2023 Subaru Solterra Off-Road – A Subaru crossover is a great vehicle for going off-road. It’s quite an experience for Subaru’s first electric cross country vehicle to reach the sun in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest.
2023 Subaru Solterra Off-Road Review
The 2023 Subaru Solterra bridges between sun and earth. The Subaru Solterra is late to electric and does more for Subaru that the EV market. Toyota has partnered with Solterra to produce the Solterra. It is mechanically similar to the Toyota BZ4X, which was also the first mass-produced electric car.
However, the Solterra does what Subarus are known for: it goes off-road on trails. The dual-motor Subaru system was capable of providing adequate driving conditions, if it wasn’t perfect, for accessing Scottsdale’s roads. Each motor can power one axle and is capable of producing 80 kW. Splitting the 249 lbft torque can be done to split it between the rear and front axles. This allows heavy acceleration and 70/30 brakes to prevent understeer. It can go from a standstill to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. It is also lighter than most rivals. The base Premium trim weighs 4,365 lb and the Touring trim 4,505 lb. There are no differences between Eco, Sport, and normal acceleration modes. You can activate them all by pressing a button at the console.
It is quieter than a Subaru flat-4 which can be noisy when coupled with a CVT. The electric car doesn’t make motor noises, making it quieter. All-season tires wrapped around 20-inch wheels are quiet and produce very little noise on the highway (18 are standard). It rides well and is composed of struts at the front and double wishbones at the back. It can be a bit nimble on uneven terrain. Even though I wasn’t pushing the car at the Scottsdale-area 90-degree intersections, Solterra owners won’t mistake it for an automobile that can be used to race, unless they have the opportunity to test it. Although the steering is not responsive, the small-diameter wheel directs it where it needs to.
The five settings for the regen brake were not significantly different from other modes. A fifth button on the console can be used for activating the S-Pedal and one pedal-drive button. It doesn’t lurch as other EVs, and it doesn’t stop the brakes from a halt. It was necessary to apply the brakes at 3mph. When it stopped, it would go into crawl mode. In keeping with Toyota’s conservative approach, this is likely to look like a gas car. An auto-hold button kept it still, allowing it to continue to move and not need to stop.
I drove 48 miles at 2.8 miles/kwh for the 48-mile leg. Based on my driving style, this corresponds to the EPA’s 3.1 miles/kwh conversion. While the S-Pedal Off was the most used, the accelerator saw a lot of action. The range meter started at 295 miles. The reading dropped to 230 after I turned down the air conditioner to 70 degrees. The EPA states that it can travel 220-miles (in the base model), or 102 MPGe combined (104) depending on the model. The display doesn’t show the battery percentages which can be confusing. Subaru stated that it was there to make things easier for EV novices. I was not an expert in EVs so I was a bit confused. It took me 48 miles to cover the distance and cost me 59.
Other peculiarities include the Solterra’s absence of a glovebox and the location of the instrument cluster at its end, a tray that extends from Toyota’s dash to the windshield. It is as far as a head-up display. It’s a strange use of the real estate, with the small power meter and the even smaller vertical menu bar displaying Toyota vehicle information. The top of the wheel can block some of the display, but the seat or steering wheel adjustment will make it disappear. The crossbar, which divides the panoramic sunroof, is another notable feature. Subaru claims that this is to ensure safety. Another unusual feature is the wide central console, which is unusual for an electric car. The console takes up space at the front but the lower shelf can be used to replace your glovebox. The entire thing is covered with a lot of gloss black plastic. It houses the off-road and drives modes. The touchscreen, which is Toyota’s latest, more advanced version, does not require you to search for information. It’s easy for people to forget the past, and voice commands are very useful. However, the touchscreen does not automatically populate nearby charging stations. This is despite the fact that it’s partnered with Subaru’s EVgo Network. The Eco button adjusts the temperature and heat in the seats. It consumes less energy than standard HVAC. The occupant detection system allows it to direct cooling and heating to only occupied seats.
The entire experience felt very Toyota until the pavement ended and the road led to the desert valley. Even with all the traction control on, the rear brake started to tap out and slide on the loose gravel. The Subaru system quickly fixed the issue and the driver was able to turn off the first-level stability control. It was capable of handling more difficult terrain at higher speeds. This was my highlight of Solterra.
X-Mode was set at Snow/Dirt and it climbed unevenly on hills strewn with loose rock and dusty dirt. Grip Control is a third X-Mode setting. It acts as an off-road cruise control so drivers can focus on the obstacles rather than the pedals. You can use the toggle to control three settings that range from 3 to 5 MPH. The system will activate again once the threshold has been reached. Although the system is functional, it must be stopped using the gear set. The wheels of the other wheels grabbed the wheel being slipped or articulated on the ground until it was fixed. This would give newcomers the opportunity to explore deeper off-road terrain and increase their confidence. I could not test the Solterra at 19.7-inch depth. However, it felt as good off-road as any Subaru SUV. It was also far more capable than other electric crossovers. Subaru’s 8.3-inch ground clearance is 1.6 less than the Volkswagen ID.4, which is the next-best electric crossover competitor. It has better departure and approach angles than its competitors.
2023 Subaru Solterra Off-Road Revealed
Subaru enthusiasts love this ability, so the initial production run of 6,500 units was reserved by Subie fans. It is very similar to a Toyota and does not have the potential for electric vehicle development. For now, at least.