Subaru Outback Wilderness: For more than a quarter-century, the Subaru Outback has been transporting people into the great outdoors, and now there’s one to help you avoid all of them.
The most off-road competent variant of the popular waggon utility vehicle is the Outback Wilderness. Subaru claims it wasn’t built for 4×4 driving, but rather to transport its most adventurous customers to more isolated regions for other activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, and, I suppose, looking for Bigfoot.
It’s the first of what will most certainly become a sub-brand of slightly more radical Subaru vehicles, and its big matte black bumpers, wheel arch protection, and massive fender badges, which look like park service logos, make it instantly recognisable.
Subaru Outback Wilderness : Farther Outback has been Transporting
Its suspension has been modified, and longer coils have been used to assist raise ground clearance from 8.7 inches to 9.5 inches, which is more than some pickup trucks and true SUVs offer. It comes with a front skid plate, four tow hooks disguised behind copper covers, and knobby all-terrain tyres placed on 17-inch wheels, as well as a full-size spare affixed to the same rim design.
Lower gearing has been added to the all-wheel-drive system to deliver a little more grunt from the 260 horsepower 2.4-liter flat-four to the wheels via the Outback’s continuously variable transmission, and the X-Drive traction management system has been reprogrammed to make the most of it on a variety of surfaces.
A stronger roof rack with a 700-pound static weight rating can accommodate a rooftop tent, while water-resistant upholstery, an uncarpeted rear seatback, and rubber floor mats are geared at better handling messes. However, instead of the Outback’s innovative foldaway crossbars, it has fixed crossbars for added strength.
The Outback Wilderness seems a little more roly-poly on the road than the other models, but the EyeSight electronic safety system, which includes automatic braking, lane keeping aid, and adaptive cruise control, has been calibrated to account for the differences. Try doing it on a modified vehicle in your garage.
Even if you plan to undertake life-threatening actions once you get out of the vehicle, a couple of fast saws at the steering wheel is all it takes to engage the stability control system, demonstrating Subaru’s safety-first mindset.
If you stay in it when the road gets bad, you’ll discover that it’s a pretty capable vehicle. Eight tenths of an inch may not seem like much, but it can help you reach new levels in your favourite forest by improving approach, departure, and breakover angles.
It’s also not frightened to go for a swim. A stony creek deep enough to extend over the bottom of the doors and create bow waves that crested the hood was part of the ambitiously tough path Subaru set up for a test at the Monticello Motor Club. I made it out with dry shoes and the engine working, so there’s that.
Although the all-wheel-drive technology is commendable, it still slips more than a genuine 4×4 system on steep, slick slopes as it selects where to direct power. The hill-descent control locks the vehicle at crawl speed without the need to use the brakes on the way down, allowing you to take in the scenery through the optional front camera.
Due to the tyres and an aerodynamic profile hampered by the lift, fuel economy declines to 24 mpg combined, although the Wilderness retains the Outback’s 3,500 towing rating.
The Outback Wilderness’ beginning price of $38,840 places it among the more luxurious Limited and Touring variants, yet it outperforms them all.