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78 Reasons Why The New Subaru Forester Wilderness Isn’t Wild Enough

Subaru of America will launch the all-new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness edition sometime this year, but how wild will it be? See why Subaru missed by not bringing a Forester Wilderness with a turbocharged engine.


Just ahead of the new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness reveal, the EPA leaked that the rugged, compact SUV will be powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter Boxer engine just like the standard model.

Forester fans who wanted the same 2.4-liter turbocharged engine under the hood of the 2022 Outback Wilderness are disappointed. At meetings earlier this year, Patrick Wergin, chairman of the Subaru National Retailer Advisory Board, told Subaru retailers that the new Wilderness models would feature a "rugged appearance package and better tires for off-road pursuits." He never mentioned the engine.

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness features, engine, specs

The 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine powers the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, but why not the 2022 Forester Wilderness? What the new Forester needed is a turbocharged engine to be wild enough for U.S. customers. The 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated powerplant powers all 2022 Forester trim levels.

Wergin went on to say, "We're hoping the Wilderness edition will attract consumers that are active lifestyle families and that do like to go out and maybe do a little bit more off-roading. We're excited about the opportunity to have this vehicle capture new clients in the segment."

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness features, engine, specs

Like the Outback Wilderness, the new 2022 Forester is going to have additional capabilities "and the look of off-roading to a greater degree than we have right now," said Wally Sommer, president of Sommer's Subaru in Mequon, Wisconsin. "It does fit the Subaru character perfectly."

There are 78 reasons why the Subaru Forester Wilderness isn't wild enough

Fans were hoping for more than just a "look of off-roading" and wanted a rugged vehicle that could carry additional gear for Overlanding and getting further away from civilization. The 2.4-liter turbocharged engine has 78 more horsepower than Forester's 182 horsepower 2.5-liter engine and would have made a big difference.

If the 2022 Forester Wilderness would be the best model Subaru could have offered, it needed the 2.4-liter engine. When outdoor enthusiasts load up their new Forester Wilderness with camping gear and put on a rooftop carrier or rooftop tent, the lifted and heavier compact SUV will need more power to get up the high mountain pass.

For the new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness rugged trim to be successful with an active generation, the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine is needed. There's no doubt the Forester wilderness will sell well, but it could have wildly successful and a grand slam home run.

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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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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Doug (not verified)    August 17, 2021 - 12:23PM

I recently put a deposit down to get in line for an early production '22 4Runner. I was keeping my eye on what they would do with the Forester Wilderness. The 2.4T Forester would have been a very tempting distraction from following through on that decision. Yes, they are very different vehicles but I was still cross shopping them for my needs - which you partially summed up with "a rugged vehicle that could carry additional gear for Overlanding and getting further away from civilization". I think they did a great job with the Outback Wilderness but the outback just isn't for me. 4Runner it is then.

Dino Leblanc (not verified)    August 18, 2021 - 6:57AM

was so excited that a forester wilderness was comin. to replace my forester XT. but not anymore. defenitely not with a 2.5 NA.
keeping my XT now

Cary moro (not verified)    August 18, 2021 - 2:52PM

you forgot to mention the diminished towing capacity between the Forester and outback. why they would throw a wilderness badge on a Forester and not make it at least as capable as the outback is a waste.

daniel duclos (not verified)    August 26, 2021 - 11:16AM

I was going to get the RAV4 Trail because of the 3500lbs towing capacity. Then I saw the updated 2022 Subaru Forester !!! I was hoping for the 2.4T - So I am back looking at Toyota.