Mark Slack – Subaru Solterra

An EV with character

For a company that has built a reputation on providing cars with character, slightly left field, sporting and with go anywhere capability, then EVs are perhaps not such good news. A lot of the more affordable EVs tend to be quite workaday, automotive white goods for a purpose rather than fun.

Subaru is one of a few companies that faced this issue and having launched their first EV they’ve taken  a safe route in teaming up with Toyota in developing the BZ4X and Subaru’s own offering, the Solterra. The name combines the Latin words for sun and earth, which is far more imaginative than the BZ4X name.

At first glance there’s little bar some subtle styling changes to differentiate the two cars, but under the skin there are differences. The Subaru only comes in dual motor, permanent all-wheel-drive form, including hill descent control. Well it is a Subaru! This does provide a more interesting drive in my view and in addition to comfort the handling provides for enjoyment across more interesting cross-country roads.

Standard fare on the Solterra is excellent with the lead-in Limited model including items such as surround parking cameras, power tailgate, auto lights and wipers, main beam assist and power fold mirrors. The higher trim Touring gains a panoramic roof, wireless phone charging, faux leather upholstery and a Harmon Kardon premium sound system,

Inside it’s rather plain and despite the Peugeotesque steering wheel that sits below the instrument panel – normally you look through the wheel to the instruments – it all works well with nice clear instrumentation.

Some cars a colour sensitive and the Subaru is arguably looks classier and its presence amplified in darker colours.  I happened to park adjacent a Toyota BZ4X yet it was my dark Blue Solterra that drew the attention.

On the road the performance is, as with most EVs, rapid with the benchmark 62 mph reached in a whisker under 7 seconds. The range is perhaps not quite so impressive when you consider the Subaru is priced from €61,697/£52,495. The official range of 463km/288 miles would, as with all EVs, be less in the real world, and in winter as batteries do not like the cold. That said the Solterra does come with a heat pump as standard to help matters along.

For a first EV Subaru will to some have lost the character that has been its hallmark. I hope many others will see that Subaru has completed an almost impossible task with more than a degree of success.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.