Subaru is gearing up to sell its first electric car in Australia.
The Solterra will touch down during the first half of 2023, but Subaru has a left-hand drive development car on Australian soil already.
“We’re working closely with the dealer network around preparation, both from a facilities standpoint with an electric vehicle, but also… helping them understand the vehicle intimately, so they can convey that in the right way to their customers,” Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read told CarExpert.
Subaru hasn’t committed to how many cars it’ll bring to Australia, nor the model range or pricing, due to the “dynamic” nature of our electric car market.
“We’ll leave the options on the table until we get a bit closer, and make a call at that point,” Mr Read said.
The Solterra measures 4690mm long, 1860mm wide and 1650mm tall on a 2850mm wheelbase. That makes it slightly longer and wider than a Forester.
Ground clearance is 210mm, or 10mm less than a Forester, while kerb weight ranges between 1930kg and 2020kg.
A twin to the Toyota bZ4x, the Solterra will also offer a choice of single-motor front- or dual-motor all-wheel drive variants. Subaru hasn’t yet confirmed which will come to Australia.
The front-wheel drive model produces 150kW of power and has approximately 530km of range on the stricter WLTP cycle, while the all-wheel drive model has 160kW and 460km of range.
Both variants use a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery with a maximum AC charger output of 6.6kW and a maximum DC charging output of 150kW.
The Solterra is underpinned by a new electric vehicle architecture, co-developed by Subaru and Toyota, which the former calls the e-Subaru Global Platform and the latter calls e-TNGA.
The dual-motor all-wheel drive variant features a Subaru-developed X-Mode AWD control system, as in other Subaru SUVs. It’s also available with 20-inch alloy wheels, while the FWD model is only available with 18s.
There’s the option of a solar roof option that helps trickle charge the battery or a panoramic glass roof.
Exterior changes for the Solterra include a revised grille area, different fog lights, and different LED daytime running light and tail light signatures.
Interior changes are almost imperceptible. There’s no steering yoke like the Chinese-market bZ4x, but otherwise it all looks much like the Toyota down to the high-mounted digital instrument cluster and the unusual upholstery on the dashboard.
When it touches down, the Solterra will take on everything from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 to the Tesla Model Y, along with the related Toyota bZ4x.