many some of the world's automakers will descend on the City of Angels for the Los Angeles Auto Show. One of the most eagerly anticipated launches will be Subaru's newest SUV, the Solterra. Co-developed with Toyota much like the BRZ, it will be the brand's first electric vehicle. And we just learned a whole lot more about it, because Subaru unveiled the Japanese version, which should be pretty similar to the model released in America.
The Japanese Solterra comes in two versions: a 201-horsepower front-wheel drive model and a 215-hp all-wheel drive model. Range estimates — likely to be less under the less-optimistic EPA testing cycle — are 329 miles and 285 miles, respectively. We don't know whether the U.S. will get both versions, or whether they will be more potent than the numbers listed. But those specs would put the Solterra at about the same power-to-weight ratio as the FWD Volkswagen ID.4 (though the AWD Solterra would be significantly less powerful than VW's nearly 300-horsepower AWD offering)
In theory, the Solterra should be a hit for Subaru. It resolves the brand's one sales conundrum in America: the stereotypical Subaru customer is an eco-conscious nature lover who lives in Portland — the sort of people who would buy into EVs — yet the brand has lagged behind the likes of Toyota and Honda at getting more efficient hybrid and electric vehicles to market. Indeed, their major innovation with the Outback and Forester over the past year has been two new Wilderness models that make those cars less efficient.
Critical for the Solterra will be its price point, which Subaru didn't mention. If it's the EV for Subaru crossover buyers and starts around the same price as the Volkswagen ID.4 or Hyundai Kona Electric, that should be a formula that works out well.