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Subaru Forester Sport Vs The New Wilderness - Which Belongs In Your Garage?

The 2022 Subaru Forester Sport and 2022 Forester Wilderness arrive now. We break down both models and see which compact SUV is the best model for you.

The refreshed 2022 Subaru Forester Sport and the all-new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness now arrive at retailers. We’ll look at both new 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

All 2022 Forester trims get a refresh in the fourth year of their life cycle. It includes a new look with a redesigned front facia, new grille, headlights, fog light covers, new safety technology, and convenience features.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, features, specs

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 models come with 3,000-lb. towing capacity and feature standard trailer stability assist.

Both Forester trims get a new 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.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, features, specs

Sport and Wilderness come with the next-generation EyeSight, which includes new automatic emergency steering. Subaru says the new feature works in conjunction with the 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 $30,890 including destination and delivery fees, 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.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, features, specs

The 2022 Forester Sport is designed for those with active lifestyles who will use the compact SUV for city commuting and off-road use. With the dual-function X-Mode, the Sport has the 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, 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, features, specs
photo credit: Lithia Reno Subaru

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness

All-new for 2022, Forester joins the Subaru Wilderness sub-brand (pricing starts at $33,945 including destination and delivery fees.) The Forester Wilderness comes with 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.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, features, specs

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 matte-black finish. Inside, the rugged SUV comes with water-resistant StarTex seating surfaces.

One option package for the 2022 Wilderness includes the Subaru Starlink 8.0-inch Multimedia Navigation system, Harman Kardon premium sound system, and a rear power gate. ($1,850).

What is the Forester Sport fuel mileage?

The 2022 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 2022 Subaru Forester Sport offers active customers the comfort and features for commuting during the week and off-road use on the weekends. The Sport’s increase in fuel mileage will be vital if you take long road trips.

The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness is designed for active customers who want to get further away from civilization. The added rugged features will allow improved all-terrain performance in more severe conditions.

You Might Also Like: Is The Subaru Forester Or Outback More Reliable? There's a Clear Difference

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


Todd Martineau (not verified)    December 29, 2021 - 7:25AM

The Subaru website says all 2022 Forester models have a 1,500 lb towing capacity and only the Wilderness model has the 3,000 lb towing capacity. It is sad that even higher models like the Sport are limited in this way. Subaru should upgrade all Foresters to the higher towing capacity.

Barry Barnett (not verified)    December 29, 2021 - 4:29PM

This article contains an error in stating that the Wilderness engine is naturally aspirated. It is turbocharged.

Barry Barnett (not verified)    December 30, 2021 - 8:43PM

My bad. I re-read this...I thought we were comparing Fosterer Sport and OUTBACK Wilderness. Oops.

Ruslan Urban (not verified)    January 2, 2022 - 8:48AM

I just ordered 2022 Ferester Wilderness. Transmission and ground clearance were the key selling features. This means to me that I would be able to tow a boat and will have less chance to get stuck in deep snow. I wish it came with driver monitoring, heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. I also wish future models came with HID displays with speed, speed limit, turn signals, blind spot and other warning indicators. Also, I really wish Forester Wilderness had a 2.4 turbo engine for the North American market. It is not much lighter and has greater air resistance compared to Outback.

Joseph Grodzinsky (not verified)    January 23, 2022 - 6:47AM

After test drive in 2022 Outback, wife was
Pleased with handling, but surprised that steering wheel was smaller than wheel in our Jeep Grand Cherokee..
is this common in Outback and Forrester?