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The 2023 Subaru Solterra is the brand’s first electric SUV offering, and it’s competing against Tesla’s Model Y. J.D. Power recently put the two crossovers up against each other and found that Tesla’s Model Y has some advantages over Subaru’s model. What does each SUV offer, and what are the advantages of the Tesla over the Solterra?

2023 Subaru Solterra vs. 2022 Tesla Model Y

A red 2022 Tesla Model Y parked in front of a mountainside.
Tesla Model Y | Tesla

When it comes to price, these two SUVs are a bit different. The 2022 Tesla Model Y starts at $62,990 for the base-level Long Range trim. For the Performance trim, you’ll pay about $67,900 to start. The Subaru Solterra’s base trim, the Premium, is around $46,330. That’s approximately $16,000 less than Tesla’s model. 

The Solterra gets you 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, and LED headlights. For the interior, it offers dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a free trial subscription for the Subaru Solterra Connect, which includes in-vehicle WiFi, navigation, and remote access services. 

Tesla’s Model Y has two body configurations. One is the five-passenger model, and the other is the seven-passenger version, which is optional. While Tesla’s company has been making electric vehicles for a couple decades, Subaru just produced its first one with its partner Toyota. 

Regarding driving range, the Tesla beats out its competition with 330 miles of range on the Long Range trim. Even the Performance version offers 303 miles. Subaru’s Solterra only gets you 228 miles of range.

According to J.D. Power, here’s where Tesla outshines the Solterra. 

1. Performance and efficiency

Both models have all-wheel drivetrains, but Subaru has its unique two-motor setup called StarDrive, where one unit runs the front wheels, and the other runs the rear wheels. Each one is an AC synchronous permanent magnet motor. Tesla has two motors as well, but the brand configures the drivetrain differently. The rear wheels run off a powerful motor, but the front axle runs off a less powerful one. 

Powering up the Solterra are two 80 kW motors that produce approximately 215 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque combined. In the Tesla, you get a 91 kW motor running the front wheels and a 200 kW one powering the rear wheels in the Long Range trim. For the Performance version, you get a 133 kW/179 kW motor combination. Output for the Model Y is 385 hp for the Long Range model and 420 hp on the Performance trim. 

2. Reliability and quality

J.D. Power couldn’t test the 2023 Subaru Solterra because it is so new on the market. It also couldn’t properly evaluate the Tesla model as the brand doesn’t allow the publication access to owner information in several states. However, Tesla won this category because of the warranty information provided by both automakers. 

Subaru offers a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a 4-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. When it comes to electric vehicle components and high-voltage batteries, you get 8-years or 100,000 miles. Packaged along with it is 3-year/36,000-mile roadside assistance.

Tesla, however, offers a bit more. You get a 4-year/50,000-mile standard warranty with an 8-year/120,000-mile powertrain warranty. The electric vehicle parts get you 8-year/120,000 miles or 10-year/150,000 miles for California emissions states. Roadside assistance is also included with 4-year/50,000 miles. Warranties such as these shows confidence in their products, which brings to mind reliability and quality.

3. Comfort and Utility

These two crossover SUVs are pretty neck and neck in this category, but Tesla’s Model Y does win the advantage here. Regarding cargo space, the Solterra offers 29 cu-ft of storage behind the second row of seats. Tesla offers 30.2 cu-ft for the same area, but you get only 26.6 cu-ft behind the third row in the 7-passenger version. What sets the Tesla apart is that it has a “frunk” (front trunk) that offers another 4.1 cu-ft of space, whereas the Subaru model doesn’t have one to offer. 

Both SUVs have comfortable seating, and each one offers plenty of components to make your driving experience more fun, like the infotainment system, digital readouts, and conventional instrument panels. Subaru has slightly better access to the instrument panels since they’re viewable through the steering wheel. But Tesla does have a Panoramic roof that gives the cabin an open feeling. 

4. Safety and driving assistance features

When it comes to safety, both models have a nice set of standard features to offer potential buyers. The Solterra gives you its Subaru Eyesight package, which includes lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency steering, automatic emergency braking, and intersection turn assistance, to name a few. 

With the Tesla Model Y, you get the blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, and lane-keeping assistance. The brand’s auto-pilot system is also standard, but you can choose the optional Enhanced Auto-pilot system for more driver assistance features. They include active parking assistance and automatic lane-changing ability.

The Solterra is too new, so it hasn’t had crash tests done by NHTSA or the IIHS. Tesla’s Model Y (2021 model) earned five stars in all crash tests, including rollover resistance. Also, the IIHS gave it a Top Safety Pick+ award. What Subaru does well, however, is building off-roading capable vehicles, like the Solterra, which has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, perfect for taking on rough terrain.

Both SUVs have plenty to offer, but when it comes to performance, reliability, comfort, and safety, Tesla’s Model Y has the advantage over the Subaru Solterra. The Tesla Model Y is a good choice if you need a family crossover and want a fully electric version. 


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