A close up of the hood of a blue 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is shown after leaving a Subaru dealer near you.

An SUV in the Wilderness

A few years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Best Actor Oscar, starring as a man stranded in the wilderness in The Revenant. This brilliant performance showed what it took to survive the harsh environment of the New World over 200 years ago. In the spirit of that movie, Subaru has come out with a new trim level on two of its top-selling SUVs, the Outback and the Forester. Called the Wilderness, this new version of the classic Subaru is rolling into a Subaru dealer near you for 2022, designed to take the company’s already hard-earned reputation for rugged, safe, and reliable vehicles and push it to the next level.

Subaru has done an amazing job of showing its dedication to giving drivers the best experience they can have in an affordable SUV with the Forester and Outback. These two models come with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Subaru’s famed drivetrain that gives uncompromising and unequaled traction, especially during highway driving in inclement weather. The key is that Subaru designed each of these vehicles from the wheels up to be an all-wheel drive model. This was not a case of taking a front-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicle and retrofitting it with an all-wheel drivetrain. No, the Subaru Outback and Forester are purpose-built to deliver exceptional all-wheel drive performance. With the Wilderness trim, Subaru has taken this know-how and moved it off-road, giving drivers the ability to take their Subaru Outback or Forester out into the wilderness.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Like No Other

Everyone knows you can always make a good thing better. But can you improve on something that is almost perfect? Just like other Subaru Forester and Outback models, the Wilderness features the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. However, a slight change has been made to make things even better.

Subaru has made a name for itself by equipping most of its models with X-MODE, which allows you to provide added traction in inclement weather. The Wilderness model provides an enhanced version of the dual-function X-MODE, upgrading it with specialized settings for deep snow, sand, and mud. The key is that the system provides additional wheel slip so you can power through the toughest conditions you are going to encounter in the wilderness.

The drivetrain has also been re-tuned on the Wilderness. This revises the front and rear gear ratios for improved low-speed climbing, giving you more torque and horsepower at lower RPMs. As a result, the Wilderness model can handle up to a 40% incline grade.

A blue 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness is shown on a woodsy trail.

Need a Lift?

The Subaru Forester and Outback give drivers the peace of mind that comes with sufficient ground clearance. Unlike other SUVs and crossovers that ride too close to the pavement, these Subaru models provide additional space, preventing you from bottoming out in potholes or clipping a key part of the undercarriage on a bump or manhole cover. Both of these have an impressive 8.7-inches of ground clearance, setting them apart from other models in their vehicle class that seem like little more than glorified mini-vans.

Once again, Subaru takes a great thing and makes it better. The Outback Wilderness model lifts the undercarriage to an amazing 9.5-inches of ground clearance, while the Forester Wilderness rides 9.2-inches off the ground. This is ideal for off-road performance. By lifting the chassis, Subaru has improved the approach and departure angles on the Wilderness models of the Forester and Outback. This will allow you to better traverse obstacles. It will also allow you to spot larger obstacles as you approach them out on the trail.

A Rugged Exterior for the Tough Outdoors

The engineers at Subaru know that giving an SUV a lift and an improved all-wheel drivetrain is not enough; you want your drivers to be able to take on the toughest off-road trails. This is why they have given the Forester and Outback Wilderness models a rugged exterior that doesn’t just look good but also provides you with features you need when you are in the most challenging terrain.

It starts with a set of 17-inch matte-black alloy off-road wheels. These are wrapped with a set of Yokohama GEOLANDAR A/T all-terrain tires. A full-size spare is included, so you will be covered in case you get a flat out in the wilderness. Don’t worry. Subaru won’t leave you stranded there like Leonardo DiCaprio’s fellow explorers.

One unfortunate issue many drivers encounter when they take on a trail without the right vehicle is doing damage to the undercarriage. It doesn’t take much to punch a hole in a fuel pan. If this happens, you will get stranded like DiCaprio. To prevent this from happening, the Subaru Wilderness sports a strong front skid plate. This shields the undercarriage of your Forester or Outback Wilderness, so you can take on obstacles without worrying that they will do to you what that grizzly bear did to poor Leonardo.

Subaru has also redesigned the front and rear bumpers on the Wilderness models, giving you greater strength and better visibility over the Outback and Forester’s front and rear. A trim exclusive anti-glare hood finish in matte-black will reduce glare on particularly sunny days. Finally, the Wilderness trim has a set of standard roof rails with a sporty Anodized Copper finish that can hold more weight than standard roof rails on the Outback and Forester. You can even use them to support a rooftop tent if you decide to stay over in the wilderness in your Wilderness.

Taking the Wilderness Inside

A vehicle built for the outdoors needs to have a rugged interior that is still comfortable for passengers. Most vehicles sport fabrics and materials that are just not going to cut it if you and your friends come in off a wet or muddy trail. This is why the Wilderness has seats upholstered with sturdy and durable StarTex material. This fabric is water-repellent, so you don’t have to worry about getting stains when you’re out in your Forester or Outback Wilderness for a weekend of fishing and camping. Meanwhile, the textured honeycomb design of the fabric is comfortable and ventilated, a great feature on a hot summer afternoon or a cold winter morning. The front seats are embossed with the Subaru Wilderness logo featuring a scenic mountainscape.

The Wilderness models provide exceptional cargo space in their trunks. Open the liftgate on the Outback Wilderness, and you’ll find 32.6 cubic feet of space, while the smaller Forester Wilderness still has a spacious 26.9 cubic feet for your camping gear. The bottom of the trunk has a sturdy rubber mat that extends to the rear seatbacks. If you need more space for your things, simply fold the seats down, with the rubber material protecting the rear seat fabric from damage.

A blue 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is shown from the rear driving on a dirt trail.

Powering You Into the Wilderness

Subaru has given you the kind of powertrain you need in the Wilderness model. The Outback Wilderness features the 2.4-liter Turbo Boxer-4 engine with a specialized Lineartronic CVT transmission. This will give you 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, allowing you to tow up to 3,500 pounds. This is perfect for a camper or boat. The Forester Wilderness comes equipped with a 2.5-liter Boxer-4 gas engine also with a specially tuned Lineartronic CVT transmission. This engine delivers 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, allowing you to tow up to 3,000 pounds. This is double the towing capacity of the other models of the Subaru Forester.

You Won’t Get Stranded in the Wilderness

The Subaru Wilderness gives you unmatched off-road performance. Whether you get a Forester Wilderness or a larger Outback Wilderness, you will find that heading out into the wilderness was never safer or more fun than you’ve ever known before. I bet Leonardo DiCaprio could have used a Wilderness after he ran into the grizzly bear. But then, if he had a Subaru Wilderness, he’d have escaped too easily from the wilderness in The Revenant, and he might not have run away with the Oscar.