Subaru Solterra AWD SUV will change peoples perception of BEVs

Is the new Solterra a true all road SUV

Subaru Solterra – Subaru has just released their all electric, AWD SUV at a drive day in conditions that will change buyers’ perceptions of what you can do in a BEV SUV.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD driving off road 1 The launch day was a mix of motorway driving, back roads and an off-road track that I feel confident in saying no other manufacturer would like to take their electric SUV on.

More driving details later in the article.

More details about the Subaru Solterra can be found HERE 

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring 360 degree cameras

Quick Highlights

  • All-new, all-electric Subaru Solterra powered by high-voltage 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery delivers 160kW of power and 337Nm of torque.
  • Built on the newly developed dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV) e-Subaru Global Platform to maximise natural BEV characteristics while delivering a high-rigidity body and Subaru’s renowned dynamic driving performance.
  • Features quintessential Subaru SUV characteristics, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Dual Mode X-Mode with new grip control and high 212mm ground clearance to offer cross-terrain capability in an all-electric vehicle.

All-New Subaru Solterra Manufacturer’s List Price2

Solterra AWD$69,990
Solterra AWD Touring$76,990

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring off road track driving 3

Subaru Solterra Final Thoughts

There is a heap of content below so I thought I would place these up front.

Overall, I like the Subaru Solterra

It is the first electric SUV that can actually be used for adventurous driving.

It is a Subaru, so you would expect that.

On the test drive it performed almost as well as the Crosstrek on the off-road section and that’s high praise indeed.

On road its fun and engaging to drive. Its quiet, smooth and responsive.

Readers can find more details about the Subaru Solterra HERE 

TO LISTEN TO THE Subaru Solterra RADIO REVIEW, CLICK BELOW

Subaru Solterra Video Review

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring dirt road driving

Subaru Solterra Details

What does the Solterra look like?

It is quite a stylish sleek design. I find it quite appealing.

Somewhat angular yet smooth at the same time. The frontal grill area is a bold hexagonal shape, with Subaru’s signature C-shaped headlights.

From the side it shows muscular wheel arches that house 18-inch alloys on the AWD model and 20-inch alloys on the AWD Touring model. Both come with road-based tyres.

The wheel arches have raised protective moulding that both looks good and has the practical functionality of helping to avoid bumps and scratches when in either a suburban car park or in the bush.

Unlike a lot of cars, the rear continues the mix of styles, quite neat and incorporates a duck bill tail spoiler.

Colour range.

Subaru Solterra is available in six external hues, with Harbour Mist Grey Pearl and Cosmic White Pearl two tone colour options available exclusively for Solterra AWD Touring. Two tone colours feature a black roof, A pillar and rear spoiler. Two tone colour options are available at an additional cost of $1,200.

Exterior ColoursAvailable on the following variants
Harbour Mist Grey PearlAcross the range
Cosmic White PearlAcross the range
Harbour Mist Grey Pearl – Two ToneSolterra AWD Touring
Cosmic White Pearl – Two ToneSolterra AWD Touring
Galactic BlackAcross the range
Smoked CarbonAcross the range
Elemental RedAcross the range
Dark Blue MicaAcross the range

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring interior front 1

What is the Subaru Solterra like inside?

There are two things that are immediately noticeable when you look inside.

The first is the flat bottomed and top steering wheel. Its thick, heated and sits comfortably in your hands. Its different and a little quirky.

The second is the large horizontal central screen.

Subaru have been heading towards vertical central touch screens in their latest designs. But as this is a joint development with Toyota, they screen seems to come from that parts bin. It’s good, clear, and functional. I just prefer the vertical style in the Crosstrek.

Otherwise, the front seats are comfortable, you sit in them not on them.

The Solterra AWD feature comfortable black cloth seat trim, while range topping Subaru AWD Touring feature synthetic leather in black. Electric lumbar adjustment is standard.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD SUV digital rear view mirror

Overall driver ergonomics are first class.

All around visibility is good and one clever feature is the digital interior reverse mirror.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring interior rear seats 1

I sat in the rear seats and had plenty of room for knees, feet, and head. I’m usually a bit cramped in the back of most cars, but the Solterra had enough room for my 190cm frame that is larger than the average bear.

There is ample boot space, and a clever feature is the two-height boot floor, that allows taller items to be carried and raised for a flat load area when the rear seats are folded.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring interior front central screen

Infotainment and connectivity technology

Located in the centre of the dash, is an impressive 12.3-inch-high-definition infotainment and satellite navigation system.

The screen displays the usual functions along with the 360-degree camera images.

Solterra comes with:

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ connectivity5
  • In-built satellite navigation is also available across the range.

Solterra AWD Touring also exclusively features a wireless smartphone Qi charger7.

For the audiophiles Solterra AWD features a high-quality 6-speaker system.

The top model AWD Touring include an immersive 10-speaker Harman Kardon® sound system6 with acoustics tuned specifically for Solterra.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD SUV electric motor

Motor and drivetrain

Solterra features a high-capacity 71.4kWh battery. NEDC range is estimated at 485km. A more realistic range would be 450km, but that will need to be evaluated on a longer weeks drive program.

Power is 160kW and torque is 337Nm. This drives all four wheels through the Subaru Symmetrical AWD system, with Dual Mode X-Mode with NEW Grip Control Function

Overheating is an issue for EV’s. Subaru focuses on this with a water-cooled thermal management system that maintains optimal battery temperature consistently.

This helps to promote reliable battery performance despite varying ambient temperatures or loads, such as during high-speed driving or DC charging.

Additionally, stability in extremely low temperatures and reduced charging times are achieved through the battery heater.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring charging

Battery Charging

The all-new Solterra features both AC and DC charging capability.

Charging from 0-to-80 per cent via 150kW DC charger takes approximately 30 minutes.

Charging via a single-phase 7kW AC charger 0-to-100 percent takes approximately nine and a half hours.

To go from 0-to-100 percent charge via a 11kW three-phase takes approximately six and a half hours3.

Battery cooling system

The coolant-based system is seamlessly integrated into the battery structure, helping ensure uniform cooling across each cell with optimised coolant flows.

To manage the heightened capacity and output of the battery cells, the coolant passes through a refrigerant unit, mirroring the one in the passenger cabin air conditioning system, thus maintaining stable coolant temperatures.

This design enables consistent battery output even under high-load conditions, such as repeated transitions between high-speed driving and rapid charging.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring off road track driving 5

Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

Solterra introduces a new era of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive due to its completely new powertrain.

For decades, Subaru engineers have been laser focused on developing vehicles which are not only safe but also fun to drive while still maintaining that lower centre of gravity for optimal balance and control.

The way a vehicle drives, and handles has always been paramount for Subaru and that promise does not sway with Solterra. They ride and handle differently from many other SUVs in an effective way.

But now, Subaru’s renowned Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and design philosophy of low centre of gravity has been brought to an all-electric Subaru SUV. The powertrain may be different, but Subaru’s design philosophy remains. The Solterra still feels authentically like a Subaru.

Suspension

The Solterra suspension system is built on decades of experience in the design and development of low centre of gravity Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles.

The suspension system has been developed to suit the performance requirements of a BEV platform.

e –Subaru Global Platform characteristics have been leveraged to achieve ride comfort, stability, and controllability at elevated levels.

Rigidity surrounding the front/rear suspension has been increased, to offer optimal stability, controllability, and ride comfort.

The battery has been designed as a part of the vehicle body frame to enhance body rigidity and disperse resonance through the newly developed e-Axle and suspension system.

Regenerative braking

Maximum regenerative braking at 0.15G can be accessed via a switch known as S Pedal Drive, located on the centre console. When this switch is engaged, and the accelerator pedal is fully released maximum regenerative braking of up to 0.15G is applied.

This remains engaged until it is switched off. S Pedal does not operate when the battery is almost fully charged, or the battery temperate when regenerative braking is restricted.

A number of regenerative braking levels can be selected using the steering wheel paddles, allowing the driver to tailor the amount of regenerative braking or vehicle coasting to best suit their preferences.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring off road track driving 1

Driving Performance – Subaru Solterra

The natural characteristics of BEVs have been combined with Subaru’s legendary features to elevate the driving experience.

Dual Mode X-Mode

Dual mode X-Mode with added new Grip Control function is made available for both Solterra variants. The two modes available are ‘Snow/Dirt’ and ‘Deep Snow/Mud’ and can be activated with a press of a button:

  • Snow/Dirt Mode – achieves a fine balance between slippery surface and ground covering ability for driving on slippery surfaces. Suppresses slipping and enhances stability. On bumpy surfaces applies brakes on spinning wheels to produce an LSD effect.
  • Deep Snow/Mud – causes the tyres to slip and the vehicle to drive in a manner that works through the snow or mud, when driving on softer surfaces. On bumpy roads, applies brakes on spinning wheels to produce an LSD effect.

Working in conjunction with Subaru’s legendary all-wheel drive system, the purpose of X-Mode is to increase traction and control under difficult road conditions.

Grip Control (new to Subaru)

The Grip Control function of X-Mode is only operational when X-Mode is active. It works like cruise control at low speeds, designed to maintain a constant speed of approximately 2-10 km/h in steps of 2 km/hr to prevent slipping on rough roads, on uphill or flat roads. This function helps the driver to concentrate on steering when traversing rough roads.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring off road track driving 2

Drive Mode

Owners can select from three acceleration characteristic models, Power, Normal and Eco.

  • Normal – suitable for normal driving conditions in urban areas.
  • ECO – suitable for driving with a focus on power consumption. Compared to ‘normal’ mode, this helps reduce power consumption by moderating the drive force in response to the acceleration pedal being depressed, and by reducing the operation of the air conditioner (heating/cooling).
  • Power – suitable for crisp handling, such as when driving on mountainous or winding roads. Motor control hastens the response to the acceleration pedal being depressed, for sporty driving with enhanced acceleration performance.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD driving 1

What is the Solterra like to drive on road.

A lot of fun is the answer.

This comes from a lot of little factors that combine to form a composed package.

The low centre of gravity for the battery mounting aids with dynamics.

One cool feature is the paddle shift on the steering wheel.

Now I’m a believer that in normal circumstances paddle shifts are useless for about 99.9% of drivers.

However, in the Solterra, they are used for immediate shifts in the regenerative braking load. This has two advantages.

First is that you don’t need to go through, often two – three layers in a central screen menu to change it.

Second is that it can be used for a replacement for braking into corners. Once I got the hang of changing the level it was a simple and engaging process of running into corners with the regenerative braking doing most of the work.

The combination of that, the fine-tuned suspension and AWD meant that point to point driving along windy hilly roads was awesome fun.

Often mid corner there would be a series of bumps that rarely affected the Solterra’ s composure.

There isn’t the outright acceleration as say a Kia EV6 GT, but the electric motor is responsive.

The steering input responsiveness also adds to the engagement factor.

In short, it’s a buzz to drive along back roads.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring off road track driving 7

What about off road.

Well, here is an electric SUV that I would actually consider taking off road.

It has 212mm of ground clearance and underneath its almost completely smooth. There just isn’t anything that hangs down to get caught up.

I’m assured by the technical guys at Subaru, that the housing for the battery is super strong and reinforced. So minor scrapes and bumps aren’t an issue.

On the drive day we took an interesting track at the Scenic Rim 4WD Park.

I was able to drive a back-to-back comparison with a Crosstrek and the Solterra.

There were obviously differences. The approach and departure angles for the Crosstrek seemed better, as the front spoiler on the Solterra did scrape on a particularly rocky section with drop off.

Also, the crosstrek has better ground clearance.

But the instant torque of the Solterra was an advantage at times.

The permanent Symmetrical AWD system with two stage X-Mode elevates the Solterra to a class  above almost every other electric SUV.

Downhill it simply kept everything in check without any fuss or complaint.

Uphill the new grip control is interesting. It works from 2-10knh in two kmh increments and will hold the speed at the selection.

For us oldies it’s a but like the old hand throttle on a LandCruiser, but way more sophisticated obviously.

The 360-degree camera was a bonus on the track as there were a few sections where I couldn’t see wheel placement and its crucial in the Solterra.

Crosstrek vs Solterra

So, the Crosstrek is better off road, but the Solterra holds its own with pride.

I’m reminded of the Australian Movie, Man From Snowy Rover. The scene at the top of the cliff face where all the riders have stopped and the one rider heads over the side.

I can imagine a bunch of electric SUVs out for a day’s drive along some dirt roads. They come to forest trail, and it gets a bit rutted and hairy. All the other SUVs stop and look and the Solterra simply keep driving.

Approach and departure angles are the main limiting factor as well as tyre selection.

Don’t mistake this for a rugged SUV, but it will allow a lot more adventurous driving than you may expect.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD Touring interior 360 degree camera screen 1

Safety Features

Awarded with a five-star ANCAP rating, Solterra continues Subaru’s design philosophy of safety front of mind, and importantly supports its safety vision of working towards zero fatal accidents in a Subaru vehicle by the year 20308.

As with all Subaru models, the Solterra features a host of Primary, Active, Preventative and Protective Safety features to help keep the driver and occupants safe on the road.

Solterra is equipped with Subaru Safety Sense, a preventative safety system that provides,

  • Pre-Collision System,
  • Emergency Steering Assist,
  • Emergency Driving Stop System,
  • Lane Departure Alert,
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control,
  • Lane Tracing Assist,
  • Low-speed Acceleration Suppression,
  • Road Sign Assist and Speed Limiter.

Both Solterra variants also feature Vision Assist which makes available,

  • Adaptive High-Beam System,
  • Blind Sport Monitor (BSM),
  • Front Parking Sensors,
  • Parking Support Brake,
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA),
  • Rear parking sensors,
  • Safe Exit Assist and
  • Panoramic 360 Degree View Monitor.

Solterra AWD Touring exclusively features Advanced Park Assist9.

Advanced Park Assist enhances parking safety and efficiency by providing real-time assistance during parking manoeuvres. By offering a bird’s eye view of blind spots and the target parking space.

This system guides users through displays and alerts, facilitating changing the shift position and operating the steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal for a smoother parking or exiting experience.

In addition, all Solterra vehicles feature the innovative Driver Monitoring System10, which is a camera that intelligently monitors the driver for signs of fatigue or lack of awareness. If the driver is determined to not be paying attention to the road an audio alert will sound and a message will be displayed.

In the event of a collision, Solterra is fitted with SRS airbags11 – dual front, dual front side, dual curtain, and front seat centre.

Charging Bundles

To support customers with their ownership journey of an all-electric Subaru, the following charging bundles are available for purchase via the Authorised Subaru Retail Network or via Subaru.com.au when making an online purchase.

  • Bundle 1: Ocular LTE Plus Wallbox Single Phase (7kW) Tethered Type 2 with 6 metre cable – $2,250 RRP (inc. GST and standard installation).
  • Bundle 2: Ocular LTE Plus Wallbox Three-Phase (22kW) Tethered Type 2 6M cable – $2,645 RRP (inc. GST and standard installation).

Genuine Subaru Accessories

Whether it is for convenience, protection, or personalisation, Subaru offers a diverse selection of genuine accessories tailored specifically for the Solterra EV. Visit www.subaru.com.au/solterra/accessories to explore the full range.

Subaru Solterra EV AWD SUV range 1

Subaru Solterra Model Walk

Solterra AWD

Performance

  • Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
  • NEDC test range of 485km1
  • Max power: 160kW
  • Max torque: 337Nm
  • S Pedal Drive
  • Dual Mode X-Mode with NEW Grip Control Function
  • 212mm of ground clearance4

Battery & Charging

  • 71.4kWh Lithium-ion battery
  • 2kW (8 Amp) AC charging cable with 10 Amp wall plug3
  • 0-100% via 2kW single-phase AC charger – Approx. 35 hours3
  • 0-80% via 150kW DC charger – Approx. 30 minutes3
  • 0-100% via 7kW single-phase AC charger – Approx. 9.5 hours3
  • 0-100% via 11kW three-phase AC charger – Approx. 6.5 hours3

Exterior

  • 18-inch alloy wheels with wheel cap
  • Dusk-sensing, self-levelling LED headlights with auto off
  • Rear LED combination lights
  • Powered door mirrors – auto-folding
  • Puddle lamps – door mirror.
  • Powered tailgate
  • Roof rails
  • Roof carrier brackets

Interior

  • Cloth seat trim – black
  • Carpet mat set.
  • Cargo tray
  • Heated leather steering wheel
  • 8-way power seat with lumbar support – driver
  • Heated seats – front and rear outboard
  • Regeneration Mode Paddles
  • Digital rear view mirror
  • Air conditioning – dual-zone, climate-control with rear vents
  • Remote air conditioning system

Entertainment, Technology and Safety

  • Central information display with 12.3-inch-high-definition touchscreen
  • 7-inch digital instrumentation
  • Satellite navigation
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ connectivity5
  • USB ports – USB-A & USB-C connection
  • 6-speaker audio
  • SRS airbags – dual front, dual front side, dual curtain, and front seat centre11
  • 3-point ELR rear seat belts
  • Subaru Safety Sense featuring:
    • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
    • Emergency Driving Stop System
    • Emergency Steering Assist
    • Lane Departure Alert
    • Lane Tracing Assist
    • Low-speed Acceleration Suppression
    • Pre-Collision System
    • Road Sign Assist
    • Speed Limiter
  • Subaru Vision Assist featuring:
    • Adaptive High-Beam System
    • Blind Sport Monitor (BSM)
    • Front Parking Sensors
    • Front View Monitor
    • Panoramic 360 Degree View Monitor
    • Parking Support Brake
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
    • Rear parking sensors
    • Safe Exit Assist
  • Driver Monitoring System10 – featuring:
    • Distraction warning
    • Drowsiness warning

Subaru Solterra AWD Touring adds:

Exterior

  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Auto-dipping door mirror – passenger and drivers’ side
  • Two tone paint options available for an additional $1,200 (on selected colours).

Interior

  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Synthetic leather seat trim
  • 8-way power seat – front passenger
  • Door mirror memory setting – driver

Entertainment, Technology and Safety

  • Wireless Qi charger7
  • 10 Harman Kardon® speakers6, subwoofer, and amplifier
  • Subaru Vision Assist:
    • Advanced Park Assist9

Subaru Solterra Owner benefits

Warranty: Five-year/unlimited kilometres, 60 months/75,000km Capped Price Servicing Program, five-year Roadside Assistance Program.

Battery Warranty: The Subaru New Vehicle Warranty period on batteries (12 Volt) is 2 years. The Subaru New Vehicle Warranty period on high-voltage batteries for Subaru Electric vehicles is 8 years/160,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. After this warranty period, any required battery replacement will be a chargeable item.

All-New Subaru Solterra Specifications

SOLTERRA AWDSOLTERRA AWD TOURING
Maximum power (kW)160
Maximum torque (Nm)337
Transmission/drivetrainSingle-speed automatic transmission (Reduction Gear), AWD
NEDC Test Range (kms)1485485
Rapid charging 0-80% via 150kW DC charger (mins)330
Charging 0-100% via 11kW AC charger (hrs)36.5

Dimensions, Weight & Cargo Volume

Overall length (mm)4690
Overall width (mm)1860
Overall height (mm)1650
Wheelbase (mm2850
Min. ground clearance (mm)4212
Kerg weight (kg)20152060
Cargo volume – rear seat up (litres)410

Steering, Brakes, Tyres & Towing Capacity

Steering

Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Minimum turning circle11.2
SuspensionFront: MacPherson strut type suspension
Rear: Double wishbone type suspension
Tyres235/60 R18 103H235/50 R20 104V
Wheels18”20”
Towing capacity (kg)With brakes: 750
Without brakes: 750
Maximum tow ball download (kg)75

 Subaru Australia reserves the right to change mechanical specification and equipment levels without notice.

All the footnotes and legal stuff lawyers love

  1. Figure based on NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) static laboratory combined average city and highway cycle test mandated by ADR 81/02. Range figure are laboratory test results only based on standardised testing conditions which measure, energy consumption and range.

Actual real world range results will likely be less and to the extent that they are less will depend on a combination of factors.

These include but not limited to load, traffic conditions, driving style, type of journey, vehicle configuration, battery age and condition, use of vehicle features (such as heating and air conditioning), as well as operating, environmental and climate conditions.

It is for comparison purposes only and not intended to be an accurate indication of what might be achieved in the real world.

  1. Prices are Subaru (Aust) Pty Ltd.’s Manufacturer’s List Prices only and include GST but exclude dealer delivery charges and all other government and statutory charges. For the drive-away price of Subaru vehicles, consumers should be advised to contact their local authorised Subaru dealer.
  2. Charging times will vary depending on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the output of the charger being used, starting battery charge, charging equipment, ambient temperature, battery state as well as the age of the battery at point of use. As a result of these factors, charging times may therefore vary significantly.
  3. Ground clearance at kerb weight.
  4. Compatible Apple® or Android™ device required.
  5. Harman Kardon® is a registered trademark of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated.
  6. Compatible Qi enabled, and compliant device required.

More notes

  1. Subaru Corporation (the Japanese manufacturer of Subaru cars) has publicly stated its aim to reduce the number of fatal accidents in a Subaru vehicle to zero by 2030 as well as the number of fatalities among pedestrians, cyclists, and the like as a result of a collision with a Subaru vehicle. For more information on Subaru Corporation’s CSR initiatives visit https://www.subaru.co.jp/en/csr/subaru_csr/sixpriority/peace.html.
  2. The Advanced Park Assist system is designed to support the driver but has limitations in recognition accuracy and control performance. It is the driver’s responsibility to remain aware of the vehicle’s surroundings, including pedestrians and other vehicles, and drive safely. For more information, please consult the Owner’s Manual.
  3. The Driver Monitoring System (DMS) features for Solterra are distraction warning and drowsiness warning. DMS performance and capability is dependent on environmental and technical conditions. Refer to Owner’s Manual for full details.
  4. SRS: Supplemental Restraint System. Effective when used in conjunction with seatbelts.
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8.0/10

Summary

Subaru Solterra Final Thoughts

There is a heap of content below so I thought I would place these up front.

Overall, I like the Subaru Solterra

It is the first electric SUV that can actually be used for adventurous driving.

It is a Subaru, so you would expect that.

On the test drive it performed almost as well as the Crosstrek on the off-road section and that’s high praise indeed.

On road its fun and engaging to drive. Its quiet, smooth and responsive.

About Rob Fraser 2489 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.