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The Subaru Solterra Feature No One Talks About And Where The EV Falls Short

How does the 2023 Subaru Solterra compare with other EVs in ground clearance, all-wheel-drive abilities, and range? See where the all-electric Solterra delivers and where it falls short.

Subaru touts the 2023 Solterra as the best all-electric SUV to get environmentally conscious customers off the beaten path, but how does it compare with other EVs?

The main advantage of the Solterra is its Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system with X-Mode all-terrain management. The all-weather technology provides additional capability in snow and icy conditions and offers hill ascent and descent assist to maximize control in extreme terrain. Both are included as standard equipment and a new Grip Control function to improve stability on rough roads.

2023 Subaru Solterra all-electric compact SUV features, specs

A report from Automotive News (by subscription) says Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura said at the Solterra's global debut, "I hope you will test drive and compare the Solterra with other EVs, including Tesla. Other EVs are good at driving on paved city roads, but you will feel the difference when you drive on rugged roads."

The Solterra has the extra ground clearance

One feature that is not being mentioned is the Solterra's 8.3-inches of ground clearance. It's less than the 2022 Forester compact SUV with 8.7-inches, and the 2022 Forester Wilderness comes with 9.2 inches of ground clearance. It makes a difference if customers what to get further away from civilization.

2023 Subaru Solterra all-electric compact SUV features, specs

But the 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.

Enough torque to carry cargo up a high mountain pass

The Subaru Solterra comes with 248 lb-ft of torque which is more than the Volkswagen ID.4 (229 lb-ft) or Mazda MX-30 EV (200 lb-ft). Torque is what will help pull the Solterra up a high mountain pass. The Tesla Model Y blows the Solterra away with 471 lb-ft, and the Mustang Mach-E has 317 lb-ft. Check out the story below revealing how the Solterra smoked the Forester in an acceleration test.

Towing capacity is a question

Subaru has not released the towing capacity of the Solterra, and a tow hitch on the Solterra is optional. The Volkswagen ID.4 has a towing capacity of 2,700 lbs.

Roof rails are not standard on Solterra?

Roof rails are an option and not standard on the Solterra. Roof rails are standard equipment on the Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs, so its surprising customers will need to add them to the Solterra if they want to carry bike racks, a cargo box, or camp with a roof-top tent.

2023 Subaru Solterra all-electric compact SUV features, specs

Solterra falls short in range performance

Like all-wheel-drive in a gasoline-powered vehicle, range will be limited because of Solterra's all-wheel-drive hardware. The front-wheel-drive version (not announced for the U.S.) gets 250 miles of range versus 220 miles per charge for the all-wheel-drive configuration.

The all-wheel-drive Volkswagen ID.4 's range suffers a little for the extra weight and performance, but not much. The two-wheel-drive range is an EPA estimated 249 miles, and the AWD Pro S is 240 miles.

What is the price of the 2023 Subaru Solterra?

Subaru of America has not announced pricing yet, but reports say the new 2023 Solterra EV SUV will be priced in the low $40,000 range. Pricing will be after Federal ($7,500) and State rebates. The Volkswagen ID.4 has a starting price of $43,675.

The final conclusion

The 2023 Subaru Solterra will be rugged enough for the brand's active customers for off-road adventures and getting off the beaten path with standard X-Mode and 8.3-inches of ground clearance. The EV has ample torque for pulling a mountain pass, but the Solterra falls short in range performance compared with other EVs and the all-wheel-drive Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S.

Subaru thinks their loyal followers will buy the 2023 Subaru Solterra. "The essence of Subaru cars remains the same even with this battery-EV model," Chief Technology Officer Tetsuo Fujinuki said. "The Solterra is our all-wheel-drive EV, so you can feel that it is a Subaru car when you ride in it. Other EVs are not fun to drive."

You Might Also Like: Watch The New Subaru Solterra EV Smoke Forester In Acceleration Test

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


Jerry (not verified)    November 23, 2021 - 5:27PM

This might be less important than ground clearance, performance & reliability to some owners, but as a satisfied Forester owner, I especially appreciate the outstanding comfort & adjustability of the Forester front seats & the driving position relative to the accelerator & brake pedals. In my opinion, the Forester front seats are wider & more comfortable than many other brands, including Tesla Y. I wonder if the Solterra seating is more like a Toyota or more like a Subaru Forester.

Rex King (not verified)    November 23, 2021 - 11:07PM

I envision an owner going waay off-road and camping for the night. To charge the car he'll do either:
A- plug in to a current bush
B- fire up the gas powered generator he hauled up there with him. The one which has no emissions controls!

Charles (not verified)    May 25, 2024 - 2:54PM

In reply to by Rex King (not verified)

C - portable solar panel(s) with enough power to actually result in net charging. (Depending on vehicle & how much you drive, 8-12 regular solar panels are enough to keep your EV charged at home. You won't want to haul all that on a camping trip, but could get a net charge.)

Joel (not verified)    November 24, 2021 - 9:37AM

Between weak range (220 at a 100% charge, and most know that you should charge to 80% most of the time to get the most out of the batteries over time, and remember cold, wind, hillls, also have a negative impact on range), ground clearance is an okay 8.3 inches, but really, this is just for dirt roads or easy mountain roads. Also, if you have a flat, you can lift up the truck and grab . . . a an of fix-a-flat. If there is no spare tire, this is NOT anything I'd want to take off paved roads except for very short trips into the forest. I am disappointed, was hoping for more, but I suppose it is better than nothing--hopefully will get better from here, but it's not for me, and that's disappointing.