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Subaru Solterra 2024 review - Family test

The Subaru Solterra's exterior looks bold and fun.

The Solterra AWD is the base grade in a two-model line-up and the first EV Subaru has offered in our market.

Created in partnership with Toyota, the Subaru Solterra is being launched alongside its Toyota twin, the bZ4X.

They share electrical and mechanical underpinnings, tech and even some internal styling but Subaru is only offering the Solterra as an AWD for the Australian market which reflects the brand's adventuring heart. Whereas, Toyota is offering some of its variants in a FWD format.

The Solterra competes against other medium SUV rivals, like the Kia EV6 and market-leading Tesla Model Y.

My family of three has put the base model through its paces so keep reading to see what we discovered!

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Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

There are two variants for the Solterra range and both come with dual-motored electric powertrains. Our test example is the base model, priced from $69,990, before on-road costs.

Compared to its dual-motored rivals it’s almost as affordable as the Tesla Model Y Long Range priced from $69,900 MSRP, with the Toyota bZ4X AWD at $74,900 MSRP and the Kia EV6 GT-Line almost $20K more expensive at $87,590 MSRP.

However, its rivals sit at higher grade levels and some items on the Solterra AWD, like its cloth seats and manually adjustable front passenger seat, remind you it is still a ‘base’ model. 

The Solterra starts at $69,990, before on-roads. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Solterra starts at $69,990, before on-roads. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

That said, the Solterra AWD is well-specified for an entry model with standard features like heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable driver's seat, power-adjustable lumbar support (driver only) and even the rear outboard seats have a heat function.

The technology features a 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system, built-in satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two fast USB-C ports in each row and a clear 360-degree camera system.

For practicality, it features a powered tailgate, tyre puncture repair kit and remote air-conditioning start (from the key fob) to set your ideal cabin climate before you get in.

Upfront is a 12.3-inch touchscreen. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Upfront is a 12.3-inch touchscreen. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

The Solterra has its own vibe compared to the rest of the Subaru family and that’s most likely due to the Toyota partnering.

The tail-lights are sharply pronounced and the many pleats across the body panelling swing more towards Toyota styling than Subaru but it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

The heavy-use of black plastic mouldings on our test model's 'Smoked Carbon' paintwork looks okay but it wouldn't do any favours on a lighter colour.

The exterior on the whole looks bold and fun, and I like the fact that it's not pillowy in its shape as some of its rivals are. Those hunting for a sporty-looking EV will find something charming here.

  • The exterior on the whole looks bold and fun. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The exterior on the whole looks bold and fun. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
  • The Solterra is a sporty-looking EV. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Solterra is a sporty-looking EV. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
  • There is a heavy-use of black plastic mouldings. (Image: Glen Sullivan) There is a heavy-use of black plastic mouldings. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
  • The tail-lights are sharply pronounced. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The tail-lights are sharply pronounced. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The cabin is different from anything I’ve seen from Subaru so far. Some of it's fun, like the squared off steering wheel which looks rally car-ish but some of it’s odd, like the way the 7.0-inch digital instrument panel has been pushed back towards the windscreen in its own little nook.

The steering wheel can get in the way of viewing the graphics of the instrument panel and its placement looks disjointed from the rest of the dashboard elements.

The black and grey knit-looking cloth upholstery is warm and inviting and is found across the dashboard, seats and some door panels but there is enough cheap-looking black cloth throughout to detract from the general aesthetic. Had the Solterra not been pushing $70K, that wouldn't bother me, but it is, and it does.

The interior is pleasant but the exterior is definitely the highlight of the design.

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

The practicality of the cabin is good for the class and the 212mm ground clearance means it's an easy car to get in and out of.

The extra-wide centre console makes the front look cramped but it isn't. And the the backseat is huge on space. Seriously decent headroom and legroom for the class and the flat floor means middle seaters will be comfortable, too.

Both the front and rear seats are well-cushioned and comfortable. You could easily do a long trip.

Front row seats pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Front row seats pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The driver's is the only powered seat (it also has lumbar support) but it's great that all but the middle seat feature a heat function for added comfort.

My seven-year old finds the back row comfortable because of its directional air vents and tall seating position providing a good view out of the wide window.

Individual storage is a bit low for the class but it does feature a handy shelf underneath the centre console which is large enough for a small handbag or the manual and logbook... because there is no glove box in this model!

Centre console pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Centre console pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

To be fair, most are too small to be of real use outside of storing the 'ahem' manual and logbook.

Each door gets storage pockets and a skinny drink bottle holder and both rows get two cupholders. The rear gets map pockets too but that's it.

The boot features a tyre puncture repair kit, level loading space and 410L of boot capacity with all seats in use. The capacity is a bit lower than its rivals but has been adequate for my grocery run and the odd errand. It's great both Solterra models have a powered tailgate as standard.

Boot space pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Boot space pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system looks good and is pulled directly from Toyota so the graphics and accessibility are on-point for everyday use.

You also get built-in satellite navigation which is always handy to have but you miss out on any over-the-air updates or a dedicated Subaru connected services app. 

The rest of the technology is solid with each row getting two USB-C ports and the front also featuring a USB-A socket and 12-volt outlet.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its motor?

The Solterra AWD has dual electric motors producing a combined 160kW for power and 337Nm of torque. It’s got enough grunt to be fun and zippy, even on the open road, but isn’t as powerful as some of its dual-motored rivals. 

For example, the Kia EV6 GT-Line produces 239kW/605Nm, which looks almost indecent compared to the Solterra's specs.

Efficiency – What is its driving range? What is its charging time?

The benefit of motors which aren't 'performance' grade means you win out eventually with energy consumption and its here the Solterra AWD shines.

The official combined cycle energy consumption figure is a low 14.1kWh/100km and I averaged 15.2kWh after a week of mostly urban driving.

The consumption is fantastic but the official driving range from the large 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery is only up to 414km (WLTP), which, again, is lower than most of its rivals by a good portion. I would have range anxiety on a longer journey.

The official consumption figure is 14.1kWh/100km. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The official consumption figure is 14.1kWh/100km. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The Solterra has a Type 2 CCS charging port which means you can benefit from faster DC charging speeds (up to 150kW on DC power).

On a 150kW DC system you can go from 0-80 per cent in just 30 minutes. 

On a 7.0kW AC power charger, you can go from 0-100 per cent in 9.5-hours and that drops to 6.5 hours on an 11kW system. Which isn’t as fast as it you might like but still makes it worthwhile plugging in while you're frequently the local shops.

Driving – What's it like to drive?

The Solterra underlines in bold everything you would expect from a Subaru. The power delivery is well balanced, it grips the road and the handling is comfortable.

Even when cornering there’s not a lot of passenger movement and the steering is on the right side of firm. Manoeuvring is nimble and fun thanks to an the 11.2-metre turning circle that also makes it easy to park.

The 360-degree camera system is top notch and you get great visibility out of the windows. Being only 4690mm in length and 1650mm tall even the smallest city carparks shouldn't daunt you.

The ride comfort is very good with suspension that absorbs the bumps well enough that they don’t bother you. There is a little road noise but not enough to annoy and overall the ride is refined.

17-inch ‘Combra’ alloy wheels pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan) 17-inch ‘Combra’ alloy wheels pictured. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

The Solterra comes with great standard safety features like forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, driver attention alert, safe exit warning, LED DRLs, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure alert and keeping aid, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors and a clear 360-degree camera system.

It also features a digital rearview mirror, which is handy when you have a carload of passengers or gear. While you're aware of all of the safety items none of them are intrusive, which is awesome.

The Solterra has seven airbags, including a front centre airbag and a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing done in 2022. Its twin, the Toyota bZ4X was the tested model.

The Solterra has a five-star ANCAP safety rating. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Solterra has a five-star ANCAP safety rating. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The Solterra has AEB which is operational from 5.0-80km/h for pedestrian and cyclist detection and up to 180km/h for cars.

There are ISOFIX child-seat mounts on the rear outboard seats and three top-tether anchor points across the second row.

Two child seats will fit best and I had no trouble fitting my monster booster seat.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

The Solterra comes with a usual warranty term of five-years/unlimited km and the battery is covered by an eight-year or up to 160,000km warranty term.

However, one of the best things about the Solterra has to be the free servicing (yes, you read that right) for five years or up to 75,000km.

Servicing intervals are more in line with a fuel-based car at every 12 months or 15,000km. But, hey, free is free!

The Solterra has a five-year/unlimited km warranty. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Solterra has a five-year/unlimited km warranty. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The Wrap

The new Subaru Solterra AWD gets a lot right and is a well-rounded effort in showcasing an electric medium SUV that has passenger comfort, sharp external styling and is easy to drive.

Once you start comparing it to some rivals, it doesn’t always come out ahead of the pack but I still like it for what it is. My seven-year old thinks its fun and very comfortable. He enjoys the easy practicality of getting in and out without any assistance, too.


Feature-laden for grade level
Superb ride comfort
Sporty exterior looks


Slower to charge than rivals
Relatively short driving range
Cabin materials don't always support high price tag




The Kids:



Based on new car retail price


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