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The additional off-road features improve day-to-day driving in the real world.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The off-road upgrades on the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness edition also makes it better to drive on the typical bad roads in the Pacific Northwest.The Subaru Outback is so popular that it's almost the official vehicle of the Pacific Northwest. There are good reasons why people have chosen the Outback for over 20 years, including its easy utility, carrying capacity, go-anywhere all-wheel-drive, and its overall value.

Earlier this year, Subaru launched a new edition called the Outback Wilderness, featuring increased ride height and upgraded suspension, underbody protection, all-terrain wheels and Yokohama Geolandar tires, plus an upgraded roof rack that can carry a roof-mounted tent camping system. Additionally, the Outback Wilderness offers an advanced version of Subaru's X-Mode driver assistance that upgrades the off-road driving capability of the vehicle. The Outback Wilderness will tow up to 3,500 pounds, so you can use it to pull a boat or utility trailer.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness edition increases ground clearance from 8.7 to 9.5 inches for better off-road driving.

The Outback Wilderness also comes with a forward-facing 180-degree camera to help you find your way around road hazards without getting out of the car, and a full-size spare tire so you can really keep going in the event of a flat. Finally, the Wilderness edition comes with extra body cladding for paint protection when you're in the woods.

That's all on top of the 2.4-liter turbocharged drivetrain and a high-trim interior, with features like StarTex water-resistant upholstery, and an available 11.6-inch multimedia touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation and an entertaining off-road inclinometer display that shows the angle of the hill you're climbing or descending.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness offers an available 11.6-inch multimedia touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation and an entertaining off-road inclinometer display that shows the angle of the hill you're climbing or descending.

With all that stuff, you might think the Outback Wilderness is exclusively for those who spend a lot of time on gravel roads heading for the great outdoors, but after spending a week with the Wilderness, we're convinced this is also a great vehicle for everyday use. The tough features work well on rough Northwest roads and the extra capacity means the Outback Wilderness can take the place of a light truck for many people.

One feature to mention is the increased ride height. The Outback Wilderness increases ground clearance from 8.7 to 9.5 inches, and the driver and passenger doors are the same amount higher. That means you can enter and exit the Outback Wilderness a little bit easier. It may not sound like much of a difference, but give it a try.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness features a high-trim interior, with StarTex water-resistant upholstery on its supportive front bucket seats.

On our local roads, the Wilderness offers a nice high-up seating position and a comfortable ride. Our weekly commute takes us over the extremely wavy and rough asphalt on Highway 6 to the coast, and the Outback Wilderness just soaks up the bumps while delivering sure and certain handling and plenty of power. As the fall rains have started, the decision to give the Wilderness a winter-proof interior seems exceptionally smart. With heated front seats, this is a car we could easily drive from now until next Memorial Day.

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is available at area Subaru dealers right now. If you've been thinking of a new vehicle to tackle the oncoming winter, don't let the off-road orientation of the Wilderness fool you. This is a car you can enjoy in any environment.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Cargo space is so large in the 2022 Subaru Outback that can do much of the work of a small pickup truck.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

Base price: $36,995

Price as tested: $38,120

Type: Midsize crossover

Engine: 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (260 hp, 277 lbs-ft)

Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission

EPA estimated mileage: 22/26

Overall length: 191.3 inches

Curb weight: 3,896 pounds

Final assembly: Lafayette, Indiana

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine pumps out a healthy  260 horsepower and 277 foot-pounds of torque.


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