Toyota and Subaru reveal sporty electric SUV concepts

Modified versions of the Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4x electric twins have been revealed with more show but seemingly no more go.

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The new Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra electric SUVs have been given sporty makeovers.

While Toyota and Subaru’s motorsport concepts arguably steal the show when it comes to debuts at this week’s Tokyo Auto Salon, both brands have also revealed a pair of concepts based on the new electric crossovers they’ve co-developed.

The Toyota has received the GR Sport treatment, while the Subaru has been called the Solterra STI concept. Both appear to be largely cosmetic affairs.

The bZ4x GR Sport features sportier, black-finish wheels in grippier tyres, sports seats, and matte black exterior panels.

Toyota says it promises an “elevated level of environmental performance and driving pleasure”.

It’s finished in a gunmetal grey, giving the exterior a monochromatic appearance punctuated only by a flash of colour in its red brake callipers.

The Solterra STI Concept is more colourful, finished in blue and featuring red not only on the callipers, but also on the side skirts and front and rear bumpers.

It also includes matte black body panels and black alloy wheels, as well as a rear spoiler.

Neither company has confirmed whether these concepts will translate to production variants for their respective model lines.

The mid-sized electric SUV segment is growing at a rate of knots, with models like the Nissan Ariya, Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 all featuring high-output variants with more than 200kW of power.

The Subaru/Toyota twins, however, top out at 160kW in all-wheel drive guise. The standard front-wheel drive configuration produces 150kW of power.

The all-wheel drive model has 460km of range and a 0-100km/h time of 7.7 seconds, while the front-wheel drive model has 530km and can do an 8.4-second sprint.

Both variants use a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery with a maximum AC charger output of 6.6kW and a maximum DC charging output of 150kW.

The Solterra and bZ4x use a new co-developed electric vehicle architecture, which Subaru calls the e-Subaru Global Platform and Toyota calls e-TNGA.

The two models are virtually indistinguishable, and measure 4690mm long, 1860mm wide and 1650mm tall on a 2850mm wheelbase. That makes them slightly longer and wider than a Subaru Forester.

Ground clearance is 210mm, or 10mm less than a Forester, while kerb weight ranges between 1930kg and 2020kg.

For context, the dual-motor Tesla Model Y weighs 2003kg.

While the Solterra has yet to be confirmed for Australia, its bZ4x twin is locked in for a local launch in the second half of 2022.

Toyota Australia’s boss conceded last year it will be expensive, much like the first-generation Prius was when it debuted Toyota’s hybrid technology locally.

MORE: 2023 Toyota bZ4X electric SUV ‘will be expensive’

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William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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