This week, at long last, Subaru gave us a quick preview of the brand's newest SUV: the Solterra. The name is a combination of the Latin words "sol," meaning sun, and "terra," meaning earth. Subaru says the name expresses the brand's "commitment to deliver traditional SUV capabilities in an environmentally responsible package." In other words...it's electric.
What do we know about the Solterra? We know it will be an EV SUV running on Subaru's new e-Subaru global electric platform, a joint development project with Toyota. The Solterra will arrive in 2022 as a 2023 model year vehicle. It looks like a small-ish, hatchback-shaped vehicle. Though, as with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV could end up bigger than the hatchback body style would prime you to expect.
The Solterra will have Subaru's all-wheel-drive technology and, judging from the splash of mud on the teaser photo, should be prepped to hit the trail. As one would expect, the Solterra will include Subaru's latest safety tech as well.
Subaru did not provide us with information on the Solterra's powertrain, projected EPA range or how much it will cost. But we can expect the vehicle will follow its combustion SUV brethren, skewing toward the affordable, practical and active lifestyle end of the EV spectrum.
On paper, the Solterra should be a major hit for Subaru. The brand naturally appeals to nature lovers and people who care about the environment, but cars like the Outback and Forester have trailed behind competitors getting more fuel-efficient hybrid and electric versions to market. (And competitors are making buyers aware of that.) A zero-emission vehicle that also embodies everything people love about current Subarus and comes in at a reasonable price point should go down very well with buyers.