If you haven’t heard, Toyota and Subaru are making an electric SUV together mainly for North America, though it’ll be sold in other places, too. We’ve already seen Toyota’s effort — it’s called the bZ4X — and today we’ve gotten a glimpse at Subaru’s take, though it’s clad in shadows. We also have a name: Solterra.
Subaru says the moniker is inspired by the Latin words for “sun” and “earth,” and that it represents the company’s commitment to “deliver traditional SUV capabilities in an environmentally responsible package.” It also sounds like an excellent name for a Coachella-like music festival. Subaru’s got some real branding opportunity here.
Comparing the Solterra teaser above — which I’ve brightened and cropped in on to make a little easier to see — against the bZ4X, it seems Subaru’s design won’t stray very far from Toyota’s. Much like the BRZ/GR86 duo, these cars look to have the same basic shape, down to details like the way the side windows terminate, how the taillights arc around the rear quarter, and how the front bumper curves around the car. The headlight cluster appears a little different, mimicking the daytime LED pattern Subaru has used in its latest models.
Just as my colleague José said of the bZ4X when it first appeared, the Solterra looks to carry a very normal shape for a battery-electric crossover — from what we can see of it anyway. There’s no low-slung profile and sloping roofline like the Mustang Mach-E, or egg-shaped properties of the Tesla Model X and Y here. These Toyobaru twins could easily be confused for a RAV4, Highlander or Forester if you’re not paying close attention, and I suppose that’s the point.
The Solterra will be the first application of the e-Subaru global EV platform in a production car, as the press release states. It’s a little funny in and of itself because Toyota’s calling the very same architecture e-TNGA. At least Toyota gave Subaru its due when it unveiled the bZ4X, attributing the concept’s “comfortable and engaging driving experience” to Subaru’s all-wheel drive knowhow.
Subaru says the Solterra will hit showrooms next year. There’s no word on the timetable for a full reveal, but if we’re already getting a name and teaser shots, that shouldn’t be too far off in the distant future.