2023 Subaru Solterra bows: No yoke for boxer brand’s first mainstream EV

Subaru and Toyota’s partnership has produced another offspring, but this time it’s an electric SUV rather than a gasoline boxer-engined sports car or the electrified hybrid heart of the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. The new 2023 Solterra was introduced Wednesday evening U.S. time, in Japanese spec via livestream

, giving us a first look at the prototype—comparing closely to the the < a href="https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1134025_2022-toyota-bz4x-electric-car-steering-yoke-solar-roof-tech">bZ4X
we saw last month as a prototype.

The U.S. version of the Solterra will make its debut next week at the Los Angeles auto show and we’ll have more details on that vehicle and in-person impressions as well, but there are many tasty nuggets we can already glean from the Japanese variant that was shown.

Predictably, the Solterra looks very familiar to the bZ4X with the same basic shape but a different grille, lighting, and other details. There are also small “EV” badges on both sides of the Solterra, above the same prominent black plastic fender cladding. Atop the back of the roof, there appears to be some ducting that routes air down the back of the raked rear liftgate.

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra will seat up to five passengers across two rows, similar to the Forester compact SUV. Its other dimensions are similar to those of the Forester as well, at 184.6 inches long, 73.2 inches wide, and 64.9 inches tall w ith a wheelbase of 112.2 inches. That makes it about 2 inches longer and wider than the Forester, but slightly shorter. Its wheelbase is just over 7 inches longer, which should mean that the Solterra’s interior dimensions will be more adult-friendly in the backseat.

Ground clearance is a robust 8.3 inches, which should give the Solterra some off-road capability. The introductory video showed the Solterra moving through a variety of off-road obstacles, including gravel and climbing a staircase of some kind. Subaru did confirm that the Solterra will offer the same X-Mode AWD control system found on many of its other vehicles (and it will be in the Toyota as well).

Subaru Solterra - screencap from reveal video

Subaru Solterra – screencap from reveal video

Curiously, the Japanese dimensions list both a front-wheel drive and an all-wheel drive model—just like the Toyota—though our guess is that only an AWD version makes it to the United States. Curb weight is estimated at 4,254 pounds for the FWD model and 4,453 pounds for the AWD version.

Powertrain details line up with those announced for the bZ4X: a 71.4-kwh lithium-ion battery pack, and 201 hp with FWD or 215 hp with AWD, thanks to the additional rear motor. Curiously, the mileage estimates between the two vehicles are different. Toyota quoted an anticipated 310 miles for the bZ4X on the Japanese WLTC cycle, but Subaru is a bit more optimistic with an estimated 329 miles (FWD) or 286 miles (AWD). There was no mention of charging hardware or charge times on the Solterra, but it will also probably line up with the Toyota in that regard. That means quick charge capability up to 150 kw with the ability to get to 80% capacity in 30 minutes.

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

Inside, the Solterra once again closely matches the Toyota with a cloth textured dashboard that sits ahead of a large touchscreen with climate controls below. There is no mention of a yoke steering wheel this time though (thankfully), but the dimensions do make mention of a solar roof that the two vehicles may share. 

We’ll be able to tell you more after seeing the Solterra in the flesh, and hopefully it wows us. The SUV will arrive in a crowded segment that’s currently populated by the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E, but that pair will soon be joined by the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Nissan Ariya. The Solterra’s potential off-road capability might be what it needs to stand out from the rest.