Daily Driver: 2024 Subaru Solterra EV

June 18, 2024
2 mins read

Subaru has taken a bold leap into the electric vehicle market with the 2024 Solterra, its first fully electric SUV. Known for its rugged, all-wheel-drive vehicles, Subaru has managed to blend its traditional strengths with cutting-edge EV technology, creating a unique offering in an increasingly crowded segment.

The 2024 Solterra doesn’t stray far from Subaru’s iconic design language, yet it manages to inject a dose of modernity that feels both fresh and familiar. The exterior combines Subaru’s rugged aesthetic with sleek, aerodynamic lines, creating a look that’s both functional and contemporary. The Solterra’s spacious cabin is designed with comfort and practicality in mind, making it a versatile choice for both urban commuting and occasional adventures.
Inside, the Solterra offers a tech-forward environment with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch touchscreen that supports wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The novel rotating ring shifter on the center console adds a touch of innovation, while the interior materials are a step up from the typically plastic-heavy Subaru interiors. The cabin feels organic and inviting, emphasizing sustainability without compromising on style.

Under the hood, the 2024 Solterra is powered by dual electric motors that produce a combined output of 160 kW, translating to roughly 215 horsepower and 337 Nm of torque. This powertrain ensures that the Solterra maintains Subaru’s hallmark all-wheel-drive capability, making it adept at handling various terrains and weather conditions.
Driving the Solterra is a notably smooth experience. The vehicle’s low center of gravity, thanks to the battery placement, enhances handling, offering a ride quality that is both comfortable and composed, even on rougher roads. However, the steering can feel somewhat disconnected and heavy, which might disappoint those expecting the sporty engagement of a WRX. Nevertheless, for a compact SUV, the Solterra strikes a good balance between ride comfort and handling prowess.

The Solterra is equipped with a 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, which Subaru claims offers a range of up to 225 miles on a full charge. However, real-world conditions often tell a different story, and during our testing, we observed a range closer to 185 miles. This figure is respectable but falls short of some competitors in the segment.

One of the Solterra’s standout features is its impressive charging capability. With DC fast charging, the vehicle can go from 10% to 80% charge in about 35 minutes, a time frame that positions it favorably against many of its rivals. Additionally, Solterra’s cold-weather charging performance is noteworthy, with charging speeds twice as fast at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and four times faster at 14 degrees Fahrenheit compared to previous models. This enhancement particularly benefits Subaru’s core market in colder climates like the Pacific Northwest.

Safety has always been a priority for Subaru, and the Solterra is no exception. The vehicle comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which includes advanced features such as Traffic Jam Assist and Lane Change Assist. The DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System is standard, enhancing driver attentiveness and safety. These features contributed to the Solterra earning a 5-star overall vehicle score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

When pitted against its closest rival, the Toyota bZ4X, the Solterra shines in terms of value. It offers more standard features at a lower MSRP, making it an attractive option for those looking to enter the EV market without breaking the bank. Although we haven’t had the chance to test the bZ4X, its shared platform with the Solterra suggests a similar driving experience.

The 2024 Subaru Solterra marks a significant milestone for Subaru, combining its traditional strengths in all-wheel-drive technology with the benefits of an electric powertrain. It offers a well-rounded performance, safety, and practicality package, positioning itself as a formidable contender in the EV market. However, with its range of around 200 miles and limited charging infrastructure in remote areas, it may not fully satisfy the adventurous spirit that Subaru is known for. Despite this, the Solterra represents a promising start for Subaru’s electric future, and it will be interesting to see how they build upon this foundation in the years to come.

The Gentleman Racer by Michael Satterfield

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