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Solterra joins the electric SUV party

Subaru is famous for its rugged off-roaders, but now it too has joined the electric revolution with the Solterra, a brand new SUV conceived in collaboration with Toyota.


Collaboration is becoming more and more common as firms seek to cut costs, but also maximise technology, which, of course, cuts costs. In this case Subaru’s outstanding all-wheel-drive technology and Toyota’s tried and tested vehicle electrification technology.

Great, but the first question many ask about electric cars is: what is the range?

Pretty good it turned out with up to 289 miles according to WLTP figures and the ability to fast charge up to 80 per cent in around 30 minutes. A big tick on the range anxiety factor as that figure seemed pretty close, in admittedly good electric vehicle driving conditions.

It looks good, sitting high off the ground and featuring smart 20-inch alloy wheels on this Touring model and with a 210mm ground clearance, it means that Subaru’s legendary off-road capability can be tested to the full.

There are just two trim levels, Limited and Touring and although not cheap, both are packed with standard equipment like alloy wheels, heated steering wheel and seats, plus what seems a necessity as cars get bigger, a 360-degree parking camera, a digital rear-view mirror. Limited starts from £52,495, but upgrade to the touring at £55,495 and you can add panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon sound system and wireless smartphone charging.

Both feature adaptive LED headlights, auto wipers, privacy glass, and keyless entry to name just a few.

Solterra interior

So how does it shape up:

Interior: A seven-inch top-mounted digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen with an advanced design controls major functions like connectivity, navigation and infotainment while the Driver Monitor System, allows for personalised settings. Other controls are logically laid out and easy to use and the cabin is spacious with good head and legroom and there are also four USB ports.

On the road: Like all electric cars, acceleration is rapid, and this large SUV has plenty of pace, hitting 60mph in just under seven seconds. Ride comfort is good but handling is not the strong point with off-roader and while not agile, it feels solid and all planted with only a hint of body roll on corners.

Power: Dual 60kW motors are powered by 71.4kWh battery, driving all wheels via automatic transmission to deliver smooth power delivery. This results in a more consistent and impressive performance. It also includes a heat pump to efficiently warm the battery.

Driving modes: Offering multiple driving modes which are pretty self-explanatory are ECO, NORMAL, and POWER depending on driver mood while a rotary shifter controls the transmission. The standard permanent all-wheel drive ensures excellent traction and control in various driving conditions..

Stowage: The 441 litre boot is, accessed via a powered tailgate is cavernous when the rear seats are folded and there is an extra 10 litres of storage space under the floor for the likes of power cables.

Pricing and appeal: While it may not be the cheapest 4WD electric vehicle it’s certainly competitive in its class. Subaru tends to have a loyal customer base, but this could broaden appeal to a wider audience.


Subaru Solterra Touring EV

Price: £55,495

Mechanical: 218PS, 160kW twin-motors, 71.4kWh battery, driving all wheels via automatic transmission

Max Speed: 100mph

0-62mph: 6.9 secs

Range: 289 miles

Insurance Group: 47

C02 emissions: 0

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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