A dark grey 2022 Subaru Outback XT is shown parked outside a cabin in the woods.

A Definitive Guide to the 2022 Subaru Outback

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the term “innovation” is defined as “the introduction of something new.” Every so often, a vehicle comes along that challenges our preconceptions of normal and exists as something that represents “outside the box thinking” that, for lack of a better term, breaks the mold. In 1995, the Subaru Outback appeared to do just that. Applying all-wheel drive to the typical station wagon, Subaru proved that a vehicle that at the time was marketed towards family use could benefit from higher-end performance and even travel off-road. While much has changed within the automotive industry, the Outback is still in production, and the 2022 Subaru Outback remains as popular among drivers as the world’s first sport utility wagon.

The 2022 Subaru Outback comes in eight different trims that will help you narrow down which model has the features you really want most. With standard all-wheel drive across the board and only two engine options, the choice of the perfect model is going to come down to the features found within each trim. So which one will be perfect for you?

Subaru Outback (Base Trim)

As we stated earlier, the Subaru Outback is notable for being equipped with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, which is a signature feature of all the brand’s vehicles. Considering the popularity of the SUV in the current age, the Outback offers consumers many of the same positive attributes. With a starting MSRP of $27,145, the introductory trim level is close to the average cost of a compact SUV, and you certainly get quite a bit for what you pay. The base trim and the preceding three levels above it all come equipped with a 2.5L Boxer-4 engine. With 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, these four cylinders mean business.

Speaking of, another feature standard across all trim levels is a Lineartronic CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission). Designed to work in conjunction with the boxer engines that Subaru is known for, Subaru’s transmission matches itself to the Outback’s current level of acceleration, which works to preserve the vehicle’s forward momentum. The Base trim, and higher-level Premium, Touring, and Limited are all equipped with the same engine/transmission setup, which yields an average of 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. And much like many of the compact SUVs which dominate the road today, the Outback provides ample storage space for those who need it. An available 75.7 cubic feet of room means you’ll have an advantage over some of the competing SUVs, whose offerings don’t exceed 60 cubic feet.

Subaru XT Lineup (Onyx XT, Limited XT, Touring XT)

No one would ever expect a vehicle that has the frame of a station wagon to go fast. This notion is challenged by Subaru in the trim levels that bear the “XT” suffix. These members of the Outback trim level all have similar all-wheel drive and transmission offerings as other Outback trims, but there’s one distinction that separates them from the others. While the other trims have a 2.5L inline four-cylinder boxer, the XT versions come equipped with a turbocharged 2.4L boxer engine. The difference in specifications is noticeably different, with each model having the ability to generate 260 horsepower and an astonishing 277 lb-ft of torque. Another noticeable difference that accompanies the engine upgrade is an increased towing capacity. While the non-turbo is still very functional at towing with a maximum capacity of 2,700 lbs, the XT trims increase their ability up to 3,500 lbs.

Naturally, the XT is more than ideal for those who do a considerable amount of trailering, towing, or simply want to have an Outback that’s more performance-oriented. Of course, there is a slightly less efficient fuel economy that accompanies this upgrade compared to what the 2.5L models achieve. The XT has an estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. Naturally, making a choice between the Outback and XT lines all depends upon what your intentions are with your vehicle.

A blue 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is shown driving down a dirt trail.

Subaru Wilderness

While all models of the Subaru Outback can travel off the road and down the road less traveled whenever the situation might warrant it, the Wilderness trim level of the Outback is specifically formulated for adventures that stay off of the pavement. Already benefiting from Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, an elevated ground clearance of 9.5 inches makes many of the obstructions that hinder off-roading a complete non-issue.

Equipped with a 2.4L turbocharged boxer, the Wilderness benefits from its 260 horsepower and puts it to good use whenever it finds itself outdoors. The X-Mode option allows for lower-speed driving when approaching inclines and can also be helpful when descending steep areas. Coming equipped with 17-inch matte black-finish wheels, Yokohama GEOLANDAR all-terrain tires, and StarTex water-repellent upholstery, this SUV is more than ready to get down and dirty with the Jeep Wranglers and Ford Broncos on the trail. When it comes to getting down in the dirt, The Subaru Outback Wilderness is the very definition of top-of-the-line.

Audio and Visual Advantages

This guide isn’t limited to performance alone. We intend to go over some other features that consumers tend to look for when purchasing a vehicle. Among these are the audio and visual entertainment options. The Outback has a few choice options based on trim level. For the base trim line, the offerings are rather minimal and sparse. A 7-inch multimedia center compatible with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM pairs with 4-speakers for a pretty satisfactory infotainment experience.

A slightly larger 11.6-inch Subaru Starlink infotainment center comes with the Outback Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Wilderness, Limited XT, and Touring XT trims. The Premium, Onyx XT, and Wilderness also get a noticeable upgrade in the stereo system, which features six speakers instead of the standard four. If you’re one of those who enjoys holding on to the physical media items of your childhood, well, your best bet is to go with the Outback Touring or Touring XT, as they’re the only trim levels that come with a CD player; however, you can add it to the Limited XT. But that’s not all you get; both Touring and Limited editions come with the best system of them all, a Harman Kardon premium audio system with a 576-watt amplifier and 12 speakers for maximum entertainment.

The front seats and dash are shown in a 2022 Subaru Outback Limited.

Some Parting Thoughts on Choosing the Best Subaru Outback Trim

Choosing the ideal vehicle can be a difficult one. The 2022 Subaru Outback has many impressive features spread across all trim levels, so no matter which one you decide upon, you’ll benefit from having a great vehicle. Picking the right Subaru Outback isn’t an exact science, and much like a person’s favorite artwork, is completely a subjective matter, which is why Subaru offers so many trim options. From basic offerings that fall within a lower price range to trims with all of the upgrades you could want, Subaru has taken almost every driver preference and put it into a pre-packaged option.

Today, we’ve offered an in-depth look at the options that Subaru has made available to you. Whether you’re someone who lives for going off-road, favors performance, storage space, or a stereo system that can shake the earth, there’s an Outback specifically made just for you. And don’t forget, if there is a trim that appeals to you but is missing one or two items you really want, check to see if they can be added as available options, and you can quickly craft the perfect Outback model for you.