With the Toyota announcement of the bZ4X EV built alongside the 2023 Solterra all-electric SUV, we now have a fresh look at Subaru's first EV SUV. The new Solterra will come with a 71-kilowatt hour battery, close to a 300-mile driving range, and an innovative steer-by-wire system.
The all-new Solterra will share the bZ4X's e-TNGA electric vehicle platform developed with Toyota. The Solterra is expected to make its U.S. launch in mid-2022. The new EV will go on sale in Japan and the U.S. and then be released in Canada, Europe, and China. But the new Solterra won't be sold in Australia.
The Solterra will be approximately the size of the 2022 Forester compact SUV. It will be manufactured by Toyota at its Japan factory and sold globally, but production volumes are expected to be limited, at least in the early sales period.
A statement from Planet Subaru says retailers in California will get the Solterra first along with Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington State, Washington DC, Vermont, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Colorado.
A report from Automotive News says Toyota intends to manufacture the electric compact SUV in mixed production on lines with traditional vehicles, said Daisuke Ido, project general manager of the Toyota ZEV Factory, which spearheads the company's EV products. The Solterra EV will not have a dedicated assembly and production line as other automakers do.
Unlike the Toyota bZ4X that will feature both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive, the Solterra "Is built from Subaru SUV DNA, including legendary Subaru Symmetrical all-wheel drive and plenty of ground clearance," Subaru said in the announcement in August.
Subaru says the Solterra all-electric SUV will be "distinctly Subaru," meaning the new compact SUV will likely have a higher ride height and expanded off-road capabilities.
The all-wheel-drive Solterra will have an 80-kW motor on both the front and back axles and can accelerate to 62 mph from a standstill in 7.7 seconds with a range of 285 miles. The batteries will get top of class capacity retention of 90 percent after ten years, Toyota said.
A futuristic interior
Inside, the Solterra will have futuristic styling if it's like the Toyota bZ4X images released today. A digital display dominates the dashboard while the instrument panel is positioned low and recessed from the steering wheel.
Toyota will offer two steering wheel options; One is the traditional circular steering wheel. The other has a new wing-shaped handle that connects via steer-by-wire technology. We won't know if the Solterra will be offered with both until the Solterra is uncovered.
The all-new "Solterra is quiet, spacious, and comfortable, equipped with all the cabin technology you need for a modern SUV," Subaru also said in the August announcement.
The new Solterra will get a wide stance, futuristic styling and will be distinctly Subaru. Subaru says its goal is to be better suited for developing new electric technology, software, and communications.
With Toyota's bZ4X production announcement today, we get a better idea about the 2023 Subaru Solterra all-electric SUV coming next year. Subaru will likely make an announcement and reveal the new Solterra before the end of the year. Stay tuned.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Toyota