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Sunday Drive: 2022 Subaru Outback gets even more rugged with Wilderness Edition

By Craig and Deanne Conover - | Sep 11, 2021

Exterior of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

Seems like every time we get to drive a new Subaru, it takes us back to when we met and got engaged, as we both owned a new Subaru at the time. For each of us, these Subarus were the first brand-new vehicles we had ever owned at that point in our lives.

When we met, Deanne had just purchased a DL Hatchback and Craig had a GL sedan, both from the model year 1984. After we were married and both working at the Springville Herald, we decided to condense to one vehicle and ended up purchasing the then-futuristic Subaru XT. Oh, those were the days when a two-door sports coupe was a great addition to our small family. OK, maybe it is time for a sports coupe again as our family size has dwindled with the kids leaving.

Recently, enjoying a week in the new Subaru Outback not only brought back old memories but also helped us make new ones. The Wilderness edition is made to take it into the “outback” of the Rocky Mountains, for sure!

We loved the new engine. Getting the turbocharger back was huge; we liked it even better than a previous model’s 3.6-liter engine that we experienced a few years back. More importantly, this time we received a very nice 29 mpg combined, way up from the 23.7 mpg we got last year in the Outback.

Good news for those Subaru enthusiasts out there: The Outback still has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and with the Wilderness version gets to an incredible 9.5 inches clearance, making it a very capable vehicle going off-road. We also found the Outback to be a very enthusiastic everyday driver around the neighborhood.

Exterior of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

The Outback is designed to be a great family vehicle and, most importantly, it is designed for the active family on the go. For those who want to explore the outdoors and get there in comfort and safety with enough room for all the extra stuff involved with their many activities, the Outback really fits the bill. Subaru has become a lifestyle vehicle and generally has an answer for everyone within their lineup. The Outback has become the active family SUV.

The 2022 Wilderness Outback features some exterior updates that are sure to please any outdoor enthusiast. Added are an exclusive grill, badges and two tow points both front and back along with some awesome anodized copper finishes.

It has grown wider at the fenders with additional front and side cladding to continue giving the Outback a more rugged look. In fact, the way it has been designed has the sides resembling a hiking boot, and we were able to see that look and feel come out during our week with the SUV.

Enhancements to the Lineatronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) were great as the engineers have managed to make it quieter with a short-pitch chain and make adjustments to the engine timing under hard acceleration. We felt this was one of the strongest CVTs that we have driven as of late, as it took us a couple of hours the first day to notice that it was a CVT and not a standard transmission.

What had to be our favorite addition to the Outback this year is the new infotainment screen, which has grown significantly to a whopping 11.6 inches in full HD quality! The screen can be individualized for the driver as apps can be moved around like an iPad.

Exterior of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

The Outback comes complete with the new Chimani app, which provides a comprehensive guide to more than 400 national parks in the U.S., including history and highlights written by local travel experts. What a great testament to Subaru’s commitment to get folks out and enjoying the out of doors!

The Outback, of course, comes with the Eyesight system from the engineers at Subaru. This adds an extra pair of eyes and even an extra foot on the brake if needed. Actually, there are two sensors located on each side of the rearview mirror at the top of the windshield that continually scan the road ahead and the area to the sides of the vehicle.

This makes it possible for the Outback to alert the driver if the vehicle starts to wander outside of the lane, and it will also nudge the vehicle back into the lane with Subaru’s version of lane keep assist. We found that the system performed very well even in the dark of night on the concrete freeway where the lines are sometimes hard to see. It will also alert the driver if he or she seems to be weaving back and forth in the lane, something that might happen with drowsy driving.

It also comes with adaptive cruise control that will keep the Outback at a certain distance behind the next vehicle in the lane, even bringing the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary. The engineers have even taken this technology one step further by providing an audible beep when the car ahead clears, allowing the Outback to return to the set speed.

This system will hit the brakes if it thinks that the Outback is in immediate danger of a front collision, and it will also reduce throttle control and apply brakes if the danger is not as imminent at it may appear, thus either avoiding or greatly diminishing a front-end collision. As a Subaru equipped with the Eyesight system, the Outback gets the highest rating possible from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety when it comes to front-end collisions.

Interior of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

Add rear cross path detection and blind spot monitoring to all these great safety features and the Outback becomes a very safe ride indeed, which is, as they say, what makes a Subaru a Subaru!

Base price: $36,995

Destination: $1,125

Price as driven: $39,965

Interior of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

Exterior of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

Exterior of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.

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