2023 Subaru Solterra Review: When Badge Engineering Goes Right | First Drive
When evaluating the new car, we look at all aspects of the vehicle. How does it drive whats it like to live with? Does it serve its intended purpose? That last question is important because there are hardly any bad cars anymore, but there are cars that should know better nearly completely identical to the toyota bz4x, which we like well enough, but dont love. The subaru saltera fits neatly into the subaru lineup as an all wheel. Drive only ev youve heard of badge engineering sure, but sometimes the badge makes all the difference. Music. The subaru sultera has a 72.8 kilowatt hour gross battery pack, sending power to two electric motors, giving the vehicle all wheel, drive power output is 215 horsepower and torque is rated at 249 pound feet with 8.9 inches of ground clearance, more than bz4x and most competitors. The saltera is rated for up to 228 miles of driving range, salteras have a dual function: x, mode system for the all wheel, drive theres, a snow and dirt mode, which is ideal for most two track trails to a campsite, then theres a deep snow and mud Mode thats, if youre pretty stuck saltera, has a new infotainment system as well. One thats nearly identical to the system from toyota. Its 12.3 inch touchscreen has a built in voice assistant and built in google maps navigation like the toyota system. It doesnt support dynamic route planning based on charging stations and it isnt as good as interpreting voice commands as systems using google voice like those in the gmc hummer, ev or pulstar 2.
. However, it does have wireless support for both android, auto and apple carplay. Youll have noticed that we keep referring to the toyota bz4x because they share a platform and other components. There are a lot of similarities if youre interested in even more information about the driving experience of the toyota and what its like to live with the strangely named bz4x click. The link in the description below also make sure to subscribe to our channel because well soon be bringing you an in depth. Look at the toyota and subaru charging performance and a range test you wont want to miss it, while its the first ev from subaru, the sultera slots directly in between the crosstrek and the forester. The electric performance, though, makes the experience much more pleasant than the crosstrek, while we generally like the crosstrek, the instant torque from the electric motors and no cvt transmission to fidget with means the sulterras performance is direct and to the point at highway speeds. The cabin is quiet and its easy to carry on a conversation at normal volume theres a little bit of wind noise noticeable because theres no drone in the cabin from an engine, but visibility is solid and the car is easy to drive an available 360 degree. Camera system works well on and off road, though we wished, it had a bit more resolution because its using toyotas safety technology, new cameras and radar units provide everything from blind spot monitoring to a reliable lane, keeping level 2 semi autonomous driving assistant.
It remains a hands on system, but its great for long highway drives. The saltera has a lot of curves and angles in its appearance, with black cladding around the wheel, arches extending to the headlights. We think it works better on the saltera than on the bz4x. Thanks to a solid painted cutout grille design that looks a bit more traditional, the subaru specific color harbor mist pearl tone looks great on the car. The subaru is also available with a roof rack that can support the weight of a rooftop tent, which is unique to subaru over the toyota. We really like the soltera. It makes a ton of sense in subarus lineup. The focus on having a bit more ground clearance means that subaru owners can go, do subaru things with the car getting to that ski resort, campsite or bike trail is important for owners, and the solterra is more than capable of delivering. Subaru owners also tend to skew more towards the environmentally conscious. Even wrx owners and subaru tells us that customers have been begging for an eevee to add to the garage. After spending a day of driving the car, both on and off road, we can say that it drives well on road. Just like the bz 4x does. They are similar experiences, its not a sporty drive, but it is a competent drive off road. The additional x mode software adds a ton of capability that we didnt expect the eco friendly crossover tires shouldnt perform as well as they do off tarmac, but the sultera delivers.
The level of confidence we quite frankly, didnt expect our biggest complaint about the toyota still exists with the subaru. A peak of 100 kilowatts for dc fast charging is too slow, but with so many eevee owners, never using a dc fast charger, its not a big of deal today as it might be in the future, but the zotero fits so perfectly into the lineup at subaru And into the overall mission of subaru, we think that makes all the difference and is why you should consider the solstera over the bz4x plus as toyota hits its cap for federal tax incentives. Saltera buyers will continue to be eligible for up to a 7 500 tax credit for likely years to come as a trail ready family friendly electric vehicle. The solterra customers will be looking for range interior space and capability. Its biggest competitors are going to be the toyota bz4x, its platform, mate, along with the volkswagen id4 and the tesla model y lets, see how they compare in the range department. The tesla wins, because its only available in a dual motor long range variant. The 2022 tesla model y is rated for 330 miles. The volkswagen id4 pro is rated for 251 miles of total range. The toyota bz4x in all wheel, drive trim is rated for 228 miles. That number should sound familiar because its also the exact same range of the subaru sultera at 228 miles in cargo capacity. The tesla has 30.
2 cubic feet of storage. Behind the second row of seats, the id4 eeks out the slightest of advantages with 30.3 cubic feet of cargo volume. Bz4X is a little less than both at 27.7 cubic feet, assuming you dont get the jbl premium audio system. Finally, the seltera is rated at 29 cubes with the luggage compartment decked down from maximum space, making vw the winner here, if only by a hair subaru likes to talk about ground clearance on its eevee. So lets take a look at that. The tesla model y has 6.6 inches of ground clearance again, with one tenth of an advantage is the volkswagen id4, which has 6.7 inches the toyota bz 4x has 8.1 inches of clearance, which is a solid increase over both those evs. However, the subaru sultera is even better with 8.9 inches of ground clearance, which the company claims is best in class, though we must admit if ride height is really your thing. The hummer ev has 16 inches of ground clearance in its extract mode. We have a full first drive review of that monster up on the channel too, but we digress if youre thinking you want to add this altera to your garage, youre, probably wondering how much it costs the subaru soleterra premium starts at 46, 220 with destination and delivery. Upgrading to the limited trim adds the upgraded infotainment system screen the 360 degree, panoramic camera and digital key support. It starts just under 50 000.
A fully loaded touring model starts at 53 220. We were generally surprised at how much brand messaging can change the perception of a vehicle. The sultera is much better as a subaru than the bz4x is as a toyota, thats, not to say the toyota is bad, its not, but it joins a lineup of a ton of electrified cars. The saltera is a gateway drug into electrification for fans that enhances what they look for in a subaru. Neither is perfect, but between the two, the crossover wearing the subaru badge is the one to get for more information on the subaru sulterra, including a full written review. Be sure to check out evpulse.