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Subaru Outback Wilderness 2022: rugged wagon detailed, Australia still in doubt

John Law

Subaru of America has developed the Outback into a more rough-and-tumble wagon than ever before with the new Wilderness grade.

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness will remain U.S. only for now, but it does have some features that would suit Australia’s demanding conditions to a tee.

As for the Wilderness moniker, it’s rumoured to be the beginnings of a sub-brand that will work over Subaru’s other SUVs including potentially the Forester and the XV in the not-too-distant future.

Subaru Outback Wilderness 2022-7
Subaru has given the Outback wagon an off-road kit bump with the new Wilderness model.

Back to the Outback Wilderness – this is not just a set of wheels and a sticker pack. Subaru America’s changes run deep enough to give the Outback some real off-road cred.

Naturally, though, the exterior has received attention. There is a new hexagonal grille, more aggressive cladding around the wheel arches, new bumpers, a front bash plate, a black bonnet decal and a unique set of LED foglights.

Like Jeep’s Trailhawk series, the Outback is adorned with plenty of Wilderness badges as well as anodised tow hooks and anchor points. The Outback Wilderness wears a unique Geyser Blue paint colour. 

Subaru Outback Wilderness 2022
There are anodised tow hooks and anchor points which set off the Geyser Blue hue.

The Wilderness exterior treatment is backed up by an impressive ground clearance figure of 241mm. That bests the venerable Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series (226mm) and is an extra 25mm over the standard Outback.

The Wilderness’ approach, break-over, and departure angles have all improved too; they are now 20, 21.2 and 23.6 degrees respectively, and represent an improvement of about 2 degrees over the standard car.

Subaru achieved the extra height by lengthening the springs and dampers for a true suspension lift. The Outback Wilderness’ suspension has been re-tuned to suit the changes with an increased off-road focus without sacrificing too much of the Outback’s impressive road-holding.

Subaru Outback Wilderness 2022-9
The most important thing for off-road ability are wheels and tyres, with Subaru choosing Yokohama rubber for the Outback Wilderness.

Subaru has also wrapped a set of Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tyres around new 17-inch matte black alloy wheels for the Wilderness. In Australia, the Outback is outfitted with 18-inch alloys and Bridgestone tyres standard.

The Outback Wilderness has changes not visible to the naked eye, including a lower ratio rear differential, now 4.44:1 instead of 3.90:1. This was done to match the front differential and provide more even torque delivery.

It is claimed the Outback Wilderness will be able to climb a 40 per cent gradient gravel track with no issue.

Subaru Outback Wilderness 2022-6
The Outback Wilderness is said to be able to climb a 40 per cent gradient gravel road – cool!

As in the standard Outback, Subaru has equipped the X-Mode drive system with dirt/sand and snow/mud settings. The Wilderness picks up a low-speed ‘crawl’ setting that engages automatically below 40km/h.

The Wilderness also gets a full-sized spare tyre stowed underneath the car, so when the boot is loaded with camping gear getting a flat is no big deal.

Extra bracing has been added to the roof racks increasing their capacity to 320kg, plenty to use in conjunction with a roof-top tent.

Subaru Outback Wilderness 2022-3
The roof racks have been strengthened in line with the use of a roof-top tent.

As for whether the Outback Wilderness will be coming to Australia, Subaru Australia corporate affairs manager David Rowley said: “(the Wilderness) is a product made in the U.S. for the U.S., but we would be interested in giving it a considered look.”

Of course, that means the Outback Wilderness uses the engine that Australians have been begging for: the 2.4-litre turbocharged boxer ‘four. Outputs are 194kW of power and 377Nm of torque, a significant jump on the Aussie spec car’s 2.5-litre NA motor with 138kW/245Nm.

The Outback Wilderness has almost the same specification as the Australian base model, priced at $39,990 ($44,782 driveaway). That means the standard inclusion of an 11.6-inch touchscreen and LED lighting.

Subaru Outback Wilderness 2022-8
Inside the Wilderness is largely based on the specification of the base model Outback in Australia.

While navigation will be optional on the U.S. Wilderness, it does net a power tailgate which is fitted standard to the mid-spec Outback Sport in Australia that lists for $44,490 ($49,547 driveaway). 

The Outback Wilderness has not been confirmed for the Australian market. Pricing for the United States will be announced later in 2021.