2023 Subaru Solterra: A More Powerful Electric Off-Road SUV, But How Far Can You Actually Go?
How does the Solterra drive?
The Solterra is powered by two electric motors drawing from a 72.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The engines produce the equivalent of 215 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. That might not sound like much, but we drove the Solterra on both city roads and off-road and found that it should have plenty of push for most people. The Solterra has an available Power Drive mode – its Toyota cousin doesn’t – which makes acceleration feel more responsive when you press the right pedal.
The Solterra has a few more tricks up its sleeve than the bZ4X; It has a pair of paddles behind the wheel that can be used to increase or decrease the aggressiveness of the car’s regenerative braking. This gives you the ability to use a single-pedal driving style (a feature the bZ4X doesn’t offer), although you still have to hit the brake pedal to come to a full stop. And while the Solterra and bZ4X AWD models have Terrain Management modes – which provide additional capabilities in slippery weather, icy conditions, and on dirt and mud – the Solterra’s slightly higher ground clearance and approach angle allow it to venture into places that the bZ4X or its competitors cannot.
How comfortable is the Solterra?
The suspension of the Solterra ensures a pleasant driving experience and skilfully dampens bumps on the road. Subaru gave us the ability to drive on a variety of off-road surfaces, from gravel trails to rocky climbs and descents. The Solterra never lost her composure, nor did she feel like her passengers were being beaten about the rough terrain.
One problem created by the EV platform is a high floor – due to the bulky battery underfoot – creating a narrow opening to get in and out of all four doors. The cabin offers plenty of rear legroom, and taller passengers shouldn’t have trouble stretching out, although rear headroom is a bit tight compared to the front. If you plan on regularly transporting taller passengers, ditch the top-of-the-line Touring’s panoramic sunroof to gain about an inch more rear headroom.