Subaru owners are known to be outdoorsy, which is why they're drawn to the automaker's lineup of AWD crossovers (or wagons, depending on who you ask). The Subaru Outback is one of the most popular choices for families who go off the beaten path to camp and enjoy the simple pleasures of nature. Now, the Outback is ready to go even further off the grid as the first vehicle in Subaru's new 'Wilderness' sub-brand that adds off-road prowess, rugged styling, and updated safety features for confidence on the trails. It seems Subaru has taken a cue from Ford's playbook with the Built Wild sub-brand for the Bronco. However, instead of targeting extreme off-roaders, Subaru is looking to lure adventurous families that have safety at the top of their car shopping checklist.
Enhanced Off-Road Capability
The most notable difference in the off-road capability for the Outback Wilderness is its taller stance. The crossover gets a one-inch increase to its ground clearance, achieving a class-leading 9.5 inches. Additionally, the front and rear bumpers have been redesigned for improved approach, breakover, and departure angles (20 degrees, 21.2 degrees, and 23.6 degrees, respectively). These changes allow the Outback to better navigate over uneven terrain and conquer rocky trails.
The suspension for the Outback Wilderness was tuned for both off-road adventure and on-road comfort. The front and rear shock absorbers and springs were increased in length to provide more ground clearance and suspension travel. The tweaks to the suspension are noticeable to the driver with more stability on rough terrain and a smooth ride and confident handling on the highway.
Other enhancements to the Outback's capability include improved low-end torque at the front wheels which helps the crossover climb grades up to 40% on gravel. A pressure sensor is added for better control at low speeds, and the Standard dual-function X-MODE includes Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes. In the Wilderness models, X-MODE allows the vehicle to switch automatically and seamlessly from low-speed managed driving to speeds over 25 mph. Standard AWD and Standard Hill Descent Control make the Outback Wilderness ideal for weekend adventures.
Powered by Subaru's 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine, the 2022 Outback Wilderness produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, gets an EPA rating of 22 city/26 highway, and has a 3,500-lb. towing capacity for small trailers or outdoor toys.
Rugged Style with a Purpose
The Subaru Outback Wilderness is more than just an appearance package with substantial improvements to its off-road capability mentioned above. The crossover also gets exclusive styling elements that don't just look rugged, but also support the vehicle's ability to reach remote locations. The Outback Wilderness stands out with a unique hexagonal front grille, a standard front skid plate, and exterior body cladding to protect the vehicle from the elements. A matte black hood decal is added not just for aesthetics, but to reduce glare for the driver.
Surrounded by larger wheel arch cladding for protection on tough terrain are 17-inch matte black alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires that will take on mud, snow, rocks, or gravel. A standard full-size tire is stored under the cargo area to accommodate an unexpected flat tire in a remote location.
Families who like to sleep under the stars will appreciate the redesigned roof rack found exclusively on the new Outback Wilderness. The ladder-type roof rack system has a load limit of 700 lbs which can accommodate a rooftop tent. It can also carry more gear, freeing up passenger space inside the cabin.
To motivate drivers to explore the great outdoors, Subaru adds an exclusive paint color for the new Outback called "Geyser Blue" which was inspired by the scenery found in the U.S. National Parks. To make the Wilderness model stand out further, Subaru gives it anodized copper-finished accents and black trim, along with exterior badges on the front fenders and rear gate.
The adventurous spirit of the Outback Wilderness makes its way inside the cabin which boasts more passenger space than the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The seat material is water-repellant and a 'Subaru Wilderness' logo is embossed in the headrests. The anodized copper accents found on the exterior are carried inside with a copper-colored contrast stitch and copper-finish accents on the steering wheel, shifter assembly, and meter rings. Instead of standard chrome, Subaru utilized Gunmetal gray and brushed aluminum on the pedals for a sportier appearance. A waterproof rear cargo tray protects the load floor from muddy gear.
Subaru ensures safety isn't sacrificed for the sake of adventure in the 2022 Outlook Wilderness. The automaker's standard EyeSight technology is tweaked to accommodate the crossover's higher ride height and off-road capability. To further enhance safety, the Outback Wilderness exclusive X-MODE display features a new Roll-Angle Indicator to help the driver navigate off-road terrain. The crossover's Multimedia Plus system is accessed through a tablet-style,11.6-inch touchscreen with has smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Subaru will announce pricing for the Outback Wilderness later this year and has not yet revealed when the crossover will hit dealerships. It's likely that shoppers will have to wait until the summer of 2021 to get their hands on the rugged new Subaru.