2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Ready to conquer the wild outdoors

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is the first vehicle to wear the Japanese carmaker's 'Wilderness' sub-brand badge. If that's any indication, the newest 2022 Outback Wilderness debuts the most rugged and off-road capable station wagon in the brand's storied history, and you can see it from the onset.

Starting life in 1995 as a more rugged and outdoorsy variant of the Legacy station wagon – and as a precursor to the upcoming Forester CUV – the Outback has come a long way and has gained cult status around the world. But with the 2022 Outback Wilderness, you can go deeper and farther towards the off-road territory, although not by much.

The new Subaru Outback Wilderness sits 0.8-inches higher off the ground and has a broader front and rear track than a standard Outback. As such, it has a higher ground clearance with higher approach, departure, and break-over angles courtesy of new off-road-inspired front and rear bumpers.

Offering up to 9.5-inches of ground clearance, the Outback Wilderness is good enough for mild to moderate off-roading. However, it won't rival the Jeep Wrangler when things get serious, but muddy trails and gravel roads are no match for Subaru's toughened-up Outback station wagon. Underneath, it has new front and rear shock absorbers and coil springs to better cope with inhospitable terrain.

This rugged, go-anywhere vibe is evident upon laying eyes on the Outback Wilderness. It has a new hexagonal grille with larger, more prominent wheel arch claddings. Those hexagon-style LED foglights are also new, and so is the front skid plate and glare-reducing front hood decal. Of course, the exterior gets Subaru Wilderness badging and high-contrast Anodized Copper accents.

The optional accessories list includes aluminum or steel skid plates for the engine, transmission, fuel tank; skid plates for the rear differential; and a bevy of roof-racking accessory options to make outdoor enthusiasts scream in delight. Speaking of roof rails, the 2022 Outback Wilderness has a standard ladder-type roof rack capable of supporting up to 700 pounds of gear.

Under the hood, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness has a similar turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four motor as a regular Outback, pumping out 260 horsepower and 227 pound-feet of torque. It has a continuously variable transmission (CVT), sending power to all four wheels via Subaru's all-wheel-drive system with active torque vectoring. However, the Outback Wilderness has a shorter 4.44:1 final drive ratio to improve low-end torque.

Inside, you get Subaru's StarTex water-repelling seats, embossed Subaru Wilderness floor liners, nifty gunmetal interior trim, and copper accents on the steering wheel, gear selector, and meter rings. Standard equipment includes an 11.6-inch infotainment screen with Subaru Starlink, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Bluetooth connectivity, bespoke 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in chunkier Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires, and a full-size spare tire. Bravo, Subaru!

We have no word yet on pricing, but the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness arrives at U.S. dealerships later this year. We strongly believe this won't be the last Subaru to wear the Wilderness badge. Anybody care for a turbocharged Forester STI Wilderness?

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Gallery