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Upgrades include a more powerful engine, more ground clearance, suspension enhancements, and even special interior trim.

PMG PHOTO: JESS ZURSCHMEIDE - The new 'Wilderness' edition is the most off-road capable Subaru Outback ever, and it looks the part.Portland-area Subaru dealers have been upgrading the popular Outback SUV for years with larger tires, ride height changes, and skid plates. Now Subaru of America has introduced a new trim level for the Outback. According to the automaker, the 2022 Outback Wilderness will be the most rugged and capable Outback in the auto manufacturer's history.

In addition to Subaru's standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, the new Outback Wilderness comes with the more powerful 2.4-liter turbocharged engine, an upgraded dual function X-MODE for off-road traction, elevated 9.5-inch ground clearance, a standard front skid plate, all-terrain tires, and upgraded suspension. The Outback Wilderness also features Subaru's award-winning EyeSight driver assistance system, and a large tablet-style 11.6-inch infotainment screen.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Enchancements include greater ground clearance, an upgraded suspension, skid plates, new bumpers and more.

Performance and off-road capability

The Outback Wilderness comes equipped with Subaru's 2.4-liter turbocharged engine, rated 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The Outback Wilderness returns an EPA-rated 22 MPG city/26 MPG highway and has a 3,500-lb. towing capacity.

The Outback Wilderness uses a Continuously Variable Transmission featuring an 8-speed manual mode function with steering wheel paddle shifters. This model also features a new final drive ratio, of 4.44:1, raised up from 4.11:1. This combination improves available low-end torque at the wheels, resulting in a superior ability to climb grades up to 40 percent on a gravel surface. The addition of a pressure sensor improves control accuracy at low speeds.

The standard dual-function X-MODE includes Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes. Exclusive to Outback Wilderness, a new advanced feature for X-MODE allows the vehicle to switch automatically from low speed managed driving to speeds over 25 mph without interruption of power or performance. Crucially for off-road use, the Outback Wilderness also comes with a full-size spare tire, eliminating a source of worry when adventuring.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 'Wilderness' edition of the 2021 Subaru Outback includes special interior trim and a large dispaly screen.

The 2022 Outback Wilderness offers 9.5 inches of ground clearance, almost one inch higher than the standard Outback. The suspension has been tuned for improved stability on rough terrain while retaining ride comfort and handling performance on paved roads. The front and rear shock absorbers and springs were increased in length to provide more ground clearance and suspension travel.

Perhaps most importantly with respect to aftermarket modifications, these factory-produced upgrades are integrated with the EyeSight system to maintain that system's safety and driver assistance features as designed.

When going off-road, the increased ground clearance, along with redesigned front and rear bumpers, contribute to the Outback's ability to navigate rough or uneven terrain. Approach angles on the SUV have been extended from 18.6 degrees to 20.0, ramp breakover angle shifts from 19.4 degrees to 21.2 degrees, and the departure angle soars from 21.7 degrees to an impressive 23.6 degrees.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The standard 2.4-liter turbocharged engine is rated  260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque but still returns an EPA-rated 22 MPG city/26 MPG highway and has a 3,500-lb. towing capacity.

A new look for the Wilderness

To set the model apart visually, the Outback Wilderness comes with new front and rear bumpers and grille, larger wheel arch cladding, unique hex-designed LED fog lights and a rally-inspired anti-glare hood decal in matte-black finish. Window trim and exterior badges have a black finish and new Subaru Wilderness badges are emblazoned on the front fenders and rear gate.

Off-road exterior features such as tow hook anchor points and roof rail tie-down points are presented in an anodized copper finish. The Outback Wilderness also utilizes a utilitarian fixed ladder-type roof rack system, with a static load limit of 700 pounds. This allows owners to safely use a roof-top tent on the trail. The new Outback trim also receives a beautiful and exclusive Geyser Blue paint scheme.

On the inside, the Outback Wilderness features a comfortable and durable interior perfect for the road or on the trail. The seats are wrapped in Subaru StarTex water-repellant fabric that includes the Subaru Wilderness logo embossed in the headrests. Copper-colored contrast stitching is used throughout the interior, complementing the Anodized Copper-finish accents on the steering wheel, shifter assembly, and meter rings. In the cargo area, the rear seatback is wrapped in a waterproof material, and a waterproof rear cargo tray protects the load floor.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - To set the model apart visually, the Outback Wilderness comes with new front and rear bumpers and grille, larger wheel arch cladding, unique hex-designed LED fog lights and a rally-inspired anti-glare hood decal in matte-black finish.

Expanded accessory catalog

In addition to the wide variety of roof-racking and other accessory parts currently available to Subaru owners, new accessories have been added for the Outback Wilderness. These include aluminum or steel skid plates for the engine, transmission, and fuel tank. A rear differential protector is also available.

The 2022 Outback Wilderness will be available later this year. Subaru has not yet announced pricing.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - In the cargo area, the rear seatback is wrapped in a waterproof material, and a waterproof rear cargo tray protects the load floor.


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