Consumer Reports Says Subaru Solterra EV’s Quirks Stand Out In A Bad Way
Should you buy an all-electric compact SUV like the 2023 Subaru Solterra? A new study from Consumer Reports says there are positives and negatives about Subaru's first-ever all-electric model. Check out what they like and don't like about the all-new Solterra EV SUV.
What they like
Consumer Reports says the Solterra has a lot of space for storage and passenger room. CR says, "The Solterra drives well, the seats are supportive, it's roomy, and it comes standard with a comprehensive level of driver assistance and active safety systems. It also has standard all-wheel drive."
What Consumer Reports doesn't mention is what differentiates the Solterra from other SUVs.
One often overlooked feature is the 2023 Subaru Solterra's 8.3-inches of ground clearance. The all-electric Solterra has better ground clearance than the Mustang Mach-E (5.7-inches) and the Tesla Model Y (6.6-inches), the Mazda MX-30 EV has 5.4-inches of ground clearance, and the Volkswagen ID.4 has 6.7 inches.
Another advantage of the Solterra is its Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system with X-Mode all-terrain management. Both are standard equipment and a new Grip Control function to improve stability on rough roads. The all-terrain technology provides additional capability in deep wet sand and offers hill ascent and descent assist in maximizing control in extreme terrain.
CR says, "The Solterra is fun to drive, despite modest power numbers. The acceleration is smooth and linear. Even with the large 20-inch wheel and tire package on the Limited and Touring trims, the ride was comfortable and better than competitors like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Tesla Model Y."
How much power does the Solterra have?
The Solterra EV has 215 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque from the front and rear electric motors.
How fast is the Subaru Solterra?
Subaru says the Solterra's eAxle creates a new dimensional driving that demonstrates maximum torque with a great response at low speeds. In testing by Subaru, the new EV is characterized by a fast start, with a more significant response from the accelerator and seamless acceleration.
CR says the Solterra is relatively nimble and inviting to push on curvy roads and through sharp highway exit ramps. The Solterra's cabin was very serene, with minimal electric sounds, says Consumer Reports.
What they don't like
CR says the Solterra has a relatively modest battery size and a small 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger, which limits the charging speed on a home charger. "Some EV-specific information isn't always prominently displayed in the instrument cluster, such as the state-of-charge and range indications."
"The X-Mode, hill descent and self-parking buttons are all awkwardly placed on the right side of the center console," says CR. There's also a loud audible alert inside the cabin when the driver engages Reverse. They got this idea from Toyota, and we think Subaru should drop it. They don't like Solterra's odd use of space.
The Solterra doesn't have a rear wiper, a growing trend with EVs. Instead, the air flowing through the split roof spoiler is supposed to free the rear window from rain and snow. Subaru says that the rear wiper is omitted to save weight and aerodynamics.
How many miles will the Solterra go between charges?
Another complaint Consumer Reports has against the Solterra is its short range. "At more than $54,000 delivered, the Solterra isn't cheap, yet its 222-mile Environmental Protection Agency-estimated range is much shorter than other similarly priced, or even less expensive, EVs," says CR.
What is the cost of the 2022 Subaru Solterra?
The 2023 Solterra comes in three trim levels, Premium, Limited, and Touring. Pricing for the Solterra Premium trim level starts at $46,220. The Limited trim carries a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price of $49,720. The top-of-the-line Touring trim is priced from $53,220. Prices include destination and delivery fees ($1,225
The 2023 Subaru Solterra all-electric compact SUV isn't for everyone and is designed for those with active lifestyles. It's a comfortable vehicle for urban commutes, but its best attributes are available when you get away from the city.
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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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