HOLLY, Mich. — Subaru has built an enviable reputation among competitors and a near cultlike following among its loyalists for the prowess of its all-wheel-drive systems and their ability to get out into the wild.
But there have always been some unbeaten paths which Subaru has traditionally left to others. With the new 2022 Outback Wilderness, the Japanese brand looks to close that gap and claim at least a little bigger share of the rugged outdoors for itself and its customers.
With an added inch of ground clearance, underbody protection, a modified suspension, robust all-terrain tires, and improved approach, departure and break-over angles, the Outback Wilderness is properly outfitted to traverse all but the most extreme terrain.
It is intended as a "halo vehicle for all of our SUVs," explained Nikkie Riedel, carline planning manager for Outback with Subaru of America.
Subaru engineers sought a balance in the vehicle's design that extended the off-road capabilities of the Outback but stopped short of branching into the territory of purpose-built rock crawlers such as the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Riedel said.
The 2022 Outback Wilderness, equipped with an advanced version of the brand's X-Mode terrain switch and an electronically controlled crawl ratio of 4.44:1, was able to easily and safely climb and descend the steep, sandy embankments of a course laid out at the Holly Oaks ORV Park in suburban Detroit last week.
Equipped standard with a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine and continuously variable transmission, the 2022 Outback Wilderness rides on 17-inch wheels with Yokohama Geolandar tires. Its enhanced X-Mode will "switch automatically from low-speed managed driving to speeds over 25 mph without interruption of power or performance," the brand said.