Subaru Outback Wilderness

The new Subaru Outback comes with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine that produces 260 horsepower.

Subarus are great all-weather vehicles. Most of their product range is all-wheel drive. Increasingly, though, Subaru owners, who are among the more outdoorsy drivers, have been asking for a bit better off-road capability.

For 2022, Subaru delivers with the Outback Wilderness.

If love is what makes a Subaru a Subaru, a chunk of what makes an Outback an Outback Wilderness is better ground clearance, approach, departure and ramp breakover angles; a front skid plate; an upgraded suspension; a fixed ladder-type roof rack with a static load limit of 700 pounds; and Yokohama GEOLANDAR all-terrain tires.

Under the hood, it’s Subaru’s 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine, making 260 horsepower and 277 pounds per foot of torque. The transmission is a high-torque Lineartronic CVT with eight-speed manual mode. And the all-wheel drive is aided by an advanced dual-function X-Mode unit. The Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimate is 22 mpg city, 26 mpg highway.

Ground clearance is 8/10ths of an inch more than a standard Outback. The approach angle climbs by 1.4 degrees, the departure angle by 1.9 degrees and the ramp breakover angle by 1.8 degrees.

Part of the Outback Wilderness package is a unique interior color and trim scheme and StarTex water-repellent upholstery.

The base price is $36,995. Among the standard equipment highlights at that price are automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, sound-insulated windshield and huge screen for infotainment and HVAC.

And – that’s it. The Wilderness is an all-in-one package. So, with $1,125 destination and delivery, the as-tested price is $38,120.

Circumstances prevented me from taking the Outback Wilderness up into the Sierra and off paved roads, but there’s absolutely nothing to prove. The Outback has been a capable soft-and-off-roader for many years.

The new Outback Wilderness just improves its capability and user-friendliness in a way that is bound to encourage even more owners to see what’s over the next ridge.