Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Transport

Subaru Prepares To Launch The Solterra In The US — Will It Do Better Than Toyota?

Toyota’s bZ4X hasn’t had an easy time in the market. At CleanTechnica, we have been vocal in our criticism of Toyota for allying with the Trump administration against California’s Air Resources Board, disingenuously marketing hybrids as “self charging electric cars,” bankrolling fuel cell technology over battery-electric vehicles, and overall slow pace to bring EVs to market. So, it’s probably no surprise that we’d laugh at its expense when its first EV proved to be a half-hearted effort.

Why would I say that? The results speak for themselves thus far. Not only did it have problems with the lugnuts not being sufficiently tight from the factory (a rookie mistake a teenage girl might make — don’t ask me how I know this), but the reviews were less than stellar, and failed even at the suborbital game. Charging is dreadfully slow (especially in the cold, which is super weird), there’s no one-pedal driving option, and ranges are competitive — with a sub-$30k Chevy Bolt EV.

With all of this in mind, CleanTechnica is not the only outlet calling it a phoned-in compliance car effort. It’s not just the Tesla Stan news sites, either. Mainstream automotive press that tends to be nice to non-Tesla EVs are saying this.

But, there’s a possible ray of hope for the vehicle: The Subaru Solterra. Coming from the same factory and with the same underpinnings, but with Subaru improvements, we have to wonder whether Subaru will get it right, or at least significantly better.

The highly-anticipated 2023 Solterra from Subaru Canada, Inc. has finally been announced with pricing information! This SUV represents what Subaru says is the future of the company and they say it stays true to its heritage with excellent industry-leading safety features and go-anywhere capability.

Specs are pretty similar to its brother from Toyota. The 2023 Solterra comes with a 72.8 kWh lithium-ion battery, which gives the driver up to 360 km of range. The car has dual 80 kW electric motors located at both the front and rear axles for stability and power. In addition, it comes with a CCS1 Combo charger that supports Level One and Level Two AC charging, as well as 100kW DC fast charging — the latter being able to charge the car up to 80% in fifty minutes.

Subaru is promising connectivity, too. Subaru Solterra Connect is divided into four categories to keep the driver informed and connected to their vehicle. Safety Connect (three-year trial subscription) automatically notifies drivers of collisions, offers roadside assistance, emergency service, stolen vehicle recovery, and immobilizer features. Remote connect (three-year trial subscription) allows drivers to control various aspects of their car from afar like honking the horn and turning lights on/off, as well as locking or unlocking doors, setting climate controls, and locating charging stations — all with scheduling capabilities.

Service Connect (five-year trial subscription) allows you to schedule maintenance appointments, receive alerts, and get a vehicle health report. Lastly, Drive Connect provides cloud-based navigation, remote destination entry, and an intelligent assistant — but only when the available subscription is activated.

Subaru also seems confident that the wheels won’t fall off, even off-road. The company brags that the Solterra AWD comes with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Dual-Function X-MODE for increased control when off-road. Power and Eco drive modes help to maximize the available range, an S pedelec mode provides a power boost up to 18 mph (28 km/h), and regenerative braking recharges the battery while driving. The vehicle also has hill ascent and descent assist, 18″ aluminum alloy wheels, and aerodynamic wheel covers to reduce drag.

The Solterra comes with fully automatic LED headlights and taillights, as well as a rear underbody diffuser, giving it an aggressive look. Other exterior features include a rearview camera, wiper de-icer, and power-adjustable door mirrors that can be folded and heated.

Inside, you’ll find a leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cloth seating surfaces and automatic heated seats. You’ll also enjoy the 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster with multi-information display and 8.0-inch touch screen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – all connected to a 6 speaker audio system. Plus, there are dual USB C ports in the front of the vehicle and a USB A port in the center console for even more connectivity options.

It seems that Subaru is also offering some safety features Toyota isn’t offering. The standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technologies include Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Emergency Driving Stop System, Road Sign Assist, Parking Support Brake, and Lane Tracing Assist. These technologies are included to increase passenger safety as well as the driver’s.

Luxury & Tech Packages

If you’re looking to upgrade your Solterra AWD, the Luxury package is a great option, priced at $4,100. Adding three cameras around the vehicle — one in the front and one on both driver and passenger sides — the standard rearview camera creates a panoramic view monitor, giving you a 360-degree view of everything happening around your vehicle. Other upgrades include two-tone 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels with machine finish, LED fog lamps, power folding door mirrors with integrated LED turn signals and passenger reverse tilt, LED puddle lamps, low profile roof rails, rain-sensing headlight-linked wipers — all atop a sleek split design roofline spoiler.

For an additional $7,800, you can purchase the Technology Package for your Solterra AWD. This comes with all of the features from the luxury package as well as a gloss black hood accent, rearview camera washer, panoramic fixed glass roof with power retractable sunshade, and chrome or black window trim on single-tone and two-tone exterior paint colours respectively. Interior upgrades include ventilated front seats with auto functionality, and ambient lighting.

But, Will It Perform Better?

Even if the car is practically identical to Toyota’s offering, it wouldn’t take much to do better than Toyota did. Simply getting the lugnut torque right would avoid some of the worst bad press. But, the big question will be whether charging speeds are better than that of the Toyota. If it was only a matter of software, Subaru might have gotten a clue and will avoid peeing on the electric fence that Toyota did. If there’s a mechanical reason for the slowness, Subaru might be in for more of a rough ride than its buyers usually imagine.

Featured image provided by Subaru.

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


You May Also Like


Paul Wildman with David Waterworth. (Certification chatGTP was not used in the writing of this article.) Recent conservations with my mate, retired economics professor...


With EV charging standardization still up in the air, Tesla CEO Elon Musk goes to Washington.


Akio Toyoda is stepping aside as CEO of Toyota in favor of Koji Sato, the head of Lexus. Does this mean more electric cars...


Australian media is awash with news of companies transforming Toyota’s Land Cruisers and Hilux into electric utes. One must ask, is Toyota blind to...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.