Subaru has now begun dropping more full undisguised/ unobscured images of their Solterra, their first-ever full EV.
Alongside these pictures revealing a very Toyota-esque design, we now know the Solterra is expected to make a North American market arrival in mid-2022, most likely along with the rest of the world.
Despite being their first foray into the EV world, an off-road capable zero-emissions Subaru feels a little overdue given their established position in the SUV/ crossover market and longstanding investment in hybrid powertrains with e-Boxer variants of the XV and Forester. Perhaps they were waiting for Toyota to dip their toe....
If like us, you've already seen the Toyota bZ4X Concept from this year's Auto Shanghai, you’ll notice the Solterra's uncanny resemblance. Granted, Toyota did state from the start that the bZ series was developed together with Subaru. We just didn't know to what extent that would be visible.
We had already predicted Subaru's debutant EV would share Toyota’s e-TNGA platform - though Subaru calls it e-SUBARU Global Platform - but had not expected it to be another Toyobaru in the same vein of the 86 and BRZ.
At this point, we're half-expecting Toyota to absorb Subaru outright given so much overlap between the two brands.
Of course, we'll wait until the Solterra gets a full unveil before cynically claiming Subaru’s first all-electric SUV, described as the automaker's most technologically advanced vehicle to date, is merely a rebadged Toyota bZ4X with minor tweaks to its exterior and interior trim.
Speaking of those alterations, so far we have only managed to identify minor cosmetic changes such as the matte black body cladding and body-coloured roof with the Toyota concept vehicle sporting glossy finishes. Apart from that, the Solterra does get a unique set of alloys, but that's to be expected.
Inside is much the same with plenty of bZ4X cues visible despite the abundance of shadow. The first giveaway is the massive central touchscreen and raised centre tunnel with a distinctive rotary control dial and behind it a glowing…ashtray?
Its deeply recessed digital instrument cluster is also plucked right out of the bZ4X, though understandably the Toyota concept yoke-style steering wheel has been replaced by a more typical circular version. That said, we’re glad the sporty front seats and eclectic mix of textured fabric and faux suede has been seemingly retained.
It will feature a dual-motor electric powertrain of unspecified power output, and we know nothing of its battery capacity or predicted range either. However, for reference, Lexus’ fully-electric LF-Z crossover, also announced at Auto Shanghai 2021, is also built on the same e-TNGA platform.
Without going into specifics, the Lexus EV will be able to accelerate to 100km/h in just 3 seconds and boast a range of 600km per full charge - a pretty impressive yardstick for the Subaru to attempt to match.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.