Go ahead. Climb that hill.
Perched atop a muddy hill like a seesaw, I stick my head out the window to see just how far down I’m about to drop. Nope. Can’t see a thing. Dominick Infante, Director of Communications for Subaru of America, presses a button and the front camera of the new 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness provides a picture of exactly what’s ahead. That’s great, but now I’m really nervous.
As I inch forward, he instructs me not to put my feet on the gas or brake. “Just let the Wilderness do what it’s designed to do,” he says.
“What?” I ask. “You do know it’s counterintuitive not to touch the brake when you’re about to go headfirst down a hill, right?”
This represents just one of several conversations I had with Dominick as he accompanied me on an off-roading experience in the new Subaru Outback Wilderness. From the scary hilltop to the river we dipped into—yes, I said river—the entire experience was delightfully terrifying. We emerged unscathed as did the Subaru Outback Wilderness: a testament to the design and capability of the newest vehicle in the Subaru line-up.
The Subaru Outback Wilderness: The Vehicle to Take You Away & Bring You Back Home
Subaru Outback owners tend to be active, outdoor loving people. You’ve no doubt seen them driving around with kayaks secured to the top of their vehicles. The Wilderness caters to these adventure lovers with the ability to take them further into nature. In pandemic times, getting outside became a priority for people all over the country. To escape the crowds, Outback owners needed to venture deeper into the wilderness. The new Subaru Outback Wilderness with its 9.5-inch ground clearance, Yokohama all-terrain tires, advanced drive modes that help you navigate between snow and dirt or really deep snow and mud, and the 180-degree front view camera makes it easy for adventure-seekers to go deeper into the woods, no matter the weather.
With the front and rear bumpers tucked in a bit more to improve approach and departure angles and clad with larger sections of rugged black plastic, the Wilderness remains scar-free even after a dip in a rock-strewn river.
The Wilderness will take you into nature, but it will bring you home too with a comfortable ride that handles those winding mountain roads like a boss. With a turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine like those in the Outback XT models, the Wilderness boasts 260 horsepower.
If the Wilderness Could Talk…
If the Wilderness could talk, here’s what she’d say:
- Mud makes me happy.
- Go ahead and dip into that river, I can swim.
- Charge up that hill and down the other side, my hill descent control will take care of everything.
- Did you get your gear muddy? No problem, my water-repellant upholstery can handle it.
- Like my shiny bling? My anodized copper-finish accents aren’t just pretty, they highlight important things like tow points on the front (2) and rear (2) bumpers and the roof rail mount points.
- Can’t bare to part with me overnight? Pitch a tent on top of me. My fixed ladder-type roof rack system can support a static load of up to 700 pounds.
- Yes, I’m pretty. But I’m also badass.
Who the Subaru Outback Wilderness is For
- Subaru lovers. I’m one of them, and this is now on my must-have list
- Adventure seekers who want to venture further into the wilderness but don’t really want to rock crawl up the side of a mountain like those wacky Jeep people
- Road trip enthusiasts who want a vehicle that’s fun to drive on and off road
- People who appreciate safety but want it to come in a tougher looking package
- Campers looking for a vehicle to double as their tent site
- Families with one or two kids; couples or singles who prefer to spend time outdoors
What It Costs
- Outback Wilderness – $38,120
- Added Moonroof + Navigation + Reverse Automatic Braking – $1,845
- Extra skid plates are available for between $100 and $130 each
What We Loved
- Easy handling on winding mountain roads
- Takes regular fuel
- Power moonroof to let the sun shine in!
- Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology
- 10-way power driver’s seat including lumbar support
- 12V power outlet in rear center console
- Hands-free power rear gate
- LED Lights on rear gate for cargo area—just in case you have to take those muddy hiking boots off in the dark!
- Oh, and all those features that helped me safely make my way around the off-road course!
What You Need To Know
- Gas Mileage: 22 city /26 highway /24 combined
- Towing capacity up to 3,500 pounds
- Fixed ladder-type roof rack system static load limit of 700 lbs./220 lbs. dynamic
- Ground clearance 9.5 inches (+0.8 inches higher than the standard Outback)
- Advanced dual-function X-MODE drive types
- Cargo space: 32.5 cubic feet (seats up) / 75.7 cubic feet (seats down)
- Color of the model I drove – Geyser Blue
- All-weather Package – standard
The Bottom Line…
If you’re a Subie fan like me, you’re going to LOVE the Wilderness. But even if you’ve never driven a Subaru, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this might just be the vehicle you need to take a drive on the wild side!