2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Long Live Adventure

Strong points
  • Great exterior look
  • Plenty of interior space
  • Off-road capable and then some
Weak points
  • Can be a gas-guzzler
  • Need to spend the $ for all the extras to get the Wilderness look
Full report

It’s one thing for a company to promote itself as “adventure-driven” or ready to take on anything, and completely another to make that the living, breathing essence of your entire lineup and brand just as Subaru has done over the years.

More than anything, Subaru sells a lifestyle. They sell a way of living. Subaru promotes life outside the confines of the cubicle - time spent with family, friends, and the great outdoors. They always have. However, more recently, they’ve really pushed the point home with a series of vehicle trims that really scream: outdoor adventure.

And none seems to scream as loudly as the Subaru Outback Wilderness.

Photo: Miranda Lightstone

Taking a ride on the Wild Side

Let’s start with the way this thing looks. We absolutely love the rugged black cladding and how different it makes this Outback look without really changing much at all. The simple gold accents are a great touch to really make the Outback Wilderness stand out - and we think it looks good with any colours offered in the various Wilderness models.

That’s right, there are others available across the Subaru lineup like the Forester Wilderness that features the same exterior design touches.

Inside, those gold/yellow accents trickle onto the dash, the steering wheel and even in little fabric tags on the doors that say “wilderness.” Again, tying in that design language and really making sure anyone who sees or gets into your Outback knows it’s a little bit different from the norm.

Photo: Miranda Lightstone

The centre console is a pleasure to use and look at with an 11.6” touchscreen that easily connects to Apply CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a clean-looking, functional design that makes it easy for both driver and passenger to access all the controls.

Unlike most vehicles that offer drive modes, the Outback keeps its X-Mode settings in the onboard entertainment setting. There you can toggle between normal, snow/dirt, deep snow/mud and also choose your AVH (auto vehicle hold), steering responsive headlights and your cruise control acceleration characteristics (how quickly you’d like the Outback to accelerate once you no longer have a vehicle in front of you on the highway holding you back from your desired speed).

Getting Into the Wild

Now, when it comes to performance, the Outback Wilderness is a solid, solid vehicle that’s designed to really tackle some difficult terrains and weather conditions. With lots of suspension travel available, a raised ride height and Subaru’s awesome symmetrical AWD, the Outback is uber capable.

Equipped with a 2.4L turbocharged engine that’s good for 260 horsepower, the Outback is adequately powered without being overly so. It doesn’t need to be quick, but it does need to be capable and surefooted, and that’s precisely what it is. Steering is connected and despite the larger, beefier tires for off-roading, I didn’t feel like there was too much of a disconnect between my steering input and the direction the car went.

Photo: Miranda Lightstone

Now those enhanced X-Mode features will get you to where you want to go, and the Outback’s interior will ensure everyone gets there in comfort. With lots of room up front and in the second row, the Outback truly is the ideal weekend getaway vehicle. With 920 litres of cargo space behind the second row, as well as standard roof rails that make adding a cargo box or strapping extras up there a breeze, there’s nowhere this Subie can’t take you.

Time for an Adventure

All I really wanted to do with the Outback Wilderness was go camping! Sadly, I wasn’t able to get away, but every time I got behind the wheel I felt the call of the wild, so to speak. And one of the coolest features the Outback Wilderness has is the fact that upon purchase, buyers will receive a year-long pass to all of Canada’s National Parks (family members included). If that’s not enough of an incentive to get out and explore, especially behind the wheel of your brand new Subaru, then we don’t know what is.

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