2024 Subaru Solterra Touring Review
Price & Equipment:7.5
Performance & Economy:7
Ride & Handling:8.5
Interior & Practicality:8
Service & Warranty:9.5
What we like:
  • At last, Subaru has an electric vehicle
  • Quite comfortable and pleasant to drive
  • More off-road capable than most EVs
What we don't like:
  • No rear wiper or spare wheel
  • Range and charging speed nothing special
  • Needs more differentiation from its Toyota twin
8.1DiscoverAuto Rating:

Launched in Australia on exactly the same day earlier this year as its Toyota bz4X twin, Subaru’s first ever electric vehicle is finally available locally. Aimed at those EV SUV buyers wanting a bit of off-road ability – which is pretty much Subaru’s brand ethos for its core products – the Solterra competes in the popular medium electric SUV segment. It’s also from a brand that has famously loyal buyers and considering how many Subarus are out there, the company has a large pool of owners to buy its new EV. So is the 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring the medium electric SUV to buy? Let’s find out.

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring

Launched globally in 2022, the Solterra was co-developed with the Toyota bz4X and uses a new platform derived from Toyota’s excellent ‘TNGA’ architecture. It enters a fairly hotly contested part of the market: the electric mid-size SUV, with offerings like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6 and incoming EV5, the bz4X and – of course – the Tesla Model Y. What separates the Solterra for new car buyers, aside from the Subaru badge?

How much does the 2024 Subaru Solterra cost to buy?

In Australia, the 2024 Subaru Solterra range is priced from $69,990 plus on-road costs (around $76,000 drive away, depending on location) for the entry-level model, while the higher-spec Solterra Touring tested here asks $76,990 +ORC (or around $83,500 drive away).

Solterra standard equipment:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels with a puncture repair kit
  • Dusk-sensing automatic LED exterior lighting
  • LED front and rear fog lights
  • Rain-sensing automatic wipers with a de-icer
  • Heated and auto-folding mirrors
  • Keyless entry with push button start and remote air-conditioning activation
  • Selectable regenerative braking
  • Eco, normal and power driving modes
  • X-Mode off-road modes
  • Electric tailgate
  • Black cloth upholstery
  • 10-way electric driver’s seat
  • Heated front and outboard rear seats
  • Heated leather steering wheel
  • Digital rear mirror
  • 7.0-inch driver’s display
  • 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio
  • Bluetooth calling and audio streaming
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • 5x USB ports (4x USB-C, 1x USB-A)
  • 2kW AC charging cable with 8-amp wall plug
  • Carpet floor mats
  • Boot tray

Solterra standard safety equipment:

  • Seven airbags (including a front centre unit)
  • Auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and intersection assistance
  • Low-speed rear automatic braking
  • Lane keeping assistance with lane departure warning
  • Lane trace assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Safe exit assist
  • Matrix adaptive high beam
  • 360-degree parking camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring

As you’d expect for a Subaru, the Solterra received a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2022 with scores of 88% in adult occupancy protection, 88% in child occupancy protection, 79% in vulnerable road user protection and 95% in safety assist.

Solterra Touring adds:

  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Memory for the driver’s seat and mirrors
  • Auto-dipping mirrors in reverse
  • Synthetic leather upholstery
  • 8-way electric front passenger seat adjustment
  • Semi-automatic parking functionality
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • LED ambient cabin lighting

Subaru Solterra exterior colour choices:

  • Galactic Black (no cost)
  • Cosmic White Pearl (no cost)
  • Dark Blue Mica (no cost)
  • Elemental Red Pearl (no cost)
  • Smoked Carbon (grey – no cost)
  • Harbour Mist Grey Pearl (on our test car – no cost)
  • Cosmic White Pearl/black roof (+$1,200)
  • Harbour Mist Grey Pearl/black roof (+$1,200)

As we mentioned above, there are more than a few rivals for the Solterra in Australia. We regard the Hyundai Ioniq 5 Dynamiq AWD ($83,000 +ORC) and the Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD ($87,590 +ORC) to be the Solterra’s main rivals, and the Subaru has an advantage from the start as it’s priced a lot lower than those two rivals, yet is similarly equipped.

Over the Solterra Touring, both the Ioniq 5 Dynamiq AWD and EV6 GT-Line feature ventilated front seats, switchable cabin ambient lighting, a sliding rear seat, remote low-speed parking capability, vehicle-to-load functionality and a larger driver’s display, but the less expensive Subaru features Matrix adaptive high beam, a digital rear mirror, a panoramic glass roof, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, front and rear fog lights, 4x auto up/down windows, five years of servicing and a boot liner over both its South Korean rivals. There’s no doubt that the Hyundai and Kia rivals are better equipped than the Subaru, but they do cost more money to buy – the expensive Kia in particular.

How fast can the 2024 Subaru Solterra charge?

Like its twin, the 2024 Subaru Solterra uses a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery mounted underneath the floor. Its claimed range on the WLTP cycle is 414km, with claimed combined consumption of 14.1kWh/100km – in our testing, we achieved just over 18kWh/100km, which isn’t great but not the worst we’ve tested either. Replenishing the battery can occur at up to 150kW on a DC fast charger for a 10 to 80 per cent charge in as little as 30 minutes, which is reasonable but an EV6 or Ioniq 5 can charge much faster at up to a potential 350kW. For those using an AC charger, the Solterra can charge at up to 11kW for a full charge in around seven hours.

Unlike the bz4X, which can be had as a front-wheel drive model, the Solterra in Australia is all-wheel drive only and uses a dual-motor drivetrain making a reasonable 160kW of power and 337Nm of torque. Its performance isn’t life-changing – an equivalent Ioniq 5 or EV6 with 239kW is definitely quicker – but it doesn’t feel slow either, a feeling that is backed up with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 6.9 seconds, which is slower than the 5.2 second claim of the EV6, but still much quicker than a petrol Forester.

What is the 2024 Subaru Solterra like to drive?

Based on Toyota’s ‘e-TNGA’ platform, the 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring is not the sportiest, nor the most luxurious electric SUV to drive. In a lot of ways, it’s totally conventional and that’s why we think it’s a great first EV for buyers looking to move beyond a hybrid for their family SUV. The Toyota platform doesn’t give the Solterra super quick charging functionality, but it does award it good driving dynamics, a solid road feel and reasonable road noise suppression.

Setting off in the Solterra is nice and simple. There is a traditional start/stop button, unlike in some EVs, and no fully-one pedal driving mode. Drivers simply pop the car in drive through the slightly odd gearknob, put their foot down and Subaru’s first EV picks up smoothly without any drama or fuss. The silent thrust of an EV is there and the power builds smoothly. The Solterra felt so familiar to the Toyota SUVs the it shares so many parts with that in the first few days of driving it, we were half expecting the petrol engine to roar into life, just like in a Toyota hybrid.

Subaru has also showed off the Subaru’s ‘X-Mode’ off-road modes, which should make easy work of light dirt roads and even some more challenging terrain. According to Subaru, the Solterra boasts 212mm of ground clearance – only 8mm less than a Forester, which doesn’t have a massive battery to power it – which gives it more off-road capability than a lot of other EVs on the market. Around town, the Solterra rides well, soaking up potholes, speed humps, and rubbish roads quite well, yet it also doesn’t give off a sea sick vibe like the Ioniq 5.

Toyota’s – we say Toyota’s because the Solterra doesn’t use Subaru’s ‘EyeSight’ safety tech, rather Toyota’s ‘Safety Sense’ systems instead – driver assist tech is also excellent. The adaptive cruise control works smoothly, the lane assist intervenes decisively and accurately, while lane centring assist works nicely on freeways. The matrix LED headlights are helpful at night too, although they overzealously shift the beam pattern when driving around the burbs at night and can blind drivers of other cars.

How comfortable is the 2024 Subaru Solterra?

As with its bz4X twin, the cabin of the 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring is an interesting place to spend time, with lots of familiar Toyota switchgear and a funky interior design to keep you interested. Material quality isn’t amazing, feeling much like a RAV4 inside (and not to the standard of the Outback, which costs a lot less money than the Solterra) with soft plastics atop the door tops, a cloth fascia panel, lots of piano black trim (we’d be investing in some clear protection film) and good quality synthetic leather trim on the seats and steering wheel.

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring

Centre of the Solterra’s cabin is – as you may have guessed – the exact same infotainment system as the bz4X, which is the same as cars like the RAV4, displayed through a large 12.3-inch touchscreen. The screen quality is great and it’s quick to react to touch as well – much quicker than Subaru’s own system used in cars like the Forester – though we wish it featured the live services of its Toyota twin for features like checking the battery percentage from your smartphone. The Harman Kardon sound system is nicely punchy though – punchier than the bz4X’s JBL unit.

Less impressive, however, is the small 7.0-inch driver’s display. We love its positioning at the line of sight for the driver, but the graphics are dated and it could be larger and more immersive like Peugeot’s equivalent ‘i-Cockpit’. Some cooler graphics would make it feel less dated, because at the moment, the menu system is identical to a base model Corolla, which costs a lot less than the $80,000+ drive away Solterra (and bz4X).

Practicality inside the Solterra is reasonable, despite the futuristic cabin design. The door bins are large, as is the storage tray underneath the centre console. There’s also a reasonable storage bin underneath the centre armrest and the cupholders are large, though there’s oddly no glovebox (like the bz4X).

Back seat space in the 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring is pretty impressive with good leg and foot room on offer, though the sloping roofline may impede a bit for taller passengers. The floor is flat, and unlike a lot of other EVs that make you feel like you’re high off the ground because of the battery location, the Solterra’s rear seat bench is at a good height. Amenities include air vents, heated outboard seats, two map pockets, door pockets and a central armrest with two cupholders. Child seats are covered by two ISOFIX points and three top-tether points, though the doors don’t open that wide.

The boot of the Solterra measures just 410-litres – versus 527L for the Ioniq 5 and 480L for the EV6 – and it is a nice wide space, just a bit shallow. No figure is given for the seats being folded, but reports from the US claim it’s almost 1,600L. The Solterra’s boot features include a dual-level floor, a double-sided floor with either cloth or plastic to wash off, hooks and even a boot tray to protect the floor, though like almost all EVs, no spare wheel. Unlike both the Ioniq 5 and EV6, the Solterra unfortunately does not feature a front boot.

How much does the 2024 Subaru Solterra cost to service?

Nothing, to put it simply. Five years/75,000km of servicing is included with each Solterra, as well as a five-year/unlimited km warranty with five years of roadside assistance and an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty as well.

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring

Hyundai matches Subaru’s warranty, though Kia’s surpasses both with a seven-year/unlimited km coverage. Kia falls a bit in roadside assistance though with up to eight years of coverage, while Hyundai’s can be for the life of the vehicle if serviced through a Hyundai dealership. Six years of servicing the Ioniq 5 costs $2,355 ($392 per year) and five years of servicing the EV6 costs $1,382 ($276 per year) – interestingly, the Ioniq 5’s service intervals are twice as long as the EV6 and Solterra at once every 30,000km or two years (whichever comes first), adding convenience for owners, but the Solterra is much less expensive to service.

Should I buy a 2024 Subaru Solterra?

Overall, there’s no doubt that the 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring is a worthy addition to the electric SUV market but for different reasons to cars like the Ioniq 5 and EV6. The Solterra is different enough from traditional SUVs for some buyers but offers enough similarity to other Subaru products to keep the Subaru faithful wanting an EV happy. The Solterra won’t be futuristic enough for some EV buyers though, especially in comparison to the Koreans, but we think that the Solterra is great for a lot of Subaru drivers.

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring

As for the Solterra itself, it’s spacious and practical, quite well equipped, it drives well, it’s not cheap but relatively good value compared to its main rivals, can be comfortably driven on dirt roads and in light off-roading situations, offers reasonable performance and is covered by an impressive aftersales program, including five years of free servicing. Counting against it are average charging speeds and range, no rear wiper or spare wheel and considering that it’s almost identical to its Toyota twin, almost zero Subaru identity – hopefully a future facelift differentiates it from the bz4X more. For some, the Solterra won’t be the EV SUV of their dreams, but we think that for a lot of Subaru drivers wanting to make the EV switch, it’s a great option and regardless of which brand you’re switching from, is well worth consideration.

About The Author

Jake is the veteran automotive journalist in the DiscoverAuto team having been in the industry since 2017. His first word was Volvo, he nitpicks every piece of practical design and has an unhealthy obsession for cars that feature rain-activated headlights.

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