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Review QuickTakes:

The 2023 Subaru Solterra is an electric, five-passenger crossover SUV. Compact on the outside but offering a larger than typical interior, the Solterra is Subaru's first all-electric vehicle, developed in partnership with Toyota, which sells its version of the EV as the oddly-named bZ4X. Subaru says it offers up to 228 miles of driving range on a full battery, and the 2023 Solterra features standard all-wheel-drive (AWD), 8.3 inches of ground clearance, and 29 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat.

What's New for the 2023 Subaru Solterra?

The Subaru Solterra is a new model for 2023 that attempts to blend the company's traditional off-road capability with electric propulsion in a two-row crossover SUV that's pleasing to drive daily. The Solterra is built on a new e-Subaru Global Platform EV architecture and introduces a new Subaru StarDrive electric powertrain with 215 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque.

As expected for a Subaru, the automaker's EyeSight collection of advanced driving assistance systems is standard. In addition, the Solterra is the first Subaru to get a surround-view camera system and a Safety Exit Alert system that warns occupants when it is unsafe to open a door due to approaching traffic or cyclists.

Additionally, the 2023 Solterra also features an available 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with horizontal rather than vertical orientation, natural voice recognition technology, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and more.

How Much is a Subaru Solterra?

As it first goes on sale, 2023 Subaru Solterra prices range from the Solterra Premium at $46,220 to the Solterra Touring at $53,220, including a destination charge of $1,225 to ship it from the Japanese factory that builds it to your local dealership.

2023 Subaru Solterra Trim Levels and Configurations

Subaru offers the Solterra as a two-row crossover SUV with seating for five people. It is available in three trim levels featuring the following equipment highlights:

Subaru Solterra Premium – Though it serves as the most affordable version of the Solterra, the Premium trim includes alloy wheels, AWD, Subaru X-Mode off-road traction assist with Grip Control (hill ascent and descent assist), and LED headlights with automatic high-beam control.

Inside, the Solterra Premium features cloth seats and automatic climate control. Solterra Connect services allow owners to remotely start the EV and pre-condition the interior temperature while the Solterra is still plugged in.

Premium trim also features EyeSight, equipping the Solterra Premium with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and more. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is also standard.

Subaru Solterra Limited – Choose the Solterra Limited for 20-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, purposeful roof rails, and a power rear liftgate featuring dual spoilers. The interior has StarTex simulated leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.

This version of the EV also gets a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cloud-based navigation, natural voice recognition, wireless smartphone charging, and a Harman Kardon premium sound system. In addition, a surround-view camera system aids outward visibility.

Subaru Solterra Touring – Select the Solterra Limited, and you'll receive a panoramic glass roof, ambient cabin lighting, ventilated front seats, and a camera-based rearview mirror. Two-tone paint with a contrasting roof color is also available with Limited trim.


2023 Subaru Solterra Review and Test Drive

Test Drive QuickTakes:

The all-new 2023 Solterra is Subaru's first pure-electric offering, which presented some challenges to the small Japanese automaker.

First, developing a brand-new EV is cost-prohibitive, so Subaru called upon its strong relationship with Toyota to share its new dedicated all-electric Toyota New Global Architecture (e-TNGA) platform. Toyota's first EV based on e-TNGA is named the bZ4X (a real tongue-twister), while Subaru is marketing its version of the same vehicle as the Solterra, built on an e-Subaru Global Platform.

Second, Subaru has to convince its traditional active lifestyle customer base that the new combustion-free Solterra crossover offers everything they expect from a Subaru. That includes all-wheel drive, raised ground clearance, roof racks, durable interiors, comprehensive safety features, and a reliable powerplant.

It's no surprise that the bZ4X and Solterra are virtually identical – they're made in the same Japanese factory. Yet Subaru has chosen to raise its SUV for more ground clearance and fit all-wheel drive as standard equipment to appease its discerning customer base. Subaru also includes more premium equipment on its SUV to characterize the Solterra as a more upmarket offering than the bZ4X.


There is more than styling and equipment to differentiate the bZ4X and Solterra. The U.S. government offers federal tax credits of up to $7,500 to Subaru EV buyers, but Toyota reportedly won't be able to match that amount because it has sold its allotment of qualifying vehicles, and the credits are phasing out for the automaker. That could be a significant advantage for Subaru.

For this 2023 Subaru Solterra review, we test-drove the Touring trim with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $53,220, including the $1,225 destination charge. To experience the vehicle, Subaru invited me to Santa Barbara, California, for a product briefing and a two-hour drive on the surrounding local roads. The company also flew me to Catalina Island, just off the coast of Los Angeles, to drive the all-electric SUV on dirt roads that included a handful of challenging off-road climbs and descents. Subaru paid for my meals, lodging, and some of the transportation costs.

2023 Subaru Solterra Review: The Design

The Subaru Solterra might be mistaken for a Toyota at first glance. The overall exterior styling, with sharp angles and concept-like patterns on the bodywork, suggests "Toyota" from every angle. And speculators won't be incorrect. Except for a restyled front end that incorporates Subaru's signature hexagonal grille, a barely tweaked rear end, and unique wheel designs, the exterior styling of the Subaru Solterra is virtually identical to the Toyota bZ4X.


And don't expect things to be different on the inside. The platform-sharing Solterra is a virtual clone of the Toyota bZ4X within the passenger cabin. That's not a negative, though, as the interior's overall build quality and execution are good. The environmentally-friendly StarTex simulated leather upholstery and interior materials have a pleasant feel, appear durable and washable, and exhibit first-rate fit and finish.

The Solterra gets a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, which is standard with Limited and Touring trim, and is supportive and comfy for long drives. The passenger's seat is equally as comfortable but is manually adjustable. Adults enjoy generous head, shoulder, and legroom in the second row, but the floor is higher than usual since the batteries are hidden beneath the floor, consuming space. Consequently, tall adults will find their thighs lifted uncomfortably off the lower seat cushion, which becomes uncomfortable on longer drives.


Overall, the cabin configuration and control layout are conventional, except for the primary instrument cluster. Instead of placing it directly behind the steering wheel (where a driver would view it through the wheel), it is closer to the windshield and raised nearly half a foot. The effect is similar to a head-up display, as the driver views the instrument cluster above the top rim of the steering wheel.

That may sound a bit absurd and it looks awkward in pictures (where the wheel's rim appears to block vision), but it works exceptionally well in practice. Pertinent driving data, including speed and range, is directly within the driver's line of sight and only a glance away. As a bonus, it is effortless for your eyes to refocus on the information due to the display's location.

Aside from the unique primary instrument cluster, everything else is conventional in location and operation. Frequently used controls, such as for the phone and audio system, are on the steering wheel to the left, while on the right side, you'll find cruise control functions. The Solterra's control layout couldn't be more intuitive.

Regrettably, there is no easy-to-use volume knob for the audio system. Instead, there are two tiny up/down buttons on each side of a system power button at the bottom of the infotainment screen – a round knob would have been much more natural. In addition, while I like the location of the driving controls and the vehicle's master Power button just beneath the center air vents, it is necessary to press the drive mode dial before it rotates into Reverse or Drive. This design wasn’t immediately intuitive. Thankfully, the Park button is easy to spot adjacent to the dial.


There is a lot of cargo space in the Solterra's trunk, which is tall and wide to accommodate items of various sizes and shapes. The second row of seats folds in a 60:40 split to increase utility, and they lay nearly flat. Subaru says the lower portion of the rear bumper is unpainted as a courtesy to owners – no need to worry about scratching the paint when loading pets or other items. Of particular note are the standard roof rails that hold 176 pounds while driving (dynamic) or an impressive 700 pounds while parked (static). That static rating makes the roof strong enough to support a two-person roof-mounted camping tent.

2023 Subaru Solterra Review: The Technology

The Subaru Solterra features a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Choose Limited or Touring trim, and you'll get a larger 12.3-inch screen. The screen's location at the top of the center console is easy to see, and its placement is effortless to reach by both front passengers.


Instead of the standard Starlink infotainment system most Subaru models get, the platform-sharing Solterra uses the newest infotainment operating system from Toyota – and it's terrific. There isn't a traditional home screen on the display. Instead, there are five digital "hot keys" running vertically down the left side of the screen with self-explanatory icons for navigation, audio, phone, vehicle, and setup. The dedicated virtual keys eliminate the need to hunt for a menu button while simultaneously speeding operations up – I wish more automakers would mirror this layout.

Those who want to skip the factory interface completely may utilize the standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. And to keep the wireless trend going, there is an available wireless charging pad hidden beneath a windowed panel on the center console. Other power sockets include a 12-volt power outlet for the front passengers and multiple USB-A and USB-C charging ports in both rows.


Subaru touts a cloud-based voice assistant that works with the infotainment system. In theory, this allows occupants to issue commands for phone calls or navigation, such as: "Hey Subaru, navigate to my home." Supposedly, the tech is also sophisticated enough to determine what seat the command originates. So, for example, a front passenger simply needs to state: "Hey Subaru, turn on my heated seat."

In practice, these systems require familiarization and training. My impromptu voice tests predominantly resulted in, "I'm sorry, but that function is unavailable." I remain uninspired.

Although it breaks no new ground in innovation, the Solterra is chock-full of driver-assist and collision avoidance technology. Highlights include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, emergency steering assist, intersection collision avoidance support, and more.


Subaru bundles most everything under its EyeSight branding, which is a bit of a misnomer in the Solterra because the name refers to the dual cameras mounted by the rearview mirror in most of its models. The Toyota-engineered Solterra uses bumper-mounted radars instead, though the Solterra's EyeSight technology is state-of-the-art and operates transparently to the driver—precisely as intended.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has performed crash tests on the all-new 2023 Subaru Solterra. However, Subaru states that it has targeted a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS and five-star NHTSA ratings.

2023 Subaru Solterra Review: The Drive

The new 2023 Subaru Solterra is equipped with a standard Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, in this case, a two-motor powertrain with a single-speed integrated transaxle. Together, the two motors deliver 215 horsepower and 249 lb.-ft. of torque.


A 72.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted beneath the passenger floor stores the Solterra's energy. Depending on the trim level, a full charge gives between 222 and 228 miles – about average in today's EV market. In addition, the Solterra is compatible with DC fast chargers, providing an 80-percent charge in less than an hour. If owners choose to replenish at home on a Level 2 charger or use a 240-volt public charging station, recharging the vehicle takes approximately nine hours.

Subaru fits the Solterra with a drive mode button to toggle between three self-explanatory settings called Eco, Normal, and Power. Despite a 4,400-pound curb weight, the Solterra accelerates with enthusiasm and is downright quick off the line. Subaru says it will take about 6.5 seconds to accelerate from rest to 60 mph. Pulling onto a fast-moving highway is a stress-free endeavor, even with four adults on board, as the torque from the Subaru's two electric motors is instantaneous. Like most other electric cars, the Solterra loses some of its zip above 65 mph (blame the single-speed gearbox), but it's never a slouch.


On-road, its demeanor is excellent thanks to well-tuned independent front and rear suspension that provides a smooth ride over most surfaces. However, the ride feels firm if the pavement is rough or broken. The batteries add substantial weight to the electric crossover, making the Solterra about 900 pounds heavier than a Subaru Forester. Yet this acts as a mass damper, helping to absorb some of the harsh impacts that typically bounce the chassis around.

The heavy battery pack also lowers the vehicle's center of gravity, improving cornering and dynamic stability by reducing body roll. As a result, the Subaru feels stable and planted at all speeds, and the steering is nicely weighted. Cornering grip is only limited by the squirming tread of the all-season tires (235/60R18 on Premium models and 235/50R20 on Limited and Touring models).


Whether on- or off-road, the driver may configure the amount of brake regeneration via the steering wheel paddles or with the S-Pedal Drive button on the center console. While coasting, the regenerative braking is hardly noticeable in the lightest setting. The most aggressive setting slows the vehicle significantly, but it still falls short of allowing actual one-pedal driving, so you'll still need to step on the brake pedal to bring the SUV to a complete stop.

Off-road, the Solterra is capable and sure-footed on the unpaved and unimproved roads that most adventurers will encounter. In fact, it should be okay tackling a "Class 4" rutted and rocky backcountry trail. The 8.3 inches of ground clearance helps the vehicle clear most reasonable obstacles, and the low center of gravity adds significant stability. In addition, electric vehicles offer much quicker and more reactive electronic traction control (ESC) because electric motors respond significantly faster to traction losses. Subaru complements the ESC with its dual-function X-Mode terrain settings, including Grip Control, as standard equipment. Subaru's X-Mode is tuned to overcome the challenge, whether in sand, snow, or mud.

Is the 2023 Subaru Solterra a Good Electric Vehicle?

The 2023 Subaru Solterra breaks no new ground in technical innovation, electric range, or driving dynamics. In the most elementary sense, it drives just like every other competent and well-engineered pure-electric vehicle today, yet it delivers on everything Subaru promises. The Solterra is roomy, and comfortable for families, and it provides great utility and moderate off-road capability to those with active lifestyles.

Subaru Solterra Competitors for 2023

With the 2023 Solterra, Subaru enters a growing electric vehicle segment that offers five-passenger seating and AWD in a crossover SUV configuration. Rivals to the Solterra include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, Toyota bZ4X, and Volkswagen ID.4.

Subaru Solterra Features


With good ground clearance, AWD, and Subaru's X-Mode technology, the 2023 Solterra is an electric vehicle that can battle blizzards while taking you further off of the pavement than the competition.

2023 Subaru Solterra Safety Features

  • EyeSight – Standard package of driver-assist and collision avoidance systems
  • Blind-spot Monitoring – Standard feature warns the driver when other vehicles are in the Solterra's blind spots
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert – Standard feature warns the driver when other vehicles are approaching from the sides while reversing
  • Safety Exit Alert – Available feature warns occupants when it is not safe to open a door*
  • Surround-view camera – Available feature shows a 360-degree view of the Solterra and its surroundings*

2023 Subaru Solterra Technology

  • Infotainment system – Standard 8-inch and available 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • Solterra Connect – Standard connected services with a smartphone app and remote access to vehicle functions
  • Smartphone integration – Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with available wireless connectivity
  • Navigation system – Available feature*
  • Natural voice recognition – Available feature*

2023 Subaru Solterra Specs

  • StarDrive electric drivetrain
  • Front and rear electric motors (AWD)
  • Lithium-ion battery with DC Fast Charging capability
  • 215 hp and 249 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Estimated EPA driving range: 222 to 228 miles

2023 Subaru Solterra Interior

  • StarTex – Available simulated leather seats*
  • Heated front and rear seats – Available feature*
  • Ventilated front seats – Available feature*
  • Panoramic glass roof – Available feature*
  • Premium sound system – Available Harman Kardon audio system*

*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections

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author photo
Michael Harley
I’m one of the lucky few who have been able to turn my passion for automobiles into a professional career. On that note, I’ve written reviews for the industry’s top outlets, been quoted about events and trends by the leading business publications, and appeared on national television discussing new vehicles and safety. As a bona fide “car guy,” I jump at the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of every new car, truck, and SUV — and communicate to others about the experience.
author photo
Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.

Solterra Features

  • Seat Trim
    • Premium Synthetic Seats
  • Seats
    • Power Driver Seat
    • Pass-Through Rear Seat
    • Bucket Seats
    • Heated Front Seat(s)
    • Driver Adjustable Lumbar
    • Seat Memory
    • Heated Rear Seat(s)
    • Cooled Front Seat(s)
    • Rear Bench Seat