You can see the new Subaru Solterra at the LA Auto Show next week.
We’re about a week off from the car’s debut here in the U.S., but the 2023 Subaru Solterra did make an official appearance in Japan Thursday. We’ve known it was coming for awhile, and as you’d expect, the car looks virtually identical to its jointly-developed Toyota bZ4X sibling — though I’d wager this car sports a more memorable name.
Apart from the sun and earth reference signifying its electric-ness, though, the key changes come down to the front and rear fascias. Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The Solterra has a more “conventional” front clip with an indented faux grille, while the bZ4X has relatively few lines down the center of the front fascia. Around the back, the Subaru Solterra sports different taillights, and that pretty much sums up the changes. In light of the recent WRX redesign and the new Wilderness models, the black plastic cladding (also seen on the bZ4X) is right at home, though the focus here is clearly on its role as a battery electric vehicle.
What sort of capability can we expect?
In every single measurable dimension, the 2023 Subaru Solterra is identical to its Toyota sibling. Both ride on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, while the overall length comes out to 184.6 inches. Both cars are 73.2 inches wide and 65 inches tall. Despite what looks like minor styling changes, though, the Subaru is slightly heavier than the Toyota bZ4X. According to the Japanese spec sheets (U.S. specs aren’t available for either car just yet), the Solterra weighs in at 4,255 pounds in front-wheel drive, single-motor layout. The all-wheel drive, dual-motor layout adds another 198 pounds, for a total curb weight of 4,453 pounds.
Compare that to the Toyota, and the numbers come out to 4,233 pounds for the FWD model, and and 4,420 pounds for the AWD version. Both cars pack a 71.4-kWh battery, a 6.6-kWh Level 2 AC charger onboard and 150-kW DC fast charging capability.
As far as horsepower goes, Toyota and Subaru claim 201 horsepower (150 kW) for the front-wheel drive option. While the dual-motor version has an 107 horsepower (80 kW) rear motor, they only claim the total output at about 215 horsepower (160 kW). We’ll see whether that sort of tuning holds true for the U.S. models, though it’s hard to imagine either one will change much.
Despite the 2023 Subaru Solterra coming in a bit heavier than its Toyota counterpart, Subaru claims a higher range for the FWD model, somehow. Subaru estimates 330 miles (using the WLTP standard, which is almost always higher than EPA ratings), versus 311 miles for the Toyota. The AWD estimates, on the other hand, are identical, at 286 miles (again, using the WLTP standard).
There’s one “major” difference inside
Once you look inside, you’ll see that the 2023 Subaru Solterra is — you guessed it — pretty much just like the Toyota. Again, we’re looking at the Japanese, right-hand-drive model here, but the layout is identical. Unlike the Toyota, though, it appears there’s no steering yoke option available here. You’ll take your standard wheel and like it, although I have a hunch most of us probably won’t mind that omission. Does it look cool? Sure. Can you use it without eventually getting annoyed? That may be another story.
We’ll know more about the 2023 Subaru Solterra next week in LA, though like the 86/BRZ these two will mainly come down to a referendum on styling. Pricing may vary a bit, too, but we won’t know that for sure until next year, most likely.
Update: Earlier, I mistakenly wrote the Toyota bZ4X as “b4ZX”…just drives that naming point home, doesn’t it? Apologies for the error!