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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Subaru Outback Wilderness – Subaru’s Rubicon?

The interest in overlanding is growing by the day and automotive manufacturers are doing whatever they can to provide an adventure-ready vehicle from the factory. Until recently, the off-road packages were limited to the most capable off-roader companies such as the Toyota TRDs and Jeep Rubicons. 

Not everyone wants a gas-guzzling 4×4 though; so, the upgrades are making their way down to the cross-overs. 

Subaru is the latest one to introduce a more off-road-worthy version of their SUV and it sounds like they got its name straight out of a national geographic show – the Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Suspension

Low angle of the side of a Subaru Outback Wilderness

Branding choices aside, the new package the Outback has to offer provides a list of modifications overlanding enthusiasts tend to make. However, with this one they are implemented with factory fit and finish and crash test results for peace of mind. 

First on the list is the suspension. Ride height has been increased by 0.8 inch which now takes ground clearance to 9.5 inches. The additional lift improves the approach angle from 18.6 degrees to 20.0, brake over angle from 19.4 to 21.2, and departure angle from 21.7 to 23.6. 

Not too bad for a jacked-up sedan; although, don’t expect to be doing any challenging tracks with this. It is still a soft-roader meant to tackle dirt roads a normal car can’t. 

What About the Tires?

Close up of a tire on a Subaru Outback Wilderness

One of the most important upgrades you can do to your 4WD is a set of off-road worthy tires. Subaru decided to equip the Outback with Yokohama Geolanders A/T – these tires provide a good compromise between on-road and off-road manners.

Learn More:

Subaru Outback Wilderness Engine

close up of the Subaru Outback Wilderness engine

Under the hood not much has changed. Subaru’s 2.4-liter flat-four is still rated at 260hp and 277-pound feet of torque. The CVT transmission is also the same except from different programming to cope with the change from 4.11:1 to 4.44:1 gears. I would prefer a 3-speed auto from the 1970s rather than having a CVT, but that’s the only choice – bummer. 

The Wilderness’ Exterior

Subaru Outback Wilderness in the desert

On the outside, plenty of changes were made to ensure the Wilderness will not get confused for a normal Outback. Bumper covers, copper-colored accents, a unique grille, hexagonal fog lights, side cladding, and a front skid plate give the Outback a more purposeful look. 

On the hood, there is also an anti-glare black decal. Funny enough, in all my years of driving I never had issues with glaring hoods. Come on Subaru, it just looked nice, didn’t it? 

Interior Trim of the Subaru Outback Wilderness

Subaru dashboard

The interior was also made a bit more rugged to withstand muddy pants and boots. Subaru’s water repellent StarTex fabric along with mud-catching floor mats and waterproof material on the back of the second-row seats differentiates the Wilderness from the normal Outback.  General trim differences include a dark-colored headliner and gunmetal accents.

 A full-sized matching spare tire can also be found under the cargo-hold floor. This is great for overlanding. It means that if you get a puncture out on the trail you won’t have to make your way back on one of those silly donuts. 

How’s the Roof Rack?

Subaru with roof rack on a rocky slope

Last but not least are roof rails rated at 700 pounds of static load. Static means as the vehicle is stationary; so, don’t get fooled into thinking you can mount 700 pounds of accessories on that roof, unless you’re planning on camping in your garage. 

We do not have any information on the dynamic load capacity of the roof rails, but at least they are there from the factory. 

People seem to be interested in these new more rugged-looking SUVs; so, I think Subaru has made a good move here. Of course, the Outback is no serious off-roader but with the new package, it will be able to take you and your family a bit further down the beaten path. 

What do you think? Are the modifications Subaru opted going for worth it? Or are they just gimmicks? 

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