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2022 Subaru Outback Dual-Function X-Mode - How It Works And If You Even Need It

The 2022 Subaru Outback has improved all-weather performance. See why dual-function X-Mode is for deep snow and if you need the feature.


Since its debut in 1995, the all-wheel-drive Subaru Outback has a history as a "go-anywhere" vehicle and got its name from the untamed Australian wilderness. Most Outback owners won't take their midsize SUV off-road but want safety when they commute to work in the snow. Subaru of America offers the Outback Onyx XT with additional attributes for those who need extreme all-weather performance.

Outback has X-Mode and dual-function X-Mode

Outback comes with 8.7-inches of ground clearance and Subaru's excellent Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system for starters. X-Mode is added by the Japanese automaker for additional all-weather performance in snow and mud and comes standard on all trim levels. It's more than enough if you live in a moderate climate.

2022 Subaru Outback, features, specs, X-Mode all-weather
photo credit: Subaru Of Bend

You don't have to be an adventure enthusiast to take advantage of the system. Owners want a vehicle that will get you to work safely in a blizzard or deep snow conditions. If you live where the snow is measured in feet, not inches, Subaru enhanced the system for some 2022 models, and it's the one you want for more extreme all-weather performance.

The standard X-Mode comes with all trim levels and is sufficient for most customers. The 2022 Subaru Outback Onyx XT trim will safely get you to your destination if you live in a more extreme environment because of a Dual-Function X-Mode feature that you won't find on other family SUVs.

2022 Subaru Outback, features, specs, X-Mode all-weather
photo credit: Subaru Canada

Do you have to buy the Outback Wilderness to get the dual-function X-Mode?

You don't have to buy the new Outback Wilderness trim level to get dual-function X-Mode. Dual-Function X-Mode is available on the Outback Onyx Edition XT.

If you live in a northern climate where you'll encounter deep snow or mud, you'll want Dual-Function X-Mode with deep snow and deep mud settings. Dual-Function X-Mode adds additional capability when you get into deep snow, mud, and steep inclines if you live in the mountains.

How does Dual-function X-Mode work?

Dual-Function X-Mode changes the SUV's brakes by locking up one wheel if it senses it spinning. The system knows it needs extra grip instead of letting the wheel spin. Lastly, the new Outback comes with Hill Descent Control. It ensures the SUV's speed doesn't increase when descending a hill, managing the braking to provide a controlled, smooth and safe descent.

Is X-Mode easy to engage?

Dual-Function X-Mode is controlled by a knob on the Outback's console, allowing you to switch from Snow and Dirt mode to the new Deep Snow and Deep Mud Mode. This mode lets the SUV maintain momentum when you get off the beaten path and in more extreme deep snow and mud situations.

Is dual-function X-Mode available on other Subaru models?

The 2022 Subaru Forester Sport, Wilderness, Limited, Touring trim levels, and the 2022 Subaru Crosstrek Sport, and Limited models also come with dual-function X-Mode.

Subaru of America offers dual-function X-Mode for deep snow and mud on the 2022 Outback Onyx XT trim level giving the flagship SUV additional all-weather performance. 2022 Wilderness models include advanced dual-function X-Mode with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes and low- and medium-to-high-speed functions for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get further away. Check out the report below for more information.

You Might Also Like: Is Subaru Outback Wilderness All-Wheel-Drive the Best? Here's Why It Stands Out From the Pack

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


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John (not verified)    January 30, 2022 - 6:45PM

They must be paying by the word. This article could be cut in half and still provide the necessary information it tried to convey

findme.outback (not verified)    February 27, 2023 - 11:44PM

anyway you can get me photo credit for the photo you got from Subaru Canada? that’s my outback lol and if it’s taken from Subaru Canada Instagram page there is photo credit in the text that should give credit