The look positively works.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

When you’re a Subaru fan of a sure age, you will keep in mind when the Outback was the Legacy wagon’s barely ruggeder, taller taste. Now, nearly 20 years later, you’ll be able to’t even purchase a Legacy wagon within the US: The Outback pulled half an Oedipus and killed its father with its personal reputation. And so it is time to welcome an excellent taller car to stake its declare because the king of Subaru wagons. It is referred to as the Subaru Outback Wilderness and, although it might look a bit awkward perched 0.8 inches taller than its brethren, it has the rugged appears, strikes and options to make it an actual candidate — even in case you by no means cross a path extra rugged than one to the outlets.


Improved off-road capabilityUnaffected on-road mannersGreat worth

Do not Like

Barely lowered gasoline economyA lot of copper

So what’s new? The massive story is that elevate. The Wilderness Outback presents a wholesome 9.5 inches of floor journey. When you want context, as my colleague Steven Ewing identified in his Wilderness first drive, that matches the clearance supplied by the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Few would query that factor’s stance.

Thoughts you, efficiency after the asphalt ends has as a lot to do with drivetrain, and the Wilderness makes do with largely the identical setup because the common Outback. That’s, open entrance and rear differentials pushed from a constantly variable transmission and a clutch-type middle differential. Nonetheless, a shift to a 4.44:1 ultimate drive ratio in comparison with the 4.11:1 in the usual Outback means extra torque for low-speed rock crawling. Sadly, it additionally means gasoline economic system discount: 22 mpg metropolis, 26 mpg freeway and 24 mpg mixed in comparison with 23, 30 and 26, respectively. In my testing these figures proved correct, with a 24.2 mpg common in blended driving.

I anticipated an excellent greater impression on the driving dynamics. Given the ruggedized vibe utilized to the outside and that prolonged stance, I figured the Outback Wilderness can be both overly stiff or so roly-poly that it’d scrape its side-view mirrors on the asphalt in each nook. I used to be pleasantly stunned to be flawed.

The Outback Wilderness rides like an much more plush Outback, absorbing potholes, frost heaves, railroad crossings and all the pieces else I threw at it. Regardless of that, it maintains the comparatively sharp turn-in and responsive really feel of a Legacy. It is solely in longer corners taken at pace that the upper roll-center begins to issue into the equation, however even then it is a minor consideration. Put merely, the Wilderness drives rather well each on-road and off.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The Outback Wilderness rides like an much more plush Outback, absorbing potholes, frost heaves, railroad crossings and all the pieces else I threw at it.

Augmenting the Wilderness’ off-road talents are a slender skidplate and a retuned X-Mode system. That is Subaru’s moniker for its terrain-focused stability and drive mode system, which for the Wilderness stays enabled at speeds better than 25 mph.

The opposite massive change is discovered on the within, with the inside trimmed in StarTex cloth. This water-repellant materials has an nearly neoprene-like really feel to it and a fab waffle texture that not solely appears purposeful however feels genuinely sturdy. I did not get the inside of the automotive you see right here correctly filthy (this was only a loaner, in any case), however it positively appeared greater than as much as the duty of the everyday Subaru life-style, muddy Labrador claws and all.

What’s not such a spotlight? Nicely, Subaru’s infotainment system, to start out. Starlink appears extra dated by the minute, maybe much more so on the enormous, 11.6-inch touchscreen. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, nevertheless, mitigate that to a big diploma. Embedded navigation is a part of the Wilderness’ lone choice bundle, a considerably scattershot collection of options that for $1,845 additionally nets you an influence moonroof and rear computerized emergency braking.

The water-repellant StarTex upholstery feels good and will resist something you throw at it.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Subaru’s lively security suite, then again, comes normal. EyeSight has been recalibrated to cope with the Wilderness’ capabilities and nonetheless options adaptive cruise management, lane-keep help with centering, computerized emergency braking and the same old goodies. It really works effectively however beeps incessantly — each time it spots or loses sight of a automotive forward of you, each time the lane-centering system engages or disengages — on a regular basis. It is useful however annoying.

And what about that look? The Wilderness actually stands out subsequent to its Outback predecessor, however the visible modifications lengthen past the elevate. The additional physique cladding fits the aggro look that is additionally introduced by a set of easy however compelling six-spoke wheels wrapped in chunky Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires. The crystal white pearl colour of my check car is nice for displaying off the mud and works effectively with all that black plastic, however I am a giant fan of the hero geyser blue colour too.

What I am not such a fan of are the anodized copper accents, if solely as a result of it is a very mustardy shade of copper and the issues are all over. Highlighting tow factors and tie downs? That I can dig. However the steering wheel, shifter and random tags on the door playing cards are a bit an excessive amount of for me.

Go on. Get on the market. 

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Regardless, the inside is snug and roomy, entrance or again, with 32.5 cubic toes of cargo house behind the rear seats and 75.7 cubic toes in case you fold these seats down. That is almost 50% extra cargo house than the longer, extra luxurious Volvo V90 Cross Nation.

That Volvo can be way more costly at $55,995 after a $1,095 vacation spot payment. The Outback Wilderness you see pictured right here, with the $1,845 moonroof bundle, got here out to $39,965 after a $1,125 vacation spot payment. That is far cheaper than even the smaller Volvo V60 Cross Nation, which begins at $46,545. Given the dearth of wagons within the US market proper now it is exhausting to know the place else to check, however a equally optioned Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk comes out at $43,305 after $1,495 vacation spot. The Jeep will do much better off-road, certain, however the Subaru guarantees a much more nice journey to the trailhead.

So aside from the gasoline economic system hit and the $1,850 upcharge over an Outback Onyx Version XT, you are not sacrificing a lot do you have to tick that Wilderness field when ordering your self a Subaru. The lifted suspension and different tweaks make for a extra succesful machine, whereas the ruggedized beauty encourage journey with each look, even when right this moment’s quest is just the commute dwelling.


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