SUBARU

SUBARU SOLTERRA HATCHBACK 150kW Touring 71.4kWh 5dr Auto AWD

Fuel

FuelElectric

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph6.9s

WLTP - Pure Electric Range

Electric Range257 miles

It's hard to find an EV that's properly capable off-tarmac. For the time being, Subaru's Solterra is probably as close as you're going to get to a full-battery-powered model delivering that kind of capability to any great extent. Developed with Toyota, it's the brand's first purpose-built EV and includes quite a lot of what Subaru's learned in the last few decades about off road technology.

ELECTRIC AVENUE

Subaru's very first EV, the Solterra mid-sized SUV, offers the suburbs something a little different, thinks Jonathan Crouch.

Ten Second Review

It's hard to find an EV that's properly capable off-tarmac. For the time being, Subaru's Solterra is probably as close as you're going to get to a full-battery-powered model delivering that kind of capability to any great extent. Developed with Toyota, it's the brand's first purpose-built EV and includes quite a lot of what Subaru's learned in the last few decades about off road technology.

Background

What will the Subaru of the future be like? It certainly can't be anything like the Subaru's of the present - and in this age of electrification, must be far removed from the Subarus of the past. So the brand has brought us this, the all-electric Solterra, the name derived from a combination of the Latin words for 'sun' and 'earth'. This car comes with a pledge from its brand - that existing Subaru customers "can feel it is truly a Subaru". Well that could be a stretch because, as you might notice if you've been following the EV market lately, this car shares most everything with its close cousin, the Toyota bZ4X. To be fair, the Solterra isn't merely a re-badged design. The company has played at least an equal part in the development both of the car itself and the EV platform it sits on, called 'e-TNGA' by Toyota and 'e-Subaru Global Platform' by Subaru. It's all part of a move by the marque towards electrification, though its targets are decidedly modest. By 2030, when many manufacturers will switched to an all-EV range, Subaru hopes that 40% of its model line-up will have full-battery power. A change which starts right here.

Driving Experience

Inevitably, Subaru had a lot to say over the configuration of the 4WD system - in this case a twin motor drivetrain - for this joint venture model. The company has engineered in its 'X-Mode' system to enhance this EV's off-road credentials. And added in a 'Grip Control' mode enabling the Solterra to travel more stably at speed over rough trails. The pair of 107bhp motors, one on each axle, develops 214bhp and rest to 62mph is dispatched in 7.7s. Power, as with the Toyota bZ4X, comes from a 71.4kWh battery which offers 289 miles of range for the base 'Limited' model (it's 257 miles for the top 'Touring' version). For the future, there's also a single motor front-driven model with 201bhp, a range of 330 miles and a 0-62mph time of 8.4s. Subaru expects the majority of customers though, to want the dual motor variant, with drivetrain electronics that claim to offer precise control of each wheel through the turns and 'flexible driving force between front and rear'. The strong, stiff 'e-Subaru Global Platform', allied to a low centre of gravity due to battery placement, should limit body roll through the turns. Subaru is also planning a higher performance STI version. Across the range, the steering is interesting. It's an innovative 'steer-by-wire' system which removes the mechanical link between the steering wheel and the front axle. The engineers reckon that this enhances control because the directional influences of rough services and braking are minimised. And, to suit the EV mood of the moment, there's a 'single pedal' driving mode, which maximises regenerative braking to the extent that you'll hardly ever have to use the actual brake pedal unless coming to a complete stop.

Design and Build

This Solterra is pretty much the same size as Subaru's conventional Forester SUV, measuring 4,690mm long, 1,860mm wide and 1,650mm tall. It shares most of its body panels with its Toyota bZ4X development cousin, but gets its own front grille and headlamp design to link into the look of the brand's existing models. Huge black wheel arch extensions house rims of between 18 and 20-inches in size. It's all broadly representative of what we saw from the brand's 'EV Concept' car, unveiled in 2021. As you'd expect, the interior pretty much duplicates that of the bZ4X too. So there's a compact instrument pack behind the wheel with a 7-inch screen. And the usual large wide infotainment monitor at the top of the centre stack. It's all very modern and feels particularly light and airy with the optional twin sunroof arrangement fitted. But what's most impressive about this cabin is the amount of space you get in the back, thanks to this design's particularly long wheelbase. It's around 900mm, which is comparable to what you'd get from a boardroom-level luxury saloon. Boot capacity isn't quite as large as you get from one of those but at 452-litres, it should be more than adequate for the needs of most likely owners.

Market and Model

As you might expect, the pricing for this car can get nowhere near the level required for it to benefit from the government's Plug-in grant: the asking figures start from around £50,000 - that's for the base 'Limited' model; for £53,000, you can get the plusher 'Touring' version. Both variants are well equipped. Even the base 'Limited' gets 18-inch alloy wheels, a multimedia system with an 8-inch display, a 7-inch digital screen in the instrument binnacle, a reversing camera, smart keyless entry and a climate control system with a remote operation function that lets owners warm up or cool their car ahead of a making a journey. Options include roof rails and a towing pack. If you want more, plusher versions give you a powered tailgate, privacy glass, parking sensors and electrically adjustable heated front seats. The top trim level includes 20-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, Remote Control Parking Assist and a heated steering wheel.

Cost of Ownership

We gave you the driving range figure for this car in our 'Driving Experience' section - up to 289 miles for the 'Limited' version. For the future single motor front-driven model, it'd be more like 330 miles. An 80% charge of the 71.4kWh battery takes around 30 minutes, if you can find a suitably rapid charger. An optional 11kW AC charger in future will help with overnight charges for those with a compatible wall box. The brand says that the battery will hold 90% of its range for the first ten years of its life, aided by water cooling for the cells, with active thermal management of the battery further aiding durability and range. That range is optimised courtesy of an on-board solar charging system that aims to minimise the effect of cold weather on usability. As for the warranty, well as with all Subarus, there's the peace of mind of a five year / 100,000 mile package that embarrasses the three year / 60,000 mile package most rivals offer. You also get a three year recovery and roadside assistance programme you'll almost certainly never need.

Summary

The last few years have been truly dismal for Subaru: in the UK in 2020, the brand didn't even manage to sell a thousand cars. That's what you get for missing market trends - first, then move towards SUVs and now the trend for Electric Vehicles. The Solterra though, does at least belatedly introduce the company into the EV market - and with a very competitive product. If you already own a Subaru Forester or an Outback - perhaps you live in a rural area or on a farm - this is probably your future car. With its 'X-Mode' and 'Grip Control' systems, it's probably the best 4WD Electric Vehicle currently out there and with a set of chunky tyres, there won't be many places you currently take your Outback or Forester that you couldn't also take a Solterra. Which ought to broaden this car's appeal beyond Subaru loyalists. But we've said that before about new models from the brand, then seen the sales figures trickle in. Will this car be different? It needs to be. We think you should give it a chance.

  • Privacy glass
  • Windscreen wiper de-icer
  • Front and rear power windows one-touch ascend and descend
  • Automatic rain sensing windscreen wipers

  • Auto vehicle hold
  • Hill descent control
  • Electronic Stability Programme
  • Anti lock brake system + traction control

  • Wireless Apple car play
  • Wired Android Auto
  • Bluetooth system

  • Front parking sensors
  • Rear parking sensors
  • 360 degree panoramic view monitor
  • Driving Modes - Eco/Normal/Power
  • Digital rear view camera with washer
  • Power assisted steering
  • X-Mode

  • Paddle Shifters behind Steering Wheel (for adjustment of Regenerative Braking)
  • eCall emergency system
  • Power tailgate

  • Satellite navigation system
  • Trip computer
  • 12.3" Multifunction colour touchscreen display
  • Driver monitoring system
  • 7" digital instrument cluster

  • Memory function for door mirrors
  • Reverse gear tilting passenger door mirror
  • Electric folding door mirrors
  • Heated door mirrors

  • DAB Digital radio
  • Subaru infotainment and Harmon/Kardon audio system with 8 speakers and subwoofer
  • x4 Type-C USB ports and x2 in Row 1 & x2 in Row 2

  • Fixed panoramic roof with electric sunblind
  • e-Subaru global platform
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Wheel arch extensions
  • Roof rails
  • Roof spoiler
  • Shark fin antenna
  • Rear side wing doors

  • Third brake light
  • Headlight washers
  • Auto on/off headlights
  • Adaptive high beam system (AHS)
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Follow me home lighting
  • LED Headlights
  • High beam assist
  • LED front fog lights

  • Heat pump
  • Dual zone automatic air conditioning system with anti-dust filter

  • Synthetic leather upholstery
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Tilt/reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Rear seat centre armrest
  • Tonneau cover

  • Subaru safety sense pack - Solterra

  • Central side SRS airbags (driver & front passenger)
  • Height adjustable front seatbelts
  • Front seatbelt pretensioners + load limiters
  • Child locks on rear doors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Front SRS airbags
  • Front side SRS airbags (driver & front passenger)
  • Curtain SRS airbags
  • 3x3 point rear seat belts

  • Single front passenger seat
  • Front head restraints
  • Electric passenger seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated rear seats
  • Electric driver's seat
  • Rear head restraints
  • Lumbar support on driver's seat
  • Recline function on rear seats
  • 3 seat bench in 2nd row
  • Driver seat memory function
  • 60/40 split folding rear seat

  • Keyless smart entry with push button start
  • Remote central locking
  • Immobiliser
  • Thatcham Category 1 alarm
  • Wireless phone charging

  • Dual motor (80kW/axle)
  • Dual motor permanent AWD

  • Charging cable - Type 2 to Type 2
  • Charging cable - Type 2 to UK Domestic plug

  • 20" Alloy wheels

  • Tyre repair kit

  • Battery Charge Slow Time (Minutes): 1252
  • Battery Charge Slow kW: 2.3
  • Battery Charge Slow Percentage: 20-80
  • Battery Charge Fast Time (Minutes): 473
  • Battery Charge Fast kW: 7
  • Battery Charge Fast Percentage: 20-80
  • Battery Charge Rapid Time (Minutes): 19
  • Battery Charge Rapid kW: 150
  • Battery Charge Rapid Percentage: 20-80
  • Battery Charge Super Charge Time (Minutes): N
  • Battery Charge Super Charge kW: N
  • Battery Charge Super Charge Percentage: N
  • Coupler/Connector Type: Type 2
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 71.4
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb: 414
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb - TEL: 414
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb - TEH: 414
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb: 18
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEL: 18
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEH: 18
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb: 3.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEH: 3.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEL: 3.5
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb: 257
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb - TEH: 257
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb - TEL: 257
  • Battery Capacity % guaranteed under warranty: 70
  • Charging Port Location: Left Side Front

  • CO2 (g/km): 0
  • Standard Euro Emissions: N
  • Noise Level dB(A): N
  • CO: N
  • HC: N
  • NOx: N
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N

  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): N
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): N
  • CC: 1
  • Cylinders: N
  • Cylinder Layout: N
  • Number of Valves: N
  • Camshaft: N
  • Fuel Delivery: N
  • Catalytic Convertor: N
  • Engine Layout: N
  • Compression Ratio: N
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Engine Code: N

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: N
  • EC Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Combined (mpg): N

  • Coin Series: Touring
  • Coin Description: N
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Service Interval Mileage: 9000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 218
  • Badge Engine CC: 0.0
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N

  • Engine Torque - MKG: 34
  • Engine Power - BHP: 218
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): True
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 6.9
  • Top Speed: 100
  • Engine Power - KW: 160
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 248
  • Engine Torque - NM: 336

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: N/A

  • Tyre Size Rear: 235/50 R20
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 20" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 235/50 R20

  • Length: 4690
  • Width: 1860
  • Wheelbase: 2850
  • Width (including mirrors): 2170
  • Height (including roof rails): 1650

  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 441
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 750
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 2040
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2550
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): N
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.2

  • Metallic paint: £550
  • Mica paint: Included
  • Solid paint: £550
  • Crystal shine paint: £550
  • Additional crystal shine paint: £945
  • Additional mica paint: £550

  • Metallic - Precious Metal: £550

  • Mica - Platinum white pearl: £0
  • Mica - Dark blue: £550

  • Solid - Midnight black: £550

  • Crystal shine - Emotional red: £550
  • Crystal shine - Harbor mist grey pearl: £550

  • Crystal shine - Two tone Harbor mist grey pearl / black: £945

  • Synthetic leather - Black: £0

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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