2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
During the mid-1990s, the Subaru Outback unwittingly became one of the original crossovers — a vehicle with attributes of both a passenger car and an SUV — when the automaker took its Legacy wagon and beefed it up with some rugged styling and a raised suspension. In the intervening years Outback has grown not only in popularity but also in size and capability, and for the new model year Subaru creates the most aggressive and capable Outback to date — the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
Subaru provided us with a 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness painted in Crystal Black Silica. With no additional options on the test vehicle, the MSRP comes in at $38,120. Competitors to the Outback Wilderness include the Jeep Cherokee, Audi A4 allroad, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sorento, Nissan Rogue, Volvo V60 Cross Country and Toyota Highlander.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceIncreased Capability
The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness literally stands above the rest of the Outback lineup thanks to its 9.5 inches of ground clearance — almost an inch taller than the standard Outback. For comparison, this clearance is about the same as a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. The additional clearance also makes room for an upgrade to Yokohama GEOLANDER all-terrain tires designed for better performance on slippery, muddy unpaved roads.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWilderness Styling
Beyond the larger tires and raised ride height, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is easily recognizable as something special in the Outback lineup via a bold new grille — larger than the standard Outback — that features a hexagonal pattern. Other equipment unique to the Outback Wilderness includes an all-new front bumper, a front skidplate, hexagonal LED fog lights and a matte-black hood decal. During our time in the Outback Wilderness several passersby commented on how good it looked — even local car wash attendants were excited to see “that new Outback model,” and they see a lot of new cars.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTough Look
Cladding on the larger wheel arches of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness give this special vehicle a tougher look that dovetails well with the larger all-terrain tires. Window trim and exterior badges have a black finish that complements a rugged vibe. The tires are mounted on excusive 17-inch matte-black alloy wheels to complete the look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCopper Treatment
To add a bit more differentiation, designers also gave the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness some highlights via a bit of Anodized Copper trim. Tow-hook anchor points as well as roof rail tie-down points stand out in this bright color — especially against the Crystal Black Silica paint.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
A 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine powers the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque at a low 2000 rpm. Subaru added this optional engine when the current-generation Outback arrived in 2019, replacing the 6-cylinder unit. This turbo powerplant also gives the Outback a 3,500-pound towing capacity.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCVT
The turbo engine of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness gets teamed with the automaker’s Lineartronic continuously variable transmission featuring an 8-speed manual mode that can be actuated via paddle shifters on the steering column. The final-drive ratio of the CVT has been increased to 4.44:1, which improves low-end torque at the wheels to provide improved hill-climbing capability as well as quicker response on the road.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Economy
With the raised clearance and off-road tires, fuel economy takes a bit of a hit in the Wilderness. According to the U.S. EPA, this Outback earns fuel-economy ratings of 22 mpg city / 26 mpg hwy / 24 mpg combined — a drop of four mpg on the highway and two mpg overall. During our drive both on and off pavement the display reported around 20 mpg.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceX-MODE
Subaru updated X-MODE for the Outback Wilderness to provide even more capability. The dual-function X-MODE sets up the vehicle for improved performance via modes for Snow / Dirt or Deep Snow / Mud. A new feature exclusive to the Outback Wilderness: X-MODE can switch automatically from low-speed managed driving to exceeding 25 mph without any interruption in performance or the need to reengage X-MODE when conditions suddenly require it. Active torque vectoring and vehicle dynamics control are standard equipment designed to further improve driver confidence in slick conditions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
In keeping with the exterior highlights, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness cabin also features Anodized Copper accents as well as copper-colored contrasting stitching. Brushed-aluminum pedals add to the vehicle’s adventurous looks.

All-Weather Seats
Seats in the Outback Wilderness are trimmed in Subaru’s proprietary StarTex — a water-repellant material that feels a bit like neoprene. The material feels a little odd at first, although we quickly realized that the StarTex is quite comfortable with an added bonus: it stays cool on hot days, even when surrounded by sheet metal swathed black paint. A Subaru Wilderness logo gets embossed on the head restraints; the logo can also be found on the standard all-weather floor mats that feature a cool mountain design. A waterproof cargo tray and washable rear seatbacks make it easier to clean up after a day of outdoor play.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHigh Tech Look
When it underwent a redesign in 2019, the Outback’s interior received significant updates. Those improvements continue in the 2022 Outback Wilderness, including a large 11.6-inch vertical display screen that integrates well with the instrument panel. The system has physical knobs for volume and tuning, and actual buttons for climate control, and everything else gets accessed via the touchscreen.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAndroid Auto and Apple CarPlay
Featuring both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Subaru system can show these smartphone screens while the lower section displays the Subaru audio system. Although it’s big and easy to read, the display isn’t as configurable as it could be. Android Auto can only use the top half of the display, and there is no way to display both maps and media when both are sourced from the mobile device. In this instance the lower half of the display simply remains blank.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seats
With ample legroom and headroom, the rear seat of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness feels both comfortable and spacious. The middle seat seems less cramped than those in other crossovers, so this rugged crossover will easily seat five occupants. The heated rear seats and 2.1-amp USB ports make riding in back even better.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Area
A few years ago Subaru engineers redesigned the rear hatch of the Outback to create a wider opening that makes loading cargo much easier. The Wilderness possesses a surprising amount of cargo space for a wagon/crossover. A quick-release cargo cover keeps items from prying eyes, and when needed the rear seats can be folded flat via a release lever in the cargo area.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRoof Rack
When adventurous folks need to carry must-have equipment that won’t fit in the cargo area (think kayaks), Subaru provides a standard roof rack that has been upgraded on the Wilderness to achieve a dynamic (while driving) load capacity of 220 pounds and a static capacity of 700 pounds. The added capacity makes it possible to install a cargo box or even a rooftop tent — items that have become extremely popular for camping and adventuring.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
With its standard turbocharged engine, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness has plenty of power on tap for strong acceleration. Although we are not big fans of continuously variable transmissions in general, the changes in gearing for the Wilderness’s CVT work well — in fact, in most situations it does not feel like a CVT. That said, at lower speeds the CVT sometimes hesitates as if it were not synching up with the turbocharged engine. We discovered that a more aggressive throttle produces more linear power delivery.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHandling
Over years of testing numerous crossovers we’ve come to appreciate the Outback’s value proposition of SUV capability and a carlike ride in one vehicle. Although the ride remains comfortable and enjoyable in the Wilderness, the increased ride height combined with larger off-road tires translate to an Outback that doesn’t feel as confident on winding roads when compared with the standard version.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOff Pavement
During our time with the Wilderness we felt the need to seek a bit of, well, wilderness. While heading into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains on pitted forest roads, the Outback Wilderness demonstrated its capability where the pavement ends. In loose dirt and gravel the crossover feels incredibly sure-footed so it provides a confident and comfortable ride. The AWD system — combined with the torque vectoring and stability control systems — help to maintain control, even on high-speed rough corners.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
The Subaru Outback has earned a loyal following thanks to its blend of carlike driving, wagon styling and SUV capability. With a powerful turbocharged engine, comfortable on-road characteristics, standout styling and increased off-road capability, the Outback Wilderness takes this proven crossover and provides a new choice for those seeking to get a little more distance between themselves and the rest of humanity — performing admirably in the process.

The post 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Review appeared first on

Read More

Pebble Beach Motoring Classic: Ultimate Road Trip Begins

August 3, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 29

The Road to Pebble Beach Almost every summer for the past 20 years, a group of adventurous car collectors gathers in August on the outskirts of Seattle for a special road trip to California (the 2020 edition was canceled due to COVID-19). The trip covers about 1,500 miles through mountains and

Lincoln Aviator Shinola Concept: First Look at Detroit Luxury

August 3, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 29

Lincoln Aviator Shinola Concept Today Lincoln revealed a new concept vehicle, the result of a collaboration between Ford’s long-running luxury nameplate and Detroit-based design brand Shinola, creating an Aviator concept SUV that reflects Shinola’s approachable luxury. Shinola is known for

2021 BMW 430i Convertible: Review

July 30, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 50

2021 BMW 430i Convertible The BMW 4 Series traces its lineage directly to the original 3 Series — the 320i that arrived in the U.S. in the late 1970s — fueling the popularity of the BMW brand in the U.S. market. Although BMW only offered the first-generation 3 Series as a coupe, the line went

2021 McLaren GT Review: The Civilized Supercar

July 29, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 84

What Is It? Supercar manufacturer McLaren offers an inspired range of high-performance sports cars, and the 2021 McLaren GT is no exception. That said, the GT goes beyond the British maker’s proven formula of creating lightweight, sexy speed demons and into the rarified realm of grand touring. In

Hot Rod Highlights: 2021 Pacific Northwest Nationals

July 28, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 54

Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals Excitement was in the air as more than 2,000 hot rods, classics, customs, muscle cars and trucks invaded the Washington State Fair Events Center July 23–25, 2019, for the Goodguys Griot’s Garage 33rd Pacific Northwest Nationals. Entries in this annual car

Airstream, Pottery Barn Create Unique Travel Trailer

July 27, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 61

Comfort and Style As the oldest RV manufacturer in America, Airstream has earned a solid reputation producing well-built, elegant travel trailers for hitting the high road to adventure without sacrificing the amenities of home. Today Airstream reveals a trailer created in partnership with Pottery

Amazing Truck Campers Turn Pickups Into Instant RVs

July 25, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 244

Amazing Truck Campers Pickup trucks have been the best-selling vehicles in America for about 40 years. At work or play, pickups function as motive multitools for everyday life: business vehicle, family car, stuff hauler — and a truck with a slide-in camper in its bed creates an instant RV. In

2021 Lincoln Nautilus: Review

July 24, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 89

What Is It? In step with parent-company Ford’s U.S. strategy to discontinue all four-door passenger cars, Lincoln has similarly revised its vehicle portfolio to be exclusively SUVs, and today Nautilus exists as one of the luxury brand’s most popular offerings. A five-passenger midsize

A Sports Car for Every Budget

July 19, 2021 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 590

Enjoying the Drive Sports cars are all about enjoying the drive — what they lack in occupancy, utility and fuel efficiency can be forgiven thanks to their fun factor. They also get folks from point A to point B, but sports cars inspire drivers to discover the most interesting route in between.