Subaru Reveals The Outback Wilderness As Its Most Off-Road Worthy Model Yet: Here’s What’s Different (News)

You get the most ground clearance of any Subaru model and turbo power

Subaru Outback Wilderness
The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness leans hard into the off-road lifestyle: Beefier tires, plastic cladding and all. (Photos: Subaru)

Meet Subaru’s most rugged Outback yet.

The Outback originally gained its popularity as a more adventurous version of the Legacy wagon back in the day, and now the automaker’s pushing that envelope even further. The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness joins the lineup as a rung above the brand’s other models for those who want more of a serious off-roader, with improved ground clearance, beefier tires, better approach and departure, and a more purposeful-looking “ready for adventure” look.

To that end, Subaru raised this particular variant even over the base car’s already respectable 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The Outback Wilderness sports 9.5 inches of clearance — a class-leading figure among crossovers it competes against. In fact, that nearly matches the Toyota 4Runner to within a tenth of an inch, and the non-Rubicon Jeep Wrangler to within two-tenths of an inch. Overall, this model sees a 0.8-inch increase in height, 1.6-inch increase in width, and a 0.2-inch wider front and rear track than the standard Outback. The wheelbase and overall length remain the same. Thanks to the lift, you also get better approach, breakover and departure angles before. At 20.0 degrees approach, 21.2 degrees breakover and 23.6 degrees departure, it’s better than what you’ll see with something like a Toyota RAV4 Adventure.

Subaru also says it revised the final drive ratio on the Lineartronic CVT to 4.44:1 for better low-end torque to the wheels. While the standard Outback has the dual-function “X-Mode”, the Wilderness gets a more advanced system that allows the car to automatically switch modes above 25 mph without disruption. Getting power to the ground is a set of Yokohama Geolander G015 all-terrain tires, on 17-inch alloy wheels bespoke to the Wilderness model.

Subaru Outback Wilderness

The Outback Wilderness gets turbocharged power

On the powertrain front, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness does indeed get the more potent 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four engine. With 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque on tap, the most rugged Outback should be a fairly dynamic package for the sort of customers the automaker is seeking out here. Now, you will see a compromise in the fuel economy department with greater ground clearance, chunkier rubber and the thirstier engine. In their statement, at least, Subaru says the turbo manages 22 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, which would make it the least fuel efficient Outback of the bunch. On the other hand, the car does still retain its 3,500-pound towing capacity.

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness adds new front and rear bumpers, a hexagonal grille, larger wheel arch cladding, a new front skid plate and hexagonal LED fog lights to set it apart from other Outback trims. Window trims and exterior badging bear a matte black finish, while orange accents are exclusive to the Wilderness, along with the actual “Subaru Wilderness” badge.

Interior touches

Inside, the Wilderness-trimmed Outback is broadly the same as the other 2.4-liter turbo “XT” models. Subaru’s newest 11.6-inch Starlink infotainment system is standard fare, as is the brand’s EyeSight driver assistance technology. Instead of traditional leather that would clash with the whole “adventure” theme Subaru’s going for, the automaker fits the Wilderness with its “StarTex” water-repellent material with the off-road brand’s logo embossed in the headrests. Orange accents once again make an appearance from the steering wheel and gear lever to the contrast stitching. Finally, drivers get that same Subaru Wilderness logo when in the cluster information display when they start the car.

There’s no word on pricing yet, but I’d count on the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness bearing the highest price tag in the lineup. Right now, the Touring XT tops out the range at $40,995, so it wouldn’t be too shocking to see the Wilderness sit somewhere in the lower to mid-$40,000s, if not a bit more.