2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
Blog Car Guide

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Review

The most rugged and capable Outback arrives sporting an upgraded suspension, all-terrain tires, nearly 10-inches of ground clearance, and advanced X-MODE. Canada Drives puts Subaru’s trail-focused and first-ever 'Wilderness' mid-size SUV to the test.

Key Features:

  • Off-road-ready suspension and underbody
  • Turbocharged engine
  • Practical interior touches

Direct Competitors:

  • Ford Explorer Timberline
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
  • Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

Subaru’s new Wilderness sub-brand tweaks existing models to perform even more strongly than usual on extreme terrain. The Outback Wilderness was first to market and has just been joined on sale by the Forester Wilderness.

The Outback Wilderness isn’t designed to provide range-topping luxury. Instead, it targets improved off-road performance with features like all-terrain tires, raised ride height and underbody protection.

Price: how much does the Outback Wilderness cost?

  • 2022 Outback Wilderness $41,995


2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Photo: Subaru 

The Wilderness is positioned toward the upper end of the Outback range. The first four models in the lineup, from the entry-level Convenience ($31,195) to the Premier ($41,395), all have the standard 182-HP, 2.5-litre Boxer engine.

With an MSRP of $41,995, the Wilderness is the lowest-priced Outback with the 260-HP, 2.4-litre turbocharged motor. Above it is the Limited XT ($42,395) and range-topping Premier XT ($44,195).

Subaru keeps things simple by avoiding extra equipment packages altogether. Our test car was finished in distinctive, Wilderness-exclusive Geyser Blue paint.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness interior and equipment

Before we get to the cabin, let’s quickly look at the exterior changes for the Wilderness trim level, because they give this model a look that’s distinct from other Outbacks.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Photo: Subaru 

Large black-plastic fender flares and reshaped front and rear bumpers contribute to a more angular appearance. The extra 10mm of ground clearance (for a total of 241mm) works with the restyled front and rear to deliver improved approach, departure and breakover angles. Four out-of-sight skid plates protect mechanical components but the white-outlined lettering on the Yokohama Geolandar A/T tires are a more visible clue that this car is built for life on the trails.

The rugged theme continues inside, where easy-to-clean upholstery with prominent Wilderness logos, rubber floor liners and LED lighting in the cargo area have outdoor adventures in mind. A forward-view camera and roll-angle information on the X-Mode screen are trail-ready tech additions. Overall, the cabin layout is not much different from the 2020 Outback interior redesign

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Photo: Subaru 

X-Mode adjusts the 4WD system, transmission, traction control and brakes according to the terrain. It’s accessed via the Starlink infotainment system’s 11.6in screen. Starlink is not always as easy to use as we would hope and, for some users at least, may go too far with its touchscreen replacements for physical HVAC controls.

Otherwise, the Wilderness shares its interior features and dimensions with the regular Outback, which was completely renewed for the 2020 model year. That means comfortable seats, solid build quality, good materials and excellent rear leg- and headroom. We’d prefer some more storage options around the front seats and find the EyeSight driver-assistance technologies a little too intrusive.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Photo: Subaru 

The cargo space is wide and easy to access, but you’ll likely need a roof box for longer trips with more luggage. Helpfully the Wilderness boasts roof rails with 318kg of static load capacity and four tie-down points. Towing capacity is 1,588kg (3,500 lb).

Performance and drive impressions

The Wilderness delivers its power (260 HP) and torque (277lb-ft) in frustrating fashion. As in most other current Subarus, the Boxer motor is paired with a Lineartronic CVT transmission. The result, once you’ve pushed through the throttle pedal’s lazy response, is inconsistent and disconcerting surges in engine revs plus occasional whining from the CVT, rather than serene progress or predictable gear changes.

A simulated, 8-speed manual mode operates via paddle shifters (a CVT has no physical gears to change) but most drivers leave a transmission in automated mode in everyday use. As such, a conventional automatic would be our preferred option.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Photo: Subaru 

The powertrain is reasonably economical, achieving 9.9L/100km over a week’s driving – just a whisker below the official combined number of 10L/100km.

The Wilderness rides smoothly on the highway and the A/T tires work well to absorb the impact of broken surfaces. The suspension, especially at the rear, works less well around town, where sharper bumps sometimes crash into the cabin.

2022 Outback Wilderness off-road specs:

  • Wheelbase: 108.1
  • Length: 191.3
  • Height: 66.9
  • Width: 74.6
  • Front track: 62.0
  • Rear track: 63.0
  • Ground clearance: 9.5
  • Approach angle: 20.0 degrees
  • Departure angle: 23.6 degrees
  • Breakover angle: 21.2 degrees

Verdict: is the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness worth it?

Subaru’s long history in all-wheel drive gives it stronger off-road credentials than most manufacturers. The Wilderness line is a logical extension of that tradition and, given how strongly the regular Outback performs off-road, we’ve no doubt that the Wilderness’s trail-focused modifications give it even greater capability. If you plan to use your Outback exclusively on paved roads, other grades will likely prove more comfortable in day-to-day use.

For more certified, pre-owned SUVs and crossovers, check out our latest inventory here.

Buy Your Next Used Car Online

Browse by Category

Research Categories
We Want Your Car

The Easiest Way to Buy or Sell a Car