Subaru Solterra Review 2024

Subaru Solterra At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Subaru Solterra is a striking, well-made all-wheel-drive electric family SUV that’s surprisingly good to drive and remarkably easy to live with. However, it’s quite pricey, and in a busy area of the market, key rivals offer greater driving range.

+Well built. Good to drive. Standard all-wheel drive. Easy to live with.

-Pricier than many rivals. Iffy driving position. Poor cold-weather range.

This is Subaru’s first electric car. And if you think you’ve seen it before, that’s because it’s almost identical to the Toyota bZ4X medium-sized SUV following a collaboration between the companies. With rivals including the Volkswagen ID.4, the award-winning Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Toyota itself, it needs to be instantly competitive. Read on for our Subaru Solterra review.

The electric SUV market is awash with contenders at all price points, such as the Nissan Ariya, the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s sister car the Kia EV6, and the desirable Tesla Model Y. Standing out is no easy task. 

The Subaru Solterra wears an almost identical crease-happy suit to the Toyota bZ4X. The only real visual differences are in the front non-grille design and a whiff of tailgate tweaking.

On board, the cabin styling and finish is so much better than anything we’ve yet seen from Subaru that you’d be forgiven for automatically assuming Toyota’s designers held sway in this department.

If they did, we’d like a quiet word with them about the driver’s instrument binnacle design, though.

Someone’s had a look at Peugeot’s irritating i-Cockpit and decided that it is actually a good idea to have your head in the clouds and the steering wheel in your lap when driving, merely in order to be able to see the speedometer.

The Subaru Solterra follows suit, and it makes for an awkward driving position. Rear-seat accommodation is good, however, and loadspace capacity adequate, although there is no ‘frunk’ under the bonnet.

There are just two trim levels to choose from: the entry-level Limited model priced from £52,495, and the Touring spec from £55,495.

Although billed as ‘entry’ level, the Subaru Solterra Limited model’s equipment specification is pleasingly comprehensive, leaving a fairly modest equipment upgrade list for the Subaru Solterra Touring model to offer.

That short list includes an alloy wheel size increase from 18 to 20 inches, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, wireless phone charging and a posher stereo.

Subaru helped develop the platform used by both Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra, and with the brand synonymous with four-wheel drive, it also worked on the specific off-road settings featured in the X-Mode system common to both cars. This controls the electric motors and brakes to maximise traction on tricky terrain.

The Subaru Solterra features permanent all-wheel drive courtesy of an electric motor at each axle, whereas it’s an option on the Toyota bZ4X.

The Subaru Solterra is offered with just one powertrain – a 71.4kWh battery used to power two electric motors.

Together, the two motors produce 218PS and a handsome 337Nm of torque, powering it smoothly from a standstill to 62mph in 6.9 seconds.

Range is quoted at 289 miles for cars on 18-inch wheels, falling to 257 miles for those shod in 20-inch rubber. 

Unfortunately, however, that range seems to suffer in cold weather, despite the presence of a heat pump to shunt some warmth the battery’s way.

With a 150kW fast charging capability, the battery can be charged up to 80% of its capacity in about half an hour.

Out on the road, you’ll find a pleasant balance between tidy handling and a settled ride. Motorway cruising is composed, and quiet enough, and when the going gets twisty, the Subaru Solterra acquits itself quite honourably with body roll kept to a minimum and a quietly enthusiastic approach to cornering.

The steering’s light enough to make urban manoeuvring a doddle, yet still well weighted enough to keep you involved on a challenging B-road.

A pretty good effort for Subaru’s first ever all-electric car, then: surprisingly engaging to drive, comfortable in the cruise, and with great on-board tech allied to good old-fashioned, easy-to-use controls and switchgear.

Though the Subaru Solterra lags behind key rivals a tad on practicality, range and starting prices, some may still be swayed by its remarkably able all-wheel-drive capabilities.