By on November 11, 2021


While this year’s L.A. Auto Show will be the location in which Subaru shows its new all-electric Solterra on this side on the pond, the new EV – developed in conjunction with Toyota – popped up in an official capacity at a reveal event in Japan. Save for having its steering wheel on the opposite side of the cabin, the machine you see here will be much like the one appearing next week in Los Angeles.

It also looks a lot like its Toyota cousin – much more so than some industry observers expected.

As entrants to the growing all-electric compact crossover market, the Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4X are the product of a joint partnership between the two Japanese giants, making the 86/BRZ more than just a one-off collab. While those two machines share a great deal in terms of styling, and some level of body similarities should be expected as a logical part of any joint project like this, it is jarring to see the entire midsection of these two rigs (outsized body cladding and all) wind up as identical units.

Speaking of cladding, is anyone else’s eye offended by the part black/part body-color door for the charging port? It’s not even half-and-half, just an extension of the jumbo wheel arch moldings. Those of you with long memories will recall one of the last Subaru to deal with this styling conundrum, the Baja, chose to simply dip its cladding away from the fuel door on its passenger-side rear fender. This solution breaks my brain.


Anyway, documents for the Japanese-market Solterra reveal both two- and all-wheel-drive variants will be available in that country, with the latter weighing about 200 pounds more than the 4,246 lb rear-driver. Cruising range on a full charge is listed as 330 miles for two-wheel-drive models and approximately 290 miles for those equipped with all-wheel drive. Keep in mind those numbers may change for our market thanks to differences in testing procedures.

Power will check-in at 201 horses (150kW) or 214 ponies (160kW) depending on the number of driven wheels. Again, these are Japanese specs that might change for America. It is odd that the single motor cranks out 150kW while the dual motor option is rated at 80kW each. Given the Subaru propensity for promoting its all-wheel-drive abilities (save for the BRZ, of course), there’s a non-zero chance that only the dual-motor variant will be offered on our shores. Of course, if the company is chasing a particular price point, anything’s possible.

Battery capacity in both models is a tick over 71kWh, with the dual motor’s extra weight explaining its relative lack of range compared to the single motor car. Whether 14 horses is enough to make up for an additional 200 lbs remains to be seen. If you’re wondering about the footprint this car throws down, know it is 8.9 inches longer and 2.4 inches wider than a Crosstrek but only marginally taller.

Subaru has committed to showing a North American spec of the new all-electric Solterra at next week’s auto show in Los Angeles. Tune in for that news when it drops.

[Images: Subaru]

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44 Comments on “Global Debut of Subaru Solterra Takes Place Ahead of American Reveal...”

  • avatar

    It strikes me as over-styled. Does there really need to be so much going on?.

  • avatar

    This takes the black plastic wheel arches thing to a whole new level. They copied Hyundai’s triangle shaped fender-into-door blend idea. The back end appears to use Toyota’s running mascara tail light trim effect. Then they stuck on Ford’s Mach-E grille. What a mess design wise.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Looks pretty much like a RAV4. Range is nothing extraordinary, given that the numbers are from WTLP. I wish Subaru well with this but there’s nothing that I’m interested in here.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    That looks pure Toyota with Subaru badges. Want to sell like hotcakes? Build a more aerodynamic mid-80s Volvo wagon with Japanese EV drivetrain and electrical systems.

    • 0 avatar

      If it looks like Toyota, drive like Toyota and smells like Toyota then it is Toyota. Because it is a Toyota designed and built by Toyota.

    • 0 avatar

      Looks like Ford and Hyundai had a child

      • 0 avatar

        Actually ГАЗ, Kia and Subaru were Fords babies. All had and still have blue ovals. Ford never had sex with Хуиндай. May be with Mazda. And may be just may be this Субару is Ford’s and Mazda’s child?

        • 0 avatar

          I tried replying in Russian, but I think there is a limit before it gets marked as spam or something. Have you noticed that? I wrote the full name of КАМАЗ in Cyrillic and the comment vanished.

          I’ll try it again sort-of through the back door: Камский Автомобильный Завод

          Anyway, I was mentioning how I liked their logo and the GAZ logo with the stag.

        • 0 avatar

          Ford does still have some Mazda genes. But it is nearly 0. Subaru can have some Mazda in it. Toyota owns some of Subaru, and partners with Mazda. Outside US Mazda re-badges some Toyotas as well.
          Later GAZ actually had Chrysler in it. All Soviet cars had something from foreign makes. Opel, Ford, Buick, Packard, Fiat, Chrysler. Truck – Studebaker

        • 0 avatar

          “The first handful of Soviet luxury cars were assembled in Leningrad in 1933. The boxy, seven-seater saloon, called the “L-1″, was based on he 1931 American Buick 90. In fact all Russian luxury car manufacture, from inception until 1941 (when the production of passenger cars was temporarily halted), was based on variations of John Dolza’s straight-eight Buicks. The power unit was 5,650 c.c., ohv, with cast iron pistons, a Downdraught Marvel carburettor, a compression ratio of 4.4-to-1 and a claimed 105 bhp.”

  • avatar

    Surprised they didn’t try to distinguish it more from the RAV4 Electric, er, (chokes) bZ4x. Looks 100% like a Toyota with Subaru fascias slapped on.

    No matter, they’ll still have massive ADMs and waiting lists in all core Subaru markets.

    • 0 avatar

      That depends on how much space is left on the tailgate for the “Dog Rescue Mom”, “Coexist,” “26.2” and “My child is a honor student” stickers.

      The good news, I suppose, is that this thing should have pretty decent acceleration, so maybe they won’t clog up traffic like the rest of the (non-WRX) Subaru line does.

  • avatar

    “Speaking of cladding, is anyone else’s eye offended by the part black/part body-color door for the charging port?”

    No, because my eye’s too busy being offended by the rest of this hideous thing.

  • avatar

    Well it certainly is inline with Subaru’s new WRX with all the cladding and it’s ridiculous hexagon wheel wells. With few exceptions Subaru’s design language left me scratching my head a long time ago. This just looks like every other Asian crossover, blah

  • avatar

    Subaru a Japanese “giant”? Ha ha! It’s an underfed tadpole, a mere one-tenth the size of Toyota, and below #20 in the automotive worldwide production pecking order.

    Even Mazda is 40% bigger, ranking about 15th. Subaru can hardly sell a sausage outside North America — only 30% of its output in the whole of the rest of the world, so limp and uninteresing are its products. It’s a one-trick pony.

    Toyota owns 5.05 % of Mazda, which in turn owns 0.3% of Toyota. In February 2020, Toyota bought more Subaru stock, taking it all the way up to a heady 20% from less than 17%. So the Solterra is to the BRZ as the bZ4X is to the GT86. Subaru basically handles both sports coupes, Toyota handles the EVs. Makes sense viewed that way.

    The Corolla Cross and the new Mazda CX-50 are near-enough twins as well, coming soon from the same US plant, but we can at least be sure that the Mazda won’t look like a run-over pumpkin at midnight on Halloween. Subaru lack the styling talent to redraw said similar crushed pumpkin bZ4x, merely to add to its ugliness with a finely-judged splodge of black cladding in a bid to make it Dweeb EV of the Year. Doubtless it will soon be a popular sight at farmer’s markets nationwide, piled high with nice green veggies on the roof-rack and yelping doggies inside fed on boiled quinoa and watered by kale and wheatgrass juice.

    I mean, at least the Subaru version has a name, Solterra. The Toyota bZ4x moniker hardly trips easily off the tongue, and is about as stupid a name as can be imagined. “What do you drive, son?” “A Toyota beezeefourtimes, Granpa!”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Except for the dark sideburns, I like it.

    I’d expect ~250 miles EPA for the AWD version.

    There is no chance Subaru will sell another FWD car in the US, because for the last 30 years they’ve told us we’ll die without AWD.

  • avatar

    Sol + Terra

    Let us ponder the possibilities:
    • You can be 39 minutes and 35 seconds late everywhere you go
    • Baked mud

    I’m sure you can think of more…

  • avatar

    Someone used the word “overstyled,” which definitely describes it. I feel that even my 2022 Outback is overstyled in some areas, and this handily beats that. Neither Toyota nor Subaru seems to put a subtle line on any of their cars these days.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    the plastic front wheel arches remind me of the plastic fender panels on the Honda Element, except the Element was a vastly better looking car compared with the Solterra which is down right ugly. And the Element was basically a box on four wheels.

  • avatar

    it’s a Venzru! Really the new Venza is the closest Toyota. Does everything have to look like what used to be called a fastback? The designers seem hellbent on making sedans look like coupes and SUVs look like liftbacks. No surprise that we can buying bigger vehicles for actual usefulness. BTW the reviews think the RAV4 hydrid is better than the Venza.

  • avatar
    Land Ark


    It’s time to give that abomination the credit it deserves for basically being the grandfather of every new vehicle American’s buy.

  • avatar

    Yuck…. please see Hyundai’s concept. MUCH NICER!!!

  • avatar

    Didn’t toyota just reveal this last week?

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I feel a sense of malaise looking at this

  • avatar

    All I can see is Mach E/ Toyota CH-R in the front and a RAV4 side profile.

    Weak sauce.

  • avatar

    Solterra. They must stay up late at night dreaming up names.

  • avatar

    How do you know the car companies take us all for fools? They put huge black plastic “Tuff” wheel opening trim on that pinches-in and actually ends above the location where the most stones kicked up by the tires will contact the body work.

  • avatar

    I give up on Subaru producing a good looking car. I give up. They just can’t do it.

  • avatar

    “It also looks a lot like its Toyota cousin – much more so than some industry observers expected.”

    If one starts combing through it, there are probably Toyota stamps on some or most of the components.

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