2024 Subaru Solterra Touring | Electric Car Review

Subaru has an electric vehicle, and it’s very different. The all-new Solterra is a four-door crossover SUV with all-wheel drive, 485km of range and 210mm clearance for when you’re not on the main roads. 

Hearing that I was going to be driving an electric vehicle from Subaru was a bit of a surprise to me. Subaru has been fairly quiet on the EV front, I assume when the market shift was so big, their only option was to look at it as an opportunity and provide a product to fit. DriveLife went to the reveal of the Solterra back in July 2022, so it’s been a long time coming.

Subaru has been working with Toyota, who has released the new bZ4X in New Zealand. This is not the first collaboration between the two companies; years ago, they each released a shared-platform sports coupé – the Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ. This new collaboration has seen some new ideas put into this fully EV vehicle, and they have several interesting changes that set it apart from the rest of the market.

What We Like and Dislike About The 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring

What we like

  • Exterior styling
  • Interior design 
  • Driver’s dash and steering wheel 
  • Boot size
  • Different to the other EVs 
  • Spec level
  • Space in the rear seats
  • Parking cameras and display 

What we don’t like

  • Reversing beep
  • Safety rating eye detection 
  • Central console GUI
  • Resetting regen brake every time
  • No rear window wiper

What’s In The 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring Range?

The Solterra comes in two variants in New Zealand, the Solterra ($79,990) and the Solterra Touring ($84,990). 

Both variants have the same 80kW electric motor, which creates 168.5Nm of torque. They both have the same 96-cell battery that provides a range of up to 485km. Each variant also has the same 210mm ground clearance, which means they won’t get too roughed up if going off the beaten track. 

The two variants are very similar spec-wise, the major difference is that the Solterra Touring has 20” alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, synthetic leather seats, wheel and gear shifter, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, Harman Kardon speakers and a wireless Qi charger. This is a great deal when you think that the price difference between the two variants is only $5000. 

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring Standard Equipment Highlights

  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control system (VDC) featuring
    • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
    • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
    • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
    • Brake Assist
    • Traction Control System (TCS) 
    • Active Cornering Assist
  • Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH) 
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Vision Assist featuring:
    • Adaptive High-Beam System
    • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) 
    • Front Parking Sensors 
    • Panoramic 360 Degree View Monitor 
    • Parking Support Brake
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) 
    • Rear parking sensors 
    • Safe Exit Assist
  • 60/40 split folding rear seats
  • 8-way power seat – front passenger
  • 8-way power seat with dual memory – driver
  • Heated seats – driver and front passenger
  • Heated seats – rear outboard
  • Electric lumbar support – driver
  • Reclining rear seat
  • Integrated infotainment system featuring
    • Satellite navigation
    • AM/FM radio 
    • Apple CarPlay ® and Android Auto™ connectivity
  • 10 Harman Kardon® speakers, subwoofer and amplifier
  • 12.3″ touch screen
  • Bluetooth®10 wireless technology with
    • Hands-free mobile communication
    • Audio streaming11
    • Voice command recognition
  • USB-C connections 
  • Wireless Qi charger

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring Colour Range

The Solterra is available in 8 colours. 

  • Black
  • Dark Blue Mica
  • Emotional Red
  • Harbour Mist Grey
  • Platinum White
  • Precious Metal
  • Platinum White with a two-tone black roof
  • Harbour Mist Grey with a two-tone black roof (review car)

Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment

The two variants available from Subaru do not allow for any additional options: it’s the Solterra with the standard options or the Solterra Touring with all the options. This means that our review car’s retail price is $84,990

For a full list of specs and options available for the Subaru Solterra Touring, head on over to Subaru New Zealand’s website

How Does The 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring Compare To Its Competition?

The EV market is flooded with options from every brand, and most of them kind of feel the same. The Subaru Solterra certainly has its work cut out if it wants to stick out from the crowd, and it plans to do this with its full-time AWD system, high ground clearance and brand-proven off-road confidence.

Make/ ModelBattery
Range (WLTP),
Kia EV6 Earth77.4239 / 6055.2506490$99,990
Volvo XC40 Plus Recharge82175 / 4204.8430443$89,990
Subaru Solterra Touring71.480 / 168.56.9485441$84,990
Toyota bZ4x Motion AWD71.480 / 168.56.9485441$83,990
Hyundai Ioniq 5 2WD58125 / 3508.5481527$79,990
VW ID477150 / 3106.2519543$79,990
Kia EV6 Air Long Range77.4168 / 3507.3528490$79,990
KGM Torres EVX73.4152.2 / 3398.3462703$67,990
BYD Atto 3 Tachyon60150 / 3107420440$68,990

Please note that DriveLife does its best to ensure the information above is correct at the time of publication, however, prices, specifications and models can change over time. Please bear that in mind when comparing models in the comparison table.

First Impressions Of The 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring

The new Solterra is surprisingly different, thank God it doesn’t look like many other EVs (apart from the bZ4X) or many other cars for that matter too. It has a busy design and big off-road wheel arches. But as a whole, it’s a pretty good-looking car from most angles, apart from the rear which feels a bit forgotten.

It is also a much bigger vehicle than I had expected. As a mid-sized crossover, it’s larger than others in its class both on the outside and the inside. This might sound like an absurd statement, however, there are lots of vehicles that are big on the outside, and feel cramped inside. The Solterra is not one of these and is very spacious on the interior.

The inside is nice too, and the first thing you notice is the steering wheel is not round, it’s more rectangular. I wasn’t expecting that, so I was looking forward to driving it to see how it felt. 

What’s The Interior Like In The 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring?

Inside, the Solterra is a bit of a different place, especially for the front-seat passengers. The dash is notably lower than other cars which allows for a much larger opening for the windscreen. The driver’s display is also pushed back towards the windscreen, freeing up a lot of space around the dash that adds to the spacious feeling in the cab.

The central console is wider than usual, due to the widescreen that is mounted centrally, which flows down to some general controls and the main gear controls. Subaru uses a circular dial that you press down and turn right or left to select the gear required. Left or Right for a Drive, Neutral and Reverse, and a button for Park. Continuing down the console, there’s a large cover panel. When pressed, this opens up to the QI charging pad. I had mixed feelings about this, it was tidy when the cover was over it, but I might forget my phone too

Below the top of the central console there is an opening that can be accessed by both front passengers. This is a great space for storing items out of the way. It’s a good space and probably a little difficult for a larger driver to get to as your leg tends to block the opening. But the space is practical, nevertheless.

The seats in the Solterra Touring are leather, as opposed to fabric in the standard model. The leather seats are nice, soft to the touch and well-shaped. The headrest even tilted out towards the head, which was great. Too many headrests lean back like the seat and are too far away from the back of the head. Both front seats have 8-way power controls, allowing for plenty of adjustment. 

The rear seats are much the same, not as sculpted, but there is plenty of legroom. I was able to jump in the back without having to adjust my driver’s chair, which is not something I can normally do in a mid-sized SUV. I had my daughter’s booster seat in the back, and she had plenty of space to jump into the car, get herself into her seat and buckle up. She also liked the large panoramic sunroof and thought it was cool that it had a break in the middle and looked like two sunroofs.

The central infotainment screen is a good size, 12.3 inch wide-screen. In the regular mode and running the vehicle’s GUI, there is a section for navigation, music, phone, car settings and apps. The navigation, phone and music did what you expected; the car settings are limited and there are no apps available. I was not sure if they needed to be downloaded, or not. Where the display shines is when you are running Android Auto, wirelessly too. The widescreen made the GUI super easy to access, and it was great to have a nice view of Google Maps.

A spare wheel is not included, probably to save on weight. You do get a commonly used tyre gel inflation kit that is designed to get you moving and to a garage to get your tyre changed. 

Boot space is excellent at 441 litres, which would get several large suitcases in the back with the rear seats up. The most impressive part of the boot is the opening, it’s massive, as it’s part SUV and part hatchback rear door. So when it opens, the opening into the boot is enormous. A bit of space is lost in the boot due to batteries, which are larger than the standard model.

I didn’t like how the boot cover just hangs there and is not held in place anywhere and I do not like this when I am driving, hearing it rattle around. 

What’s The 2024 Subaru Solterra Touring Like To Drive?

The biggest thing that everyone notices when they first jump in the car is the steering wheel, as it is not round. It’s sort of rectangular with rounded sides. At first you might think this is a bit strange, or a gimmick, but after using it, it feels quite ergonomic. The 10 and 2 position worked really well. I did find that my thumbs were not positioned well for the use of the buttons on the wheel. To use these I had to shift from the 10 and 2 to 9 and 3 positions or 8 and 4 positions to be able to use the buttons effectively. Apart from that, I didn’t have much issue with the steering wheel at all.

The dashboard is a bit different too; it’s set back much further than normal, again this felt weird, and I didn’t fully understand why they did that. But it soon clicked, if the driver’s display is pushed back closer to the screen you remove the need for a head-up display, as the display sits above the steering wheel, much like a heads-up display would. It’s the two birds with one stone approach, maybe the best of both worlds.

The Solterra is a nice car to drive, there is no need for a Sport or Performance button as there is plenty of torque available from the electric motor. It can be a pretty nippy vehicle if you put your foot down too. The weight across the vehicle feels even and low, which gives you confidence. However, this is not something you should push as low weight doesn’t mean you’re able to be a race car driver; when pushed, some EVs can oversteer due to the weight they carry. 

Range is decent too, Subaru say 485km, and as we have found over the years, not only with EV’s but ICE vehicles too, these numbers are generally in perfect conditions. The manufacturer advertised 15.5 kWh/100km, and during my time I was only able to get 20 kWh/100km. A reasonable difference, but this can be due to numerous factors like the driver and the terrain. I was able to get close to 400km to a charge, which was a bit more than a week’s driving, both around built-up areas and the motorway. However, Fred only managed 300km in a single day’s driving.

Noise inside the cabin is low and the cabin feels well insulated. The electric motors are quiet and even the road noise from the tyres is not noticeable. This is something that catches out a lot of cars in and around the Wellington region, as the road conditions change drastically.

Braking in the Solterra is good, without the regen braking or on the lowest setting I felt in complete control of the car and the brakes felt dependable. The braking regen can be adjusted on the steering wheel with the paddles. Every time you start the car it goes to the lowest setting, which frustrated me a lot – and each time I would set it back to the highest. I like this level as it easily provides one-pedal driving, as the regen braking came in quick and effectively, so it could even stop the vehicle when coming to an intersection or traffic light.

Parking the Solterra is easy too, made even more so by the nifty parking camera. This is a 360-degree parking camera, however it has a nice additional feature; when the car is moving, it shows the car’s form as translucent, so you can see through it. That is very cool when you are parking or moving over road markings. A simple but clever addition to the parking cameras, I thought.

The view out of the Solterra is pretty good, there are some big blind spots in the rear as the C-pillars are rather big, as are the A-pillars now that I think about it. Not to fear, there are systems on board to assist with these spots and aid the driver in tricky situations.

I am not fully sold on the idea of an EV for your backroad adventures. I have covered a large part of the entire country in EVs, and it takes a bit of planning when you get out of the built-up areas. So when you get off the roads altogether, just make sure you have the range to get you out and back again.

Fred’s Point of View

From the get-go, the Solterra impressed me with driving refinement; it rides beautifully, all road and wind noise is well controlled, and it’s peppy enough when needed.

The next morning wasn’t so rosy, with the back window covered in dew, and I found there is no rear window wiper on the Solterra. I understand this is a current design trend, but it makes for tricky backing out of my narrow driveway. The other thing I found out when reversing is that there is a beeping noise that sounds when you put the car in reverse. Irritating? Yep. Not the end of the world, but not really needed either.

On one day with the Solterra, I had a full day’s driving so charged it up to 100%, with 386km of range showing. Far less than the NEDC figure, but enough for my day. Well, almost. At 9% battery capacity left, the car went into reduced power mode. I didn’t actually notice any drop in power, so that was a bonus. At 1% battery left, I pulled into a Z station and charged for ten minutes, enough to get me home. That meant I achieved just on 300km from that single charge, in dry weather (wet weather = more battery used). That was surprisingly less than what I had expected.

This might sound like I didn’t enjoy my time with the Subaru Solterra, but actually, I did. Regardless of the things I have mentioned, it’s an easy car to live with day-to-day, with plenty of space and a properly flat back floor. I’m not sure of the value of the Solterra against its opposition, but I know that Subaru loyalists will enjoy it.

Peter’s Point of View

I have always been a fan of Subaru; different, well-engineered, well-built, and with that awesome go-anywhere 4WD system. So, I was keen to sample their first 100% EV.

My first impressions were slightly quirky with the exterior styling, good ground clearance, and protective moldings all around, so a tick from me there. The instrument cluster on an unusually styled binnacle appeared odd, but sort of worked like a heads-up display. You soon got used to it. I was impressed that while on the outside, its chunky styling made it feel like a big car, once in, it simply felt a comfortable size. There is good interior space for five adults, a flat floor, and generous boot space. The drive had plenty of performance and great handling, and it certainly had the secure Subaru feel of connectedness or surefootedness on the road. The performance did seem to come at a cost to the battery range, either it didn’t have as much capacity as the specifications suggest, or in driving it, the battery charge is consumed at a higher rate. Even when I had charged it to 100% the car only indicated a range of 394km, while in the Subaru specifications, it indicated an NEDC range of 485km.

With the way it drove and the functionality of the car, I would be prepared to put up with a lower range – it is well-specified and would be very easy to live with. However, when factoring in the price too, it has some stiff competition, many with a lot better range. And then there is their selling point, to “head off-road to the campsites, boat ramps and hidden surf spots that are its natural habitat.” I’m not so sure it can fully deliver there – you are likely to need a charging point somewhere along the way.

Some features like the 360-degree cameras are awesome and with a great picture quality. The interior rearview mirror could be used as a standard mirror with electronic dimming for car lights, or it could be a screen to display a rearview camera view so you could fill the back with passengers or luggage and still have a functioning rear view “mirror”.

Niggles, there are a few. The steering wheel had so many buttons and functions on each side, but because there was little to distinguish one from another without looking at them, it made using features like the adaptive cruise more difficult than it should be, so you’d be inclined not to use it as much. Similarly, the centre infotainment and air-con controls required the driver to look at where the button was taking your eyes away from the road for longer than I would like.

The adaptive cruise worked well on the highway and in stop-start driving, but once into any twisty roads it would adjust the speed down for corners, but on most occasions where it moderated the speed for a corner, it would slow the car too much. Also, there were occasions when it would not see a corner at all, so unfortunately you couldn’t completely rely on it acting or the level of response.

In summary for me, a great car, with some fantastic features, staying true to what Subaru stands for in its on-road and off-road capabilities, but it is priced at a point where it is reasonable to expect more than this car delivers. The range of any EV is a significant factor, and given Subaru’s intent here, it is unfortunately underwhelming.

2024 Subaru Solterra Touring – Specifications

Vehicle TypeElectric
Starting Price$84,990 
Price as Tested$84,990 
EngineFront and Rear Permanent magnet synchronous motor
Power, Torque
80 / 168.5
Spare Wheeln/a (Puncture repair kit)
Kerb Weight, Kg2085
Length x Width x Height
4690 x 1860 x 1650
Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,
(seats up/seats down)
410 / 1798
Energy Economy,
Advertised Spec – Combined – 15.5
Real-World Test – Combined – 20.5
Low Usage: 6-10 / Medium Usage 11-19 / High Usage 19+
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
750 / 750
Turning circle
11.2Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
WarrantyThree years/100,000km for the general vehicle
Five-years / 100,000km electrified parts
Eight years /160,000km drive battery
Safety informationANCAP Rating – 5 stars – Link
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – QKL919
Driver Technology
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John Galvin (JSG)
It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.
2024-subaru-solterra-touring-electric-car-reviewSummary Section of Review The Subaru Solterra is a bit different from what I have driven before, and I liked it. I liked the new direction around the driver's display and not a heads-up but not a standard dash, but somewhere in between. The car is spacious and very practical, which is an impressive combination for a mid-size fully electric SUV. As far as EVs go, the Solterra had a bit of character that many others are missing. I enjoyed my time in it and could easily see myself living with a car like that long term. If your target segment is a fully electric mid-sized SUV, be sure to get out and test drive the Solterra before you make your final decision.


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