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New Subaru Forester Joins Wilderness Sub-Brand Next - Two Questions Remain

Subaru will introduce the rugged 2022 Forester Wilderness model next. But two questions remain unanswered.

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Subaru of America is introducing a family of rugged, off-pavement Wilderness-badged Subaru SUVs. The 2022 Outback Wilderness just made its debut, and next is the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness compact SUV. We know it will have an advanced dual function X-Mode, elevated 9.5-inch ground clearance, standard front and rear skid plates, and an upgraded suspension.

The Forester Wilderness will wear 17-inch Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires and come with a full-size spare tire. The new Forester will also feature a modified Lineartronic CVT automatic (Continuously Variable Transmission) and an upgraded rear differential with a final drive ratio of 4.44:1.

2022 Subaru Forester, Subaru Forester Wilderness
photo credit: LP Aventure

Will the Forester Wilderness have a turbocharged engine?

What we don't know is what engine will power the all-new adventure-ready 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness trim. The Outback comes with the 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine upgrade. But Outback already had the XT trim. The Forester only comes with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder powerplant.

Subaru recently introduced the Japan-spec Forester with a new 1.8-liter turbocharged engine but only has 175 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The Forester's 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. So the 1.8-liter powerplant is not a likely choice.

2022 Subaru Forester, Subaru Forester Wilderness
photo credit: LP Aventure

Subaru of America will likely ask its parent company, Subaru Corporation, for a new 2022 Forester Wilderness with a turbocharged engine. Subaru is upgrading all its models with direct-injection turbocharged (DIT) Boxer engines, and the Forester is the next model in the lineup to get one.

The only logical engine would be the proven FA24 2.4-liter turbocharged engine producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The additional power would make the new Forester Wilderness a more capable off-road-ready vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts.

How much can the Forester tow?

The Forester Wilderness will be heavier than the standard model and will need an engine with more power to carry extra outdoor gear and cargo. The second question is will Forester Wilderness get increased towing capacity? The current model tows 1,500 pounds, while the Outback can tow up to 3,500 lbs. The 2.4-liter engine would also increase Forester's tow rating for those wanting to tow a boat or camper.

The all-new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness Edition is expected to make its U.S. reveal later this spring or summer. The two questions that remain now are will the adventure-ready Forester Wilderness have a turbocharged engine, and will Subaru increase the towing capacity? Stay tuned.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Outback Wilderness Fuel Mileage - It's Bad News For Outdoor Enthusiasts

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: LP Aventure

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Justin (not verified)    April 12, 2021 - 9:44AM

None of those specs are confirmed for the Forester. You are just assuming they will match the Outback. Stop posting this crap as facts.

P.J (not verified)    April 29, 2021 - 11:26PM

We need the Forester Wilderness with a 2.0l diesel engine of ~200hp and ~300lbs of torque with a 6-8 speed automatic transmission.

Also, as mentioned in Australian Forester documentation of Subaru Australia (and also Japan), the towing capacity of the Forester is really 1500 kg (kilogram) and not 1500 lbs. 1500kg is near the 3500lbs capacity of the non-turbo Outback also and makes much more sense since they both have the same engine, transmission and weight. That 1500 lbs towing capacity is a miss print that is going on in NA's Forester Brochure since the redesign.

For those who don't believe it, just think that any low hp hybrid cars with 130hp are able to tow 2000+ lbs with less weight.

NotAMisprint (not verified)    May 16, 2021 - 11:38AM

1500lbs for NA Forester is not a “misprint”. The tow rating for NA Foresters is indeed 1500lbs with the current 2.5 naturally aspirated engine.

Different parts of the world have different towing regulations. In addition, tow ratings include other considerations beyond power i.e. road speed, wheel base, etc.

It was also been speculated that international Foresters have different transimission coolers, but I suspect is is really just that we are allowed to drive faster in NA and have more stringent tow regulations. Either way, the CVT is not great for towing, and tow rating needs to consider GVWR, so 1500lbs limit is likely less if you have a family of four in the Forester, plus gear, and trailer.

Mike (not verified)    July 1, 2021 - 2:05PM

I have loved Subaru's for many years: Stop messing around and give us something to brag about; 280-300HP and 315-325lbs torque is achievable with the boxer engine, just do it and the car will sell. If it new Forester wilderness has the 260 hp and 277 lb turbo it will be ok....anything less and I wont buy one. I have owned an 1983 gl hatchback, a 1988 gl sedan and a 1996 impreza outback sport (which I owned for 15 years). With 4 kids growing I had to upgrade and honestly the Tribeca was not up to the task and the Ascent was not available. I would like to go back to Subaru, but I am used to having the power of a big SUV. I do not want to transition back to a vehicle that struggles to make it up a hill or takes 8.0-9.0 seconds to get up to speed on a highway where everyone is already going 70+. Give the US market a Forrester Widerness package with those specs I will be the first in line. It needs to be able to pull at least 5000lbs or it is just another jacked up small SUV crossover. So maybe is doesnt get 30mpg on the hwy, it just needs to be better than the Outback or why bother making it.