Stepping up its adventure readiness with an all-new Wilderness model, the 2022 Subaru Outback builds on a long history of car-meets-SUV capabilities.
The most exciting news for the 2022 Subaru Outback is the addition of a Wilderness trim that beefs up the off-road creds of this car-that-started-it-all crossover. As the initial vehicle in what looks to be a Subaru sub-brand, the Wilderness model increases ground clearance, adds soft-road focused features, and gets a gussied-up interior plus exclusive paint. Across the Outback lineup, LED fog lights are now standard equipment and rear ventilation ducting is added on Premium trim and above. Pricewise, the base trim only increases by $150 over last year’s model.
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Wilderness encourages limit pushing
Turbo motor adds 80 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque
EyeSight suite of driver aids is standard
Nappa leather and ventilated seats are available
Could really use a sport-focused model
Continues to shine in an SUV world
Subaru is known for their 4-cylinder motors in boxer configuration and Symmetrical AWD, both of which are on tap with the 2022 Subaru Outback. The base 2.5-liter engine is naturally aspirated, producing 182 horsepower with 176 torques. An available turbocharged version displaces 2.4 liters and cranks out 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of twist. In either setup, a continuously variable transmission handles shifting duty.
The all-wheel drive system features active torque vectoring and an X-MODE button that alters transmission, AWD coupling force and other components to improve traction in exceptionally poor conditions. Onyx and Wilderness models add driver selectable Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings to this feature. Intended to allow for mild off-roading, all Outbacks have 8.7” of ground clearance except for the Wilderness with its 9.5” of space.
The base motor is unsurprisingly the most fuel-efficient option, achieving an EPA-estimated 33 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg around town. The benefit of 260 horses from the turbocharged motor comes with the detriment of 30 mpg highway and 23 mpg in the city. If you opt for the high riding Wilderness Outback, be ready for highway/city fuel economy of only 26/22, respectively.
Though base model 2022 Subaru Outbacks are fairly simple with regard to occupant comfort, from Premium trim on up, heated seats and dual-zone climate control are standard. Ventilated fronts and heated rears are available and the StarTex synthetic leather upholstery does a good job of imitating the real thing while premium Nappa surfaces can be had. Fold the back seats flat for a cavernous 76 cubic feet of cargo volume or opt for the Wilderness with its 700-pound static load capacity on the roof; you can literally sleep up there.
Subaru has effectively mounted a tablet in the dashboard with the 2022 Subaru Outback in Premium trim and above. With their StarLink multimedia systems, owners will find smartphone mirroring software, cloud-based apps, a host of USB ports, and connected services like enhanced roadside assistance. Though four speakers are the standard audio fare, a 12-speaker system from Harman Kardon is an option as is a 180-degree front-end camera view.
The lineup-standard, EyeSight safety system includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and lane departure warning. Optional are the driver distraction monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. StarLink bolsters vehicle safety with SOS emergency assistance and automatic collision notifications. Combined with the eight standard airbags and ring-shaped, reinforcement frame, the 2022 Outback earns a 5-star overall vehicle score from NHTSA.
Like all 2022 Subaru Outbacks, the base model is running Subaru’s famous Symmetrical AWD and boxer-4 powertrain. Sitting on 17” alloys with 8.7” of ground clearance, the exterior also features LED lighting front to back with steering responsive headlights. Roof rails with retractable crossbars can handle 150 pounds of gear using the integrated tie-down points.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Subaru’s StarLink connected services are run through a pair of stacked, 7” touchscreens with a button array sitting between them. The EyeSight list of active-safety aids is included along with automatic high beams. On the occupant comfort front, cloth seating and single-zone, automatic climate control are included.
Premium models gain the 11.6”, portrait-oriented infotainment display along with six audio speakers, Wi-Fi capability, and dual USB ports for the back seat. Climate controls jump to dual-zone, leather is draped on the steering wheel and shifter, while heated front seats are added. The safety and security component of StarLink is included here with services like automatic collision notification and SOS emergency assistance.
For its sub-$35,000 price, a Limited Outback is nicely outfitted with leather upholstery, power adjustability of driver and front passenger seats, heated rear outboard seating, and a hands-free, power liftgate. Harman Kardon helps in the audio department with a 12-speaker system while blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking bolsters the list of driver aids.
As top spec of the naturally aspirated motor lineup, Touring trim tacks on a moonroof, ventilated front seating, and a heated steering wheel. Java Brown Nappa leather adds an element of fancy and the StarLink system is upgraded with navigation and a CD player. DriverFocus monitors drowsy driving and a 180-degree front-view monitor lets drivers see what’s just in front of the bumper, at ground level.
Featuring a black color scheme, the Onyx Edition Outback is the cheapest way to get your hands on the 260-horse, turbocharged motor. Crystal Black Silica colored mirrors compliment gloss black-finished 18” wheels outside. Inside, the water-repellent, StarTex upholstery has a gray-black two tone look with contrasting lime-colored stitching. An optional $1845 package nets navigation, a moonroof, and reverse automatic braking tech.
The list of upgrades for Wilderness models could be a story in their own right, but the highlights are 9.5” of ground clearance, revised suspension, all-terrain tires, and advanced, dual-function X-MODE control for challenging conditions. Exclusive Geyser Blue paint pairs with anodized copper color accents inside and out. The roof rack will hold up to 700 pounds – when not moving – while the approach and departure angles are improved thanks to revised bumper geometry.
Limited XT models add the turbocharged power plant to the list of features from the standard Limited model. Additional amenities at XT level include a moonroof, heated steering wheel, and DriverFocus tech. That last item monitors the driver for signs of inattention. Available with black, gray, or ivory leather seating – depending on exterior color – the Limited XT also has keyless access with push button start.
Sitting atop the 2022 Subaru Outback trim ladder, Touring XT models crack 40 grand and offer no packages because they’re loaded to the gills. All the features from the standard Touring trim are here, but the XT badge denotes the bigger mill under the hood.
Subaru’s warranty for the 2022 subaru Outback is good for 3 years or 36,000 miles on the vehicle and 5 years or 60,000 miles on powertrain components. Any rust perforations are covered for up to 5 years with unlimited mileage and the Wear Item coverage lasts 3 years/36,000 miles. This covers replacement of items like transmitter batteries, clutch linings, and wiper blades.
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I love the way Subaru blends a carlike driving experience with the light off-roading capability touted by SUVs in the 2022 Subaru Outback. It holds a ton of your stuff inside, is ready for loading up the roof outside, and the new Wilderness model backs up its adventure-ready, rugged looks with actual rough road abilities.