shined a little more when it came to workmanship. Just like with the bZ4X from Toyota, there was too much emphasis on cheap plastic in the interior. The high-gloss elements, which attract fingerprints and scratches, have also been adopted.

Driving behavior: Good performance on the road

On the road, the Solterra does quite well. It is stable in the corners and drives quite confidently. But the chassis was a bit too hard for me. Occasionally you can clearly notice the impacts through the chassis, which are transferred to the body. In terms of performance, the car is well equipped. With its 160 kW (218 hp) all-wheel drive, the Subaru does 0-100 in 7 seconds. For off-road trips, Subaru offers an X-Mode, which switches the all-wheel drive to off-road mode. This means the drive should provide more traction and prevent the wheels from spinning. Unfortunately, we weren't able to test the function extensively, but since it comes from Subaru, we're not worried about the mode not working.

Charging and range: Better preconditioning

With a remaining charge of less than 30 ProAt a DC charging station, the car never really wanted to come close to the 150 KW charging power specified by the manufacturer. Since we couldn't find a function for manual preconditioning, the charging power remained at its peak at 90-100 KW. In terms of fuel consumption, the Subaru does well. For journeys that involved a lot of cross-country travel, we consumed around 20 kWh. This value can probably be reduced significantly in city traffic. This gives us a real range of almost 300 kilometers.

Subaru Solterra tailgate

Picture: TechnikNews

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