Subaru Solterra electric vehicle to debut in 2023.
Subaru Australia used the occasion of its recent WRX performance car launch to give a first look at its forthcoming Solterra electric vehicle (EV), due here in 2023.
The Solterra is based on the same dedicated EV architecture Toyota uses for its BZ4X electric SUV, due in late 2022.
Much in the way that the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 share technical underpinnings, the Subaru and Toyota are twins under the skin but will be differentiated by individual interior and exterior styling, features and possibly range and performance.
One area where the Solterra will certainly differ from the BZ4X is in its exclusive use of all-wheel drive, or Symmetrical All Wheel Drive as Subaru prefers to call it.
The latter is a Subaru brand hallmark and features on almost all its models, except for the BRZ sports coupe.
Toyota on the other hand will aim for maximum market share by offering the BZ4X in more affordable front-drive guise, with the more expensive models boasting all-wheel drive.
Subaru calls its version of the shared EV architecture the ‘e-Subaru Global Platform’ and says the technology features axle motors at the front and rear of the vehicle, with electronically controlled power distribution and brake vectoring to maintain optimised grip for each wheel, assuring stable traction on wet or slippery surfaces.
Both the front and rear electric motors offer a maximum 80kW of power for a combined system output of 160kW.
The motors are powered by a 71.4kW lithium-ion battery pack, capable of being charged up to 150kW on a DC fast charger, where rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 can charge more quickly at up to 230kW.
Subaru stopped short of stating a maximum driving range for the Solterra, but Toyota has previously said the AWD version of its technically similar BZ4X will be capable of travelling up to 460km on a charge.
By way of comparison, the larger Kia EV6 AWD boasts a 77.4kW high-voltage battery and 484km range, so the Solterra is competitive in this regard.
Stylistically, the Solterra boats familiar SUV styling cues, albeit with more of an edgy, futuristic feel courtesy of the blanked out hexagonal grille, distinctive headlights and bulging wheel arch flares clad in contrasting dark grey or black. Available alloy wheel sizes will be 18 or 20-inch depending on model variant.
The contemporary-looking cabin features a new Subaru signature cockpit layout, designed to be simple and easy to use with improved visibility of key driving information via a low-mounted instrument panel and a high-visibility screen mounted above the centre console.
Under its skin the Solterra packages its high-capacity battery beneath the floor, effectively utilising the battery pack as a part of the structure, which the company says provides improved body strength and rigidity, as well as a low centre of gravity.
Dimensionally, the Solterra is identical to the Toyota BZ4X at 4690mm long, 1860mm wide and 1650mm tall, and sits on the same 2850mm wheelbase.
That makes it 90mm longer and 10mm wider but 40mm shorter than the Toyota RAV4 SUV, and with an additional 160mm wheelbase.
That last number is important because it means the five-seat Solterra will offer more interior space than a RAV4, which is already one of Australia’s most popular family SUVs.
Pricing and an exact release date for the Subaru Solterra has not yet been confirmed but expectations are it will arrive in the first half of 2023 and be priced from $70,000–$80,000.
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