Subaru is gradually revealing its 2022 lineup, and there’s one common thread we’re excited about: Wilderness. Coming on the heels of the 2022 Outback Wilderness debut, the Japanese automaker has unveiled the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, and it takes the company’s compact SUV even further into off-road adventure territory. With upgrades like increased ground clearance and a beefed-up roof rack, it’s aimed squarely at campers and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes.
The revamped Forester lineup includes several trim levels in addition to the Wilderness package, but all are powered by Subaru’s 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine, which puts out 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. That power gets sent to all four wheels via the company’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and a standard continuously variable transmission. But those are just the basics, and Subaru has given the Forester Wilderness some key tweaks to make it more capable off the pavement.
The most notable changes are in the suspension and drivetrain. The Forester Wilderness comes with longer coil springs and shock absorbers to give it 9.2 inches of ground clearance—a half-inch bump over the standard Forester. That’ll help it drive over obstacles (a front skid plate provides protection if you do scrape a rock), and the increased suspension travel will better soak up bumps on rough trails, too. It’s equipped with a terrain-specific X-Mode selector that can optimize the engine’s torque and the CVT’s gear ratios to help you power through snow and dirt, as well as deep snow drifts and muddy conditions.
The Wilderness also comes with exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels in a sleek matte-black finish, and they wear Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires for dependable grip in the loose stuff. And if you do manage to punch a hole in one, there’s a full-size spare under the floor of the rear cargo area.
Love rooftop tents? You’re in luck: The SUV comes with a strengthened roof rack that can handle up to 220 pounds while moving and support up to 800 pounds while parked—a 100-pound increase over the 2021 Forester’s static roof load rating. The rack also features built-in tie-down locations to keep your gear in place and bright orange metallic accents that match the trim on the rest of the vehicle. If tow-behind campers are more your thing, the Forester Wilderness can accommodate that, too: It features a towing capacity of up to 3,000 pounds.
To complement the mechanical changes, the Wilderness package includes a restyled front grille, larger wheel arch cladding, and hexagonal LED fog lights. Even the interior is punched up to handle the outdoors: The seats are clad in a water-resistant fabric to prevent stains. The lone optional upgrade will get you an even more luxe experience inside, including an eight-inch infotainment screen and a Harman Kardon sound system. Who says you have to rough it when you’re in the backcountry?
[Starting at $32,820; subaru.com]
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