By on November 9, 2021


Automakers love a good teaser campaign, despite their propensity for giving away some of the good secrets like a movie trailer that drags on too long. Subaru has jumped on this marketing bandwagon for their upcoming Solterra, which is both an all-electric compact crossover and the company’s first EV.

Playing a riveting game of I Spy with this teaser photo, it’s safe to say the Solterra will fit in Subaru showrooms quite comfortably.

Fans of the Exploding Galaxy will note the large amount of black trim over that front wheel, a visual feature usually meant to trick one’s eye into thinking a vehicle is taller than its actual dimensions. This time around, the flat black mustache seems to extend all the way forward to the front bumper and up to Solterra’s headlamp, real estate not usually consumed by this visual trickery. All of those who have foamed and frothed over the growing black wheel arches on other Subaru models are going to need smelling salts.

Piecing together the larger picture from other teaser images, there’s a solid chance the Solterra will share much with other vehicles on a Subaru dealer’s lot. Chunky headlamps appear to be a take on the Crosstrek peepers, while the rear lamps could easily be swapped for ones on the Outback or Forester. The company’s mum on powertrain details for now, other than confirming the thing will be equipped with all-wheel drive. The teaser photo shown here has an appropriate amount of lifestyle mud on its flanks.

Where the Solterra will absolutely differ from its showroom cousins is in its cabin. A photo shared by Subaru earlier this year promises an interior with a free-standing digital gauge cluster rather than a binnacle ahead of the driver, paired with an enormous infotainment screen oriented in landscape fashion. That tablet tops what reminds your author of a reverse rolltop desk cover, one which spills down between the driver and passenger to house a rotary dial for gear selection and a number of controls for secondary features. Whether they are actual buttons or haptic smartphone-style controls is difficult to discern.

Subaru has partnered with Toyota on this project, who will be producing their own variant of this vehicle called the bZ4X – you know, the one which has been spied with a Tesla-like yoke instead of a steering wheel. Given the way that modern automotive manufacturing works these days, there’s every chance in the world this platform will be pressed into duty underneath a variety of other upcoming EV models. Gotta pay for those R&D and tooling costs, after all.

Subaru will livestream the Solterra unveiling, an event scheduled for November 17 as part of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

[Image: Subaru]

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16 Comments on “Here Comes the Sun: Subaru Shows Solterra Teaser Ahead of L.A. Debut...”

  • avatar

    How many people will buy this instead of the identical Toyota bZ4X simply because they can pronounce the name?

    • 0 avatar

      Unpronounceable product-names are no accident. They want you to refer to that thing as a Toyota.

      BMW does this, so that you call the 328i a “BMW”.

      Cadillac imitated this for a time, as did Lincoln — and they’re not the only ones.

  • avatar

    That front end is going to be offensive. I can feel it.

  • avatar

    “Given the way that modern automotive manufacturing works these days, there’s every chance in the world this platform will be pressed into duty underneath a variety of other upcoming EV models.”

    It’s called e-TNGA and they’ve already announced 6 initial models based on it.

    Also, I saw the photos of that yoke back in the spring. No one believed me. My information is that it can be set to 150 degrees lock to lock, so it should be better than the Tesla yoke.

  • avatar

    Just from this teaser I can tell two things:

    (1) This is going to be ugly.
    (2) There are going to be year-long waiting lists to get one of these in Seattle.

  • avatar

    Subaru about only once ever employed a proper car designer/stylist, an Englishman name of Peter Stevens, and he knocked out the B4 2005-2009 Subaru Legacy/Wagon. Stevens also did the McLaren F1, facelifted Lotus Esprit, a coupla Jags and a stack of other cars. He has that Euro affliction of having a “Professor” title stuck in front of his name.

    And you’ve never heard of him, right?

    Well, he was also head of design for Rivian back in 2011/12, when they were getting their plans together, so that’s why that EV truck doesn’t look like a plastic-grilled nightmare piece of absolute crap with a cavernous cliff-face front end, reminiscent of young Americans/Canadians ready to swallow a Big Mac at one go like a tasty worm from their birds nest of a vehicle at a drive-thru.

    Worth a quick five-minute squint here:

    Other Subarus seem to have been styled at random and by gazing at sodden origami rescued from a tsunami-flooded house after the ebb tide reveals the destruction.

    This Solterra apparently embraces typical Subaru styling talent, as in — they have none, and are determined not to waste money on such frippery. The wicker-basket selling crowd at arts and crafts “festivals” will, however, no doubt be delighted to bobble around in one collecting supplies for their trade.

    • 0 avatar


      1 – Good post. You ve been hitting on all 8 my brother.
      2 – Origami cars? C8 corvette wins that award.
      3 – Subaru in another JV with toyota. Good- no big to me. I like em both.
      4 – Remember. The answer is NEVER that garbage from GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      You’re not wrong – the 2005-2009 was a shockingly beautiful design for a Subaru. I bought the next gen Outback, whose ‘unique’ looks have grown on me. Subaru has toned down their styling these past 2 generation.

      The Solterra is certainly going to be welcomed in the Subaru world, but what they should have done already is hybridized all their lines as well as introduced a mini-pickup based on the Forrester. Something more palatable than the Baja.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    At least it won’t have a boxer engine.

  • avatar

    I don’t know why everyone is blaming Subaru. They merely take their marching orders from Toyota –a company that hasn’t hired anyone remotely matching Peter Stevens’ *pinky* in talent for decades now. Yet, the sheep keep buying Toyotas and Lexuses, proving not just ugly but FUGLY isn’t necessarily a turn-off. Having seen the BZ4X, which the Solterra is a clone of, it is very likely that cheap, cynical Toyota would not have authorized the X dollars it would have required to change a single line of it.

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