Subaru Outback Wilderness Launched In North America

The most rugged Outback to date is ready for off-road adventuring in North America. 

Despite its lower, more estate-like body style, the Subaru Outback has always been considered as one of the more competent off-road machines among the sea of front-wheel-drive-only lifestyle crossovers currently on the market. 

Having said that, even the amazing off-roading ability inherent with the Subaru however is sometimes insufficient for its more adventurous, outdoorsy buyers who wish to take their Scoobies off the beaten track on a more regular basis. This is especially true for North American Outback owners who more often than not fit aftermarket add-ons to their SUVs, in order to make it more off-road ready and ready for trailing. 

So in order to address this problem then and to further increase the Outback’s appeal to these sorts of owners, Subaru of America has therefore recently introduced a new variant of its SUV in the form of the Outback Wilderness. Touted as the most rugged and capable Outback to date, this new trim level also serves as the first model in the Japanese automaker’s more outdoorsy Wilderness sub-brand. 

Touching first on the enhanced off-road ability that comes with the Outback Wilderness, this new Subaru SUV now boasts a class-leading 9.5-inch ground clearance courtesy of a 1-inch suspension lift over the standard model. The suspension setup has also been retuned such that the longer spring and shocks will  provide even better stability off the beaten track, while supposedly simultaneously retaining its on-road ride comfort and handling. 

To add to that, the Outback Wilderness’ off-road figures has been improved over the standard model, with a greater approach angle (20.0º vs 18.6º), ramp breakover angle (21.2º vs 19.4º) and departure angle (23.6º vs 21.7º). This is in part due to the chunky new standard-fit Yokohama GEOLANDAR all-terrain tires that are wrapped around its bespoke matt black alloy wheels, though the chunky front and rear bumpers also contribute somewhat to these impressive numbers too.  

Speaking of the chunkier bumpers and continuing on the aesthetic distinctions on the Wilderness variant over the standard car, this more off-road ready Subaru SUV gains a more aggressive front fascia with hexagonal LED fog lights and a metal skid plate up front. Moving down the side, chunkier black plastic wheel arches are complemented by the equally chunky black roof rails up top that apparently have an impressive static load limit of 700 lbs (318 kg). Or to put it in a more adventure-y sense, enough for an outdoor tent. 

Other exterior enhancements worth highlighting in the Outback Wilderness are the anodised copper-finish tow hook anchor points and roof rail tie-down points, as well as the matte black hood decal and window trims. This off-road ready Subaru is also available in a bespoke Geyser Blue exterior hue. A colour that is said to be inspired by the automaker’s rally heritage and ‘the scenery only found in the U.S. National Parks’.

In line with its go-anywhere adventurous ethos, this particular Subaru SUV not only features StarTex water-repellent upholstery within the cabin, but also all-weather floor mats and a waterproof rear cargo tray. Adding a bit of bling to the proceedings meanwhile are the anodised copper steering wheel, shifter assembly, and meter rings, as well as brushed aluminium pedals. 

Now moving on the tech available on board, the Outback Wilderness features much the same gadgets and gizmos as the standard model. This therefore translates to the standard 11.6 inch Multimedia Plus portrait style central infotainment display, with integrated navigation available as an optional package that brings with it a powered panoramic sunroof and reverse automatic emergency braking.

While on the topic of safety, the standard array of active driver aids in Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite have been recalibrated to account for the Wilderness’ increased ground clearance. The Outback’s standard X-Mode all-wheel drive system has also incidentally been enhanced with beefed-up Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud programs, in addition to an Auto mode that allows the vehicle to ‘switch automatically from low speed managed driving to speeds over 25 mph without interruption of power or performance’. 

As for the drivetrain, the Outback Wilderness retains the standard model’s 260 hp/375 Nm 2.4 litre turbocharged boxer four-cylinder mated to an 8-speed Lineartronic CVT. New though on this particular variant of Subaru SUV is a revised rear differential with a final drive ratio of 4.44:1 which now enables it to climb gradients of as steep as 40%, and the addition of a pressure sensor that improves its low speed control accuracy. 

Set to go on sale in North America later this year, prices for this rugged Outback Wilderness will only be known closer to launch. What has been confirmed however is that this new Wilderness-spec Subaru will be the first of many off-road ready models to come in the future.

PRESS RELEASE: Subaru of America today introduced the most rugged and capable Outback in the auto manufacturer’s history: the new 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

With a standard 2.4-liter turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine, advanced dual function X-MODE, elevated 9.5-inch ground clearance, standard front skid plate, all-terrain tires, upgraded suspension and Subaru’s Symmetrical All-wheel drive, the Outback Wilderness is ready for adventure.

The Outback Wilderness also features award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, and a tablet-style 11.6-inch SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia system with integrated center information display. The SUV’s off-road performance and capability is greatly increased with help of exclusive new features…

Performance and Capability

The 2022 Outback Wilderness boasts a class-leading 9.5-inch ground clearance, a nearly one-inch increase over the already impressive standard model. The suspension has been tuned for improved stability on rough terrain while retaining ride comfort and handling performance on the open road. The front and rear shock absorbers and springs were increased in length to provide more ground clearance and suspension travel.

The increased ground clearance, along with redesigned front and rear bumpers, contribute to the vehicle’s ability to navigate rough or uneven terrain. Approach angles on the SUV have been extended from 18.6 degrees to 20.0, ramp breakover angle shifts from 19.4 degrees to 21.2 degrees, and the departure angle soars from 21.7 degrees to an impressive 23.6 degrees.

A revised rear differential with a final drive ratio of 4.44:1 was fitted, and the Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) was modified to achieve an equivalent final drive ratio at the front wheels. This combination improves available low-end torque at the wheels, resulting in a superior ability to climb grades up to 40 percent on a gravel surface. The addition of a pressure sensor improves control accuracy at low speeds. Standard dual-function X-MODE includes Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes. Exclusive to Outback Wilderness, a new advanced feature for X-MODE allows the vehicle to switch automatically from low speed managed driving to speeds over 25 mph without interruption of power or performance.

The Outback Wilderness comes equipped with Yokohama GEOLANDAR all-terrain tires for better performance on muddy or gravel roads.  Mounted on exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels in matte black finish, the tires are embossed with raised white letters: an homage to the original Outback.  A standard full-size tire is stored under the cargo the area, giving owners confidence while on the trails.

In addition to the increased off-road capability, the Outback Wilderness delivers the optimal blend of SUV capability and car-like ride and handling that the legendary SUV is known for with help from standard features including Active Torque Vectoring and Vehicle Dynamics Control. Thoughtful upgrades, such as a Front View Monitor, LED Rear Gate Light, and Hands-Free Power Rear Gate improve convenience on the trail.

The Outback Wilderness is paired with a Lineartronic CVT featuring an 8-speed manual mode function with steering wheel paddle shifters. The standard 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine delivers robust all-around performance with 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. The 2.4-liter turbo achieves an EPA rated 22 city/26 highway and has a 3,500-lb. towing capacity.

Exclusive Features

To visually communicate the more capable off-road performance, the Outback Wilderness adds exclusive styling with all-new front and rear bumpers, bold hexagonal front grille, larger wheel arch cladding, Front Skid Plate, unique hex-designed LED fog lights and an anti-glare hood decal in matte-black finish. Window trim and exterior badges have a black finish and new Subaru Wilderness badges are emblazoned on the front fenders and rear gate.

High contrast accents in an Anodized Copper-finish throughout the exterior signal useful contact points such as tow hook anchor points and roof rail tie-down points. The Outback Wilderness also utilizes a more utilitarian fixed ladder-type roof rack system, with an exceptional static load limit of 700 lbs., allowing adventurers to safely use a roof-top tent on the trail. The ladder-type roof rails add flexibility to fit a wider variety of roof racking accessories and contribute to the adventurous spirit.

The new Outback trim also debuts its exclusive exterior color: Geyser Blue. A color that is inspired by Subaru’s rally heritage and the scenery only found in the U.S. National Parks.

On the inside, the Outback Wilderness features a comfortable and durable interior perfect for the road or on the trail. The seats are wrapped Subaru StarTex water-repellant material that includes the Subaru Wilderness logo embossed in the headrests. A bold copper colored contrast stitch weaves its way throughout the interior, complementing the Anodized Copper-finish accents on the steering wheel, shifter assembly, and meter rings. The headliner utilizes a darker color and Gunmetal Grey replaces the standard chrome touch points such as ventilation grilles and cupholders. Brushed aluminum pedals also give a sporty look. Standard all-weather floor mats also display the Subaru Wilderness logo. In the cargo area, the rear seatback is wrapped in a waterproof material, and a waterproof rear cargo tray protects the load floor. As a final point of flair, the Subaru Wilderness logo appears in the meter display during vehicle start up.


SUBARU STARLINK In-Vehicle Technology offers an integrated cockpit experience by allowing the driver to control entertainment and vehicle settings through a large touchscreen display. The Outback Wilderness comes standard with the STARLINK 11.6-inch Multimedia Plus system offering direct touch controls for multimedia, HVAC, X-MODE, and vehicle settings. The multimedia system includes smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto; Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming connectivity. The system also comes standard with AM/FM stereo; rear vision camera; SiriusXM All Access Radio (4-month free subscription) and SiriusXM Travel Link (3-year free subscription); HD Radio and over-the-air updates. The top-of-the-line 11.6-inch Multimedia with Navigation is available as part of an option package that also includes a power moonroof and Reverse Automatic Braking. Exclusive to Outback Wilderness, the X-MODE display features a new Roll-Angle Indicator to help the driver navigate off-road terrain.

Expanded Accessory Catalog

In addition to the wide variety of roof-racking and other accessory parts currently available to Subaru owners, new accessories have been added for the Outback Wilderness. These include aluminum or steel skid plates for the engine, transmission, and fuel tank. A rear differential protector is also available.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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