The Outback SUV has always been a capable off-roader with its advance all-wheel drive and utility-focused design. The current redesigned, six-generation model introduced in 2020 took it a step further. But Subaru has significantly dialled it up for 2022 with the new Outback Wilderness, converting the generally well-mannered suburban family hauler into a proper off-the-grid, raised-and-cladded wagon warrior with everyday drivability intact.
A true no non-sense, high-performance machine that goes well beyond your typical “off-road package,” the Wilderness gains hefty upgrades including advanced X-MODE, extended approach angles, a modified CVT transmission for improved rock-climbing torque, a tuned suspension, new wheels with all-terrain rubber, an added front skid plate with new bumpers, a ladder for roof-top tents, and some sleek black and copper touches throughout to separate this tough version from its siblings.
Will most Subaru Outback buyers conquering Walmart parking lots require all this rugged goodness? Probably not. But for everyone else, this thing is perfect. Here’s a look at the 17 major features that separate the 2022 Outback Wildness from the rest of the Outback lineup, both performance and styling.
Pricing and release date info has not yet been announced.
Worth noting, the Outback Wilderness retains the same, range-topping 2.4L turbocharged engine as its counterparts, paired to the 8-speed CVT transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters and manual mode. So, performance figures remains the same at 260-hp at 5,600 rpm, 277 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, and 3,500-lb. towing capacity.
Higher ground clearance: a full inch higher than the standard Outback, the Wilderness sits at 9.5-inches — the most ground clearance in its class.
Tuned suspension: The suspension receives a hefty upgrade while retaining its everyday drivability, according to Subaru. It’s tuned for improved stability on rough terrain where the front and rear shock absorbers and springs increase in length offering more ground clearance and suspension travel.
Increased approach & departure angles: Subaru paid special attention in this department, and for good reason to navigate rough or uneven terrain and climb from a horizontal plane without interference. Here’s a look at the changes:
|(in degrees)||2022 Outback Wilderness||2022 Outback|
Revised CVT transmission offering low-end torque: with more torque at the low end, the Outback Wilderness’ climbing abilities improve compared to the standard model; the modified CVT gains an equivalent final drive ratio at the front wheels with the ability to climb grades up to 40 percent on a gravel surface.
Advanced X-MODE: a drive mode system available across Subaru’s SUV lineup with settings including Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud, this Outback steps it up with a new advanced feature for the system allowing it to switch automatically from low speed managed driving to speeds over 25 mph without interruption of power or performance. In addition, the X-MODE display in the Wilderness can now track roll angle information.
Upgraded wheels & tires and larger wheel arches: Rolling on 17-inch alloy wheels in matte black finish — an exclusive to this model — the wheels come wrapped in burlier, all-terrain Yokohama GEOLANDAR rubber with a cool, added touch: raised white letters that harken back to the original Outback. Expect a full-size spare and larger wheel arches, as well.
New bumpers: all-new front and rear bumper treatments , which also accommodate the increase approach/departure angles and higher ground clearance.
Front skid plate: Something definitely not equipped with the standard Outback.
Hex-designed LED fog lights: a nice touch to set this SUV apart from the pack, replacing the typical single light with a 6 mini-bulb hexagon-shape design.
Enhanced hood: finished in matte-black, the new hood gains an anti-glare decal.
Blacked-out look with new badging: Coupled with the black finish window trim and blacked-out badges is a new Subaru Wilderness badge in bright yellow, found on the front fender and rear gate.
Copper touches: to go with the black finishes are high contrast accents in an Anodized Copper-finish — adding some distinct flavour throughout the exterior including tow hook anchor points and roof rail tie-down points. Inside, the copper touches continue on the seat stitching, steering wheel, shifter assembly, and meter rings.
Exclusive exterior colour: you can’t have a standout model without a distinct exterior colour offering. The Wilderness comes in a new Geyser Blue inspired by U.S. National Parks and Subaru’s racing past.
Fixed ladder-type roof rack system: a bonus for roof-top campers is this new ladder feature, with a load limit of 700 lbs.
Subaru Wilderness logos inside: A large Subaru Wilderness logo is embossed on the front headrests, on the standard all-weather floor mats, and in the meter display when this Outback starts up.
Waterproof features: the rear trunk gains a new waterproof tray to handle the dirty stuff and protect the load floor, while the rear seatback is wrapped in a waterproof material to help dispel water.
Aluminum pedals and no chrome: Replacing the more glossy chrome bits in the standard Outback, including the ventilation grilles and cupholders, is a darker colour Gunmetal Grey for a more appropriately understated look. Plus, some new brushed aluminum pedals in the mix.
End of the day, the Wilderness is not an ‘off-road’ add-on with a few performance tweaks and long list of “rugged” cosmetic changes to appease the Weekend Warriors — this thing this truly built to go off-the-grid.
And while the Outback has always been a capable off-roader with its advanced all-wheel drive and utility-focused design, the Wilderness dials it up several notches for who are truly seeking an advanced, high-performance machine with daily driving abilities.