The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness has been unveiled in the US, with an Australian launch yet to be confirmed – though the rugged model remains the local arm's wishlist.
The first model under Subaru's new Wilderness sub-brand – also expected to spawn Forester and XV Wilderness in the coming years – the Outback Wilderness aims to inject a dose of off-road capability into the brand's high-riding wagon.
Headlining the upgrades is a reworked suspension package, offering 241mm of ground clearance – up 20mm over a standard US-market Outback, and up 28mm over an Australian model – plus larger springs and shock absorbers, and unique tuning for "improved stability on rough terrain".
Unique bumpers front and rear combine with the ride height increase for a 20-degree approach angle (up 1.4 degrees), 21.2-degree breakover angle (up 1.8 degrees) and 23.6-degree departure angle (up 1.9 degrees).
A set of 17-inch matte black alloy wheels fill the arches, wrapped in Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tyres with embossed white letters and a full-size spare wheel under the boot floor.
Under the skin, changes include a revised rear differential with a 4.44:1 final drive, a retuned CVT automatic with eight stepped 'ratios', a pressure sensors to "[improve] control accuracy at low speeds", and an "advanced" function for the X-Mode off-road drive mode system.
On the outside, chunkier front and rear bumpers house off-road skid plates and hexagonal LED front fog lights, while other highlights include an anti-glare black bonnet decal, wider wheel-arch cladding, black trim and badges, and an Anodised Copper finish adorning the "useful contact points" including the front tow-hook anchors and roof rail tie-down points.
The aforementioned ladder-type roof rack can support up to 318kg – enough for a roof-mounted tent and a variety of other adventure-focused accessories.
There's also a new Geyser Blue exterior colour, said to be "inspired by [both] Subaru’s rally heritage and the scenery only found in the US National Parks."
Inside, StarTex water-repellent material is wrapped around the seats, with copper contrast stitching and Subaru Wilderness logos embossed into the front headrests.
The steering wheel, gear selector and central auxiliary dials are finished in the aforementioned Anodised Copper colour, while a darker headliner, Gunmetal Grey trim, brushed aluminium pedals, Wilderness-branded all-weather floor mats and a waterproof second-row seatback all feature.
Standard comfort and technology features inside and out include an 11.6-inch infotainment touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and Wilderness-specific displays, a full EyeSight driver assistance suite, a front camera, an LED light in the tailgate, and a hands-free power tailgate.
Powering the Subaru Outback Wilderness is a 2.4-litre horizontally-opposed turbo petrol four-cylinder engine, sending 194kW and 376Nm to all four wheels through a CVT automatic transmission and symmetrical, permanent all-wheel-drive.
The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is expected to go on sale in the US later in 2021.
However, an Australian launch has yet to be locked in, with a spokesperson for the brand's local arm reiterating earlier comments that the Wilderness is "under evaluation" for Australia, with Subaru Australia consistently in discussions with its factory in Japan.
"We’re always interested in developments from the factory in Japan and while we currently have no plans to expand the range, we’ll be watching progress in the US with interest," a spokesperson for the brand told CarAdvice last month.