The Age of the Electric Crossover is here. This is by no means a bad thing, electric crossovers can be shockingly fun, but it’s certainly a new era for the automobile — something different. But what does that mean for a brand that was built on different? It means the Subaru Solterra.
The Solterra is built in cooperation with Toyota, which means it’s the Toyobaru twin of the bZ4X crossover. Our own Elizabeth Blackstock recently had the chance to drive that car, but like the GR86 and the BRZ, there may be more than a few differences hiding beneath those shared body panels.
Not every panel is shared, though. Personally, I prefer the Solterra’s design over that of the bZ4X — though the Toyota’s grille-less front end does get it some points. As a whole, while it still has the general Aero Egg shape used by many modern crossovers, the details make the Subaru stand out from the crowd. Whether that’s for better or for worse is up to you.
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Also, while the bZ4X name technically means something, “Solterra” is an actual word. That’s a match point for Subaru.
Whether or not those odd looks hold up, however, is something I plan to learn firsthand. Subaru made its mark in the automotive world by standing apart from the mainstream crowd, and you could argue that it’s the reason the company still exists in the U.S. today.
As the years have gone on, Subaru’s market share has grown, but it’s come at the cost of some of its unique identity. In an electrified world where Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is no longer a market differentiator, what does the Subaru value proposition become? Aside from price, why should buyers pick the Subaru (and its smaller dealer network) over the Toyota? Over any competitor?
That’s my big question, at least. What are yours? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll keep an eye out for answers while I’m behind the wheel.