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2023 Subaru Forester Sport Vs Wilderness - Which Belongs In Your Garage This Winter?

The 2023 Subaru Forester Sport and 2023 Forester Wilderness arrive this Winter. We break down both models and see which compact SUV is the best model for you.


The 2023 Subaru Forester Sport and 2023 Subaru Forester Wilderness arrive at retailers in December. We’ll look at both Forester trims and see which is the best for you. The two trim levels have features and options they share and things unique to each model.

The Sport and Wilderness similarities

The 2023 Forester Sport ($32,190) and Wilderness ($35,245) trims get a $550 price increase. The 2023 models are carry-overs with no new upgrades, and the Forester won’t get a complete remodel until next year.

2023 Subaru Forester Sport Vs Forester Wilderness

The Forester Sport and Wilderness come with standard Symmetrical all-wheel-drive. Both are powered by a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated Boxer engine producing 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, and both come with dual-function X-Mode with hill descent control for all-terrain performance.

Both Forester trims feature a ladder-type roof rail design offering a higher load capacity (220 lb. vs. 176 lb.) and an 800-lb. static load limit (vs. 700 lb.), allowing safe use of a roof-top tent. New tie-down locations have been integrated into the rails. Inside, two additional utility hooks have been added to the roof of the rear cargo area, and a brighter LED interior dome lamp with off-delay is now standard.

2023 Subaru Forester Sport Vs Forester Wilderness

Sport and Wilderness come with the next-generation EyeSight, which includes new automatic emergency steering. Subaru says the new feature works with pre-collision braking to assist with steering control to help avoid a collision at speeds less than 50 mph. That’s where the similarities end.

2022 Subaru Forester Sport

The Forester Sport (starting at $32,190 including destination and delivery fees, which is $3,055 less than the Wilderness trim) gets unique exterior and interior treatments. Outside it gets black-finish 18-inch wheels and a black rear roof spoiler, and orange accents. Inside Sport features a dark gray material with orange stitching and accents. The Sport trim comes with 8.7-inches of ground clearance.

The 2022 Forester Sport is designed for those with active lifestyles who use the compact SUV for city commuting and off-road use. With the dual-function X-Mode, the Sport has all-terrain capability.

One option package is available for Sport trims. The Starlink 8.0-inch multimedia plus package includes reverse automatic braking. ($1,645.)

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness

The Subaru Wilderness (pricing starts at $35,245, including destination and delivery fees.) The Forester Wilderness comes with a 9.2-inch ground clearance, a half-inch increase over the Sport trim, longer coil springs, shock absorbers, and unique tuning for improved ride and handling performance with increased height.

The Forester Wilderness comes equipped with Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires mounted on new 17-inch alloy wheels in a matte black finish; the tires are embossed with raised white letters. A standard full-size tire is included under the cargo area.

The Wilderness trim adds new exterior styling with more prominent wheel arch cladding, a front skid plate, unique hexagonal LED fog lights, and an anti-glare hood decal in a matte-black finish. Inside, the rugged SUV comes with water-resistant StarTex seating surfaces.

One option package for the 2023 Wilderness includes the Subaru Starlink 8.0-inch Multimedia Navigation system, Harman Kardon premium sound system, and a rear power gate. ($1,850).

How much will the Forester tow?

The big difference is the Sport trim has a maximum tow capacity of 1500 lbs. The Forester Wilderness comes with 3,000-lb. towing capacity allowing active customers to pull a small boat or camper.

What is the Forester Sport fuel mileage?

The 2023 Forester Sport gets an EPA estimated 26/33 city/highway mpg and 29 combined mpg.

What is the Forester Wilderness fuel mileage?

The new Forester Wilderness gets an EPA-estimated 25/28 city/highway mpg and 26 combined mpg.

Which model belongs in your garage?

For $3,055 less, the 2023 Subaru Forester Sport offers active customers comfort and features for commuting during the week and off-road use on the weekends. The Sport’s fuel mileage increase will improve fuel efficiency if you take long road trips.

The 2023 Subaru Forester Wilderness is designed for active customers who want to get further off the grid. The added rugged features will allow improved all-terrain performance in more severe conditions.

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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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