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Just like many other automakers, Subaru is taking the leap forward toward an electric future, and the Japanese automaker is doing that with the Solterra. The 2023 Subaru Solterra is the automaker’s first modern EV that’s going to be produced on a large scale, but like many other brand-new cars, it has some issues. Indeed, the 2023 Subaru Solterra only makes sense for one type of buyer right now.

A blue 2023 Subaru Solterra electric SUV with AWD off-road driving in the mountains over rocks and snow
2023 Subaru Solterra | Subaru of America, Inc.

The 2023 Subaru Solterra is an alright, but not great EV

According to U.S. News, the Solterra just isn’t that great of an EV right now. In fact, compared to other electric SUVs, it’s near the bottom. The only electric SUV that scored lower than the Solterra was the Toyota bZ4X, which happens to be very similar to the Solterra since Toyota and Subaru collaborated to make those two EVs.

The main issue that holds both EVs back has to do with their powertrains. Subaru gave the Solterra one powertrain option right now, and it’s two electric motors that work together to get 215 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque.

Those two electric motors are paired to a 72.8-kWh battery, but unfortunately, that battery doesn’t provide the Subie with much range. The Subie only gets 220 miles on a single charge, and that’s below average for an EV.

The one type of buyer that should consider the 2023 Subaru Solterra

Off-road enthusiasts are the only type of buyer that should realistically consider the Solterra. Subaru doesn’t offer any other battery option, so owners will have to just deal with driving a lower-range EV. On top of that, the Solterra’s interior isn’t great, and while it’s spacious, it doesn’t have a lot of features for its $45,000 price tag.

That being said, the Solterra does have some bright spots, and they’re why the Subie is a decent EV overall. For example, the Solterra has a comfortable and smooth ride. 

The Solterra’s other bright spot, however, shouldn’t be a surprise to Subaru fans. Like many other Subarus, the Solterra is great off-road. Thanks to its standard dual-motor powertrain, it also gets all-wheel drive as a standard feature. In fact, since the Solterra has all-wheel drive as standard, its range number is significantly lower than its Toyota cousin because the bZ4X doesn’t come with all-wheel drive as standard. 

In addition to standard all-wheel drive, the Solterra also has other great features that helps it off-road. For instance, Subaru gave the EV 8.3 inches of ground clearance, which is better than many of its EV competitors.

The Subie also has an off-road assist mode, which can help the Solterra handle snow and other off-road terrain. Overall, the Solterra only makes sense for car shoppers who want an EV that can go off-road.

Other EV options are simply superior for daily driving


2023 Kia EV6: The Neapolitan Ice Cream of the Electric SUV Market

Car shoppers who don’t plan on going off-road very often shouldn’t consider the Solterra at all. The Subie’s primary redeeming quality is its off-road capabilities, and if drivers don’t need that, then there are simply plenty of better EVs on the market. For example, U.S. News wrote that the best electric SUV on the market right now is the Kia EV6.

It starts at just over $49,000, and this does make it about $4,000 more expensive than the Solterra. However, the Kia EV is well-balanced and has many of the features that daily drivers are looking for.

It doesn’t off-road as well as the Subie does, but owners can equip their EV6 with a large battery pack that’ll allow it to travel up to 310 miles. Kia also gave the EV6 a nice interior that includes more features than what the Solterra has.