You don’t need a master’s degree in Latin to figure out the thinking behind the name of Subaru’s latest model. By combining the words for Sun and Earth, Subaru is signaling that this new vehicle is dedicated to protecting both keys to life on Earth. The 2023 Solterra represents Subaru’s commitment to building an EV SUV that is environmentally responsible. However, being committed to protecting the environment shouldn’t require drivers to compromise on the features they want in a vehicle, especially one produced by Subaru. In fact, the Solterra represents Subaru’s first EV after building a number of models with available hybrid powertrains, like the popular Crosstrek subcompact SUV. The Solterra should be arriving at your local Subaru dealer soon, so you won’t have to move Heaven and Earth to find one, let alone the Sun and the Earth.
Subaru’s goal in designing the Solterra is to build a fully electric model that contains all of the things you love about Subaru’s other SUVs. This is why the Solterra is all-wheel drive standard, with a tech-forward approach to such things as driver assistance technologies and infotainment. In this way, Subaru is looking to build on its success with models like the Outback, Crosstrek, and Forester, leveraging its technological advantages as it enters the growing EV field.
Harnessing the Power of the Sun Here on Earth
The 2023 Solterra features Subaru’s all-new, all-electric StarDrive drivetrain. This places a pair of 80 kW AC synchronous permanent-magnet motors, one in the front axle and the other in the rear. These feature an integrated transaxle and power inverter at the front and rear axles. This gives the Solterra a version of Subaru’s famous Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. In this case, it is electronically power-controlled with variable power distribution. Nevertheless, you get the dual-function X-MODE that is also on Subaru’s gas-powered and hybrid models. This allows you to toggle between snow/dirt and deep snow/mud modes in addition to the regular all-wheel drive setting.
The two electric motors are powered by a 72.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This contains 96 cells and is located in the lower chassis of the Solterra. This gives the two motors a combined output of 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. As a result, you can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a shocking 6.5 seconds, with a top speed of 110 miles per hour. That is good takeoff and acceleration for a non-performance-oriented Subaru model.
The Solterra features an onboard 6.6-kWh charger. This allows you to plug your Solterra into 120-volt, 240-volt, and DC fast charging outlets. The Level 1 charging time ranges from 35 hours to 77 hours, which can be a bit of a wait. If you go with Level 2 at 240 volts, you can fully recharge the Solterra’s battery pack in about nine hours. This is good if you plan to use the Solterra as a daily commuter vehicle, allowing you to do a full recharge overnight. If you are out on the road, you can recharge 80 percent of the battery in as little as 56 minutes at a public DC fast charging station.
The range on a full charge depends on which model you choose. The entry-level Solterra Premium has a range of up to 228 miles, while the Limited and Touring trims are slightly less, up to 222 miles. The Solterra features regenerative braking force, which recaptures a portion of the kinetic energy released when you step on the brakes. This will also help keep the battery pack recharged.
Safe on Earth Under the Sun
Subaru has built a reputation for safety. In fact, the brand has earned more Top Safety Pick+ awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety than any other automotive company since 2013. This is due in part to the Subaru EyeSight driver assistance technologies that come standard on most models.
The 2023 Solterra features a full complement of EyeSight technologies standard on all three models. This integrates a pair of cameras mounted behind the windshield just under the roofline of the Solterra, with sensors strategically located throughout the frame. This allows the full monitoring of the road around the Solterra. The Limited and Touring models have a Panoramic View Monitor that enhances this with a full 360-degree overhead view.
The standard Blind Spot Monitor will make changing lanes in your Solterra easier. The side views mirrors will illuminate when there is a vehicle in your blind spot or about to pass you in the lane, allowing you to know when the coast is clear to change lanes. The Lane Departure Prevention goes a step further and will use slight steering adjustments if you start to drift out of your lane. This will also help you avoid a collision on the road.
There are a number of unique safety features that come standard on the Solterra. The Emergency Steering Assist will give you tighter handling in an emergency system so you can take evasive action to avoid a collision. The Intersection Collision Avoidance Support works in a similar manner. If the system detects a potential collision at an intersection, it will help you take steps to avoid getting into an accident.
The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Lane Tracing Assist will adjust your Solterra’s speed depending on the traffic in front of your vehicle. It will also follow along the lane markers like the Lane Departure Prevention system, keeping your Solterra on course. In addition, the Solterra features Road Sign Assist with Vehicle Speed Limit Warning. This is great if you are a bit of a lead foot on the accelerator. The EyeSight system will read the road signs and let you know if you are exceeding the speed limit. This will help you avoid traffic tickets while also taking the place of any nagging backseat drivers.
The Greatest Show on Sun and Earth
The 2023 Solterra features Subaru’s newest version of its STARLINK Multimedia system. This combines key vehicle information with connectivity and entertainment features, all on an eight-inch high-resolution touchscreen. There is also an amazingly large 12.3-inch touchscreen that comes on the Limited and Touring models.
The system is the first to feature Subaru Solterra Connect. This provides connected services for safety, remote access, service appointments, and navigation. It also is a smart system, able to update through over-the-air (OTA) connections. This means that you won’t have to make a service visit to update the system. It also provides 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity for you and your passengers, so you can better stay connected and surf the Internet while in your Solterra.
The Solterra also features an Intelligent Assistant. If you need to adjust the HVAC system, just use the voice-activated controls to make the interior of your Solterra hotter or colder. You can even ask the Intelligent Assistant to place calls or adjust the audio system. Don’t like the music? Just ask the Intelligent Assistant to play something different.
Speaking of the audio system, the Limited and Touring models feature a Harman Kardon premium audio system. This features a 576-watt amplifier from one of the leaders in audio equipment. The system’s 11 speakers are strategically located throughout the Solterra’s cabin to maximize sound quality.
Every Solterra model features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. So, if you want to connect to your STARLINK Multimedia system, you won’t have to mess around with those annoying charging cables. Even so, there are a pair of USB-C illuminated charging ports in the back, and USB-A and USB-C illuminated input/charge ports in the front. In addition, the Limited and Touring models have a Qi wireless smartphone charging pad that will keep you and your passengers’ phones charged up and ready to go while you are out in your Solterra.
The Solterra Is Sun and Earth and Everything in Between
Subaru has utilized its knowledge of technology, safety, and performance to create its first EV, the Solterra. This blends the things that helped build Subaru’s reputation while looking to the future with an all-electric model. Whether you want to feel like you’re flying close to the sun or reconnect with the Earth, you can do so in a 2023 Subaru Solterra.