Find Freedom With a 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness

The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness makes for a great daily driver, but has a ton of features and a few modifications so you can go off-road with confidence too.

Me And The 2024 Subaru Foester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey
Me and the 2024 Subaru Foester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness will Challenge your Assumptions about the Classic Subaru Model.

Amped up to be more off-road ready and capable than its non-Wilderness sisters, the 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness has a bunch of features to get you out of the urban jungle and into, well, a regular jungle. The Forester Wilderness starts at $34,920 before destination fees. The model I test-drove had a few added features, including a power liftgate. Add the $1,125 destination fees, and it rang up at $36,015.

Related: The 2025 Subaru Forester is Filled With Safety and Convenience

The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness Looks So Rugged.

The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness looks so rugged. Photo: Sara Lacey

What makes the 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness Different from a Regular Forester?

As you may have guessed, the Subaru Forester Wilderness comes with all-wheel drive, as all Subaru models do. The Wilderness trim adds increased towing capacity to 3,000 pounds, 9.2 inches of ground clearance, black alloy wheels, all-terrain tires (with a full-size spare), and beefier roof rails with a higher weight capacity. Importantly, it has a 180-degree front-view monitor so you can see what’s in front of you when going up and down steep trails. The interior is clad in StarTex water-repellent upholstery. X-Mode has been tweaked for better performance in adverse conditions (whether you’re actively seeking them out or not).

Related: 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness Review: The Best Outdoor Companion

You Can See The Skid Plate And Rugged Bumpers. Photo: Sara Lacey

You can see the skid plate and rugged bumpers. Photo: Sara Lacey

What You’ll Notice First is the More Rugged Look of the Forester Wilderness

The Forester Wilderness has a distinctive look. The bumpers, door panels, and wheel wells have thick black cladding to protect them from whatever you encounter on your adventures. Notably, there is heavy cladding on the front end around the fog lights combined with a skid plate that looks cool and rugged. You’ll definitely see the bright anodized copper trim details, and you may even wonder what that black decal on the hood is for. It’s to reduce glare. My favorite detail is the Subaru Wilderness badge. It lets everyone know this is not your regular Forester. If you opt for the Geyser Blue paint job that you see on my test car, that’s a tell, too, because that color is only available on the Wilderness trim.

Related: The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Will Leave You Feeling Rugged, Wild and Free

Front Seat Is So Sporty And Fun. Photo: Sara Lacey

The front seat is so sporty and fun. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Drive is Upbeat

The engine in the Subaru Forester Wilderness is the same as the other Forester models, but it’s more flexible with deep snow and mud settings. But if you’re just driving in normal conditions, the Forester feels like it has a little pep in its step. It’s got a little wind and road noise, but I didn’t mind it as that’s not what I’m looking for in a car that can take on nature’s challenges. That said, I did appreciate the upgraded Harman Kardon sound system.

The X-Mode drive modes were easy to dial in, as the knob is located just below the gear shifter, and both are accented with the anodized copper detail. There was a definite change in grip and tuning when I switched to different modes, and I wished for some sand dunes or a snowy mountain pass to try them out. You can also use the paddle shifters if you want to feel more in tune with the drive.

Love Those Copper Details. Photo: Sara Lacey

Love those copper details. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Subaru Forester Wilderness has Plenty of Tech

The Wilderness trim comes with an 8-inch multimedia screen, and you can pop for the optional upgrade that includes navigation. This system was so easy to use. Subaru does a great job of making all the icons crisp and easy to identify at a glance. The navigation was spot-on, and hands-free calling was a cinch.

This Display Is Where The Front 180 Degree Camera Shows Up. Photo: Sara Lacey

This display is where the front 180-degree camera shows up. Photo: Sara Lacey

Subaru did a Really Nice Job with the Interior

There is a nice balance between gloss black surfaces and matte leatherette. The car doesn’t look like anything from the future, but it looks rugged and very focused on the tasks it needs to accomplish. I respect that. It has analog gauges and a digital driver information system that shows you speed and driver-assist system options. The aluminum pedals and contrast stitching add a dash of sportiness and make the interior fun to be in. Lastly, I have to say that I loved the visibility in the Forester Wilderness. Lower beltlines and the huge sunroof make the car feel bright and light to be in, and it’s easy to see pedestrians, navigate blind spots, and manage whatever is going on around you.

Back Seat Of The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

Back seat of the 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

Safety Still Rules in the Subaru Forester Wilderness Trim

In the event you need help, the Forester Wilderness comes with all kinds of built-in safety systems like lane departure warning, pre-collision braking system, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. The Wilderness also has reverse automatic braking as a standard feature.

The driver assist programs in the Forester Wilderness were a piece of cake to use. Controls are on the steering wheel, and they’re easy to remember despite many toggles and buttons. If you need help out on the road, Subaru has a system they call Starlink. It’s got all kinds of remote assistance features like automatic collision notification, remote engine start, and more.

Back Seat Of The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

Back seat of the 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

Back Seat Life is Easy, too, in the Forester Wilderness

The doors open wide for effortless ingress and egress, not to mention getting kids and car seats in and out. Latch connectors are located behind a flap and are easy to access. The bench seat is flat, so car seat bases are more likely to fit easily. There’s a fold-down armrest with cupholders, a bottle holder in each door, and two, yes two, two-seat back pockets for each outboard passenger. There are two USB ports in the back seat also, and the panoramic sunroof makes everything feel bright.

Latch Connectors In The Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

Latch connectors in the Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

The cargo area of the Forester Wilderness is spacious at a total of 69.1 cubic feet, 26.9, with the second-row seats up. It’s a little impeded by the rear wheel wells. A full-size spare also negates the underfloor storage in the cargo area, so you may have to be a little Tetris-minded when packing. It’s got a removable tray on the floor to protect the interior and a removable tonneau cover to conceal your belongings. The Forester Wilderness also has a light in the cargo area so that is handy.

Cargo Area Of The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

The cargo area of the 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

What You Should Know

  • The Forester Wilderness is designed to be rugged, not posh
  • Gas mileage is reduced in the Forester; Subaru says it will get up to 28 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway
  • Geyser Blue paint is only available on the Wilderness trim

 What We Loved

  • Rugged features like a skid plate and modified front and rear bumpers enable off-road adventures
  • Water repellent upholstery 
  • Front view monitor makes it easy to see what is in front of you, creating confidence in challenging terrain
  • The versatile size is great for city living and for getting out of it

    Back End Of The 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

    The back end of the 2024 Subaru Forester Wilderness. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Subaru Forester Wilderness is Not Afraid of Mother Nature

My time with the Forester was largely spent with me pining to find some high adventure. While many people fear inclement weather, I hoped that we would have some huge, unexpected autumnal snowstorm that would result in heavy snow that would melt into big mud pools. I was able to do some off-pavement driving and a few rutted roads up some hills, and the Forester didn’t blink. The previously mild-mannered model was so confident and capable, and I respect that the Forester Wilderness is ready for more.

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Sara has written about cars since 2005. She used to beat them up with her kids and write about... More about Sara Lacey