THE CHANCE to drive Subaru’s first all-electric vehicle on a challenging off-road route provided a great insight into the car’s capabilities.

With symmetrical all-wheel drive included as standard, the Solterra has stayed true to Subaru’s go-anywhere philosophy.

The powertrain may be cleaner than its forebears, but the wheels and bodywork got just as dirty as ever, as the vehicle conquered the muddy conditions following a spell of heavy rain in North Yorkshire.

On some steep ascents and descents, the Solterra felt reassuringly stable, with X-Mode providing a sure-footed feel to the experience thanks to features such as mud mode, grip control and downhill assist.

Ayrshire Today: Subaru Solterra

Even on the more severe bumps, it never felt like the car was likely to bottom, thanks to a class-leading 210 mm of ground clearance.

Off-roading is usually punctuated by the sounds of an engine working hard on more challenging gradients, so it felt a bit surreal to traverse the tracks and obstacles in relative silence.

In tricky situations, the 360-degree Surround-View Camera is a handy piece of tech to have at your disposal.

Out on the normal roads, the Solterra is smooth, quiet and fairly quick.

The powertrain offers 215hp with 168.5Nm of torque from each of the dual electric motors.

Ayrshire Today: Subaru Solterra

That’s enough to produce a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds, which feels swift enough for a family SUV, even if it doesn’t set the pulse racing.

The Limited model, tested here, has a claimed range of 289 miles, which drops to 257 miles for the high-spec Touring version.

The maximum charging speed is 150kW, taking the battery from 10-80 per cent in a touch over half an hour, so long as you can find a DC rapid charger.

When on the move, the driver can select from several regenerative modes to replenish the charge on stretches of road where acceleration isn’t necessary.

The interior is nicely laid-out, with generous leg room and a nearly-flat floor giving the 5-seat vehicle the feel of a larger car.

The Solterra offers up to 452 litres of luggage space in the boot area and features a 60/40 folding seatback and two-position load floor, creating plenty of luggage and passenger flexibility.

Ayrshire Today: Subaru Solterra

At over £50,000, it isn’t a cheap option, but there’s plenty of kit to help to justify the price.

The new 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system is intuitive and easy-to-use, and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto as standard. A wireless charging phone dock is available for the centre console in the Touring

trim level along with a premium Harman Kardon eight-speaker audio sound system.

Subaru has worked with Toyota to create the Solterra, with the underpinnings having much in common with the bZ4X.

The Solterra arguably has edgier styling than its cousin, while would-be buyers have a choice of eight colours.

The Solterra comes with a new generation safety package fitted as standard, Subaru Safety Sense, which covers all-around safety in an even greater range of situations.

The driver support system uses a wide-angled monocular camera with a high-resolution sensor and radar to precisely determine shape, speed and distance – meaning it not only detects vehicles but also motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians.

Remote air conditioning allows owners to remotely control the climate control system and schedule the car to be pre-heated or pre-cooled at a specific time.

All in all, the Solterra is a compelling package that’s likely to appeal to buyers who want to take the plunge into the electric car market but still need a sure-footed vehicle to support an active lifestyle. In that sense, this is a car that can perform a dual function because it’s refined enough for the city yet rugged enough for the countryside.

Subaru Solterra Limited

PRICE: £52,495


PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds

RANGE: 289 miles (WLTP SCALE)

CHARGE SPEED: DC fast charging, 80 per cent in 30 mins