The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness joined the Wilderness off-road sub-brand along with the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness that Subaru of America introduced early this year. Which one is the best for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get further away from civilization?
The Outback Wilderness will handle more challenging trails with 9.5-inch ground clearance, a nearly one-inch increase over the standard model's 8.7-inches. The Outback has an almost half-inch advantage over the Forester.
The 2022 Forester Wilderness comes with 9.2-inches of ground clearance, a half-inch increase over the other Forester models. It has longer coil springs, shock absorbers, and unique tuning for ride and handling performance.
We asked Subaru for an explanation, and a company spokesman told us there are several factors why Forester has less ground clearance. The Forester is taller and has a shorter wheelbase which affects the ride height, including ride quality, handling, comfort, and rollover. The Outback also has a longer wheelbase which allows it to have additional ground clearance.
The extra clearance also allows the Outback to handle more extreme terrain. Approach angles on the Outback Wilderness have been extended from 18.6 degrees to 20.0, ramp break-over angle shifts from 19.4 degrees to 21.2 degrees, and the departure angle increases from 21.7 degrees to 23.6 degrees.
Subaru did not announce the approach and break-over angles on the Forester Wilderness, but they would be considerably less than the Outback. The additional ground clearance in the Outback Wilderness allows the break-over angle to make a drop without squashing the rocker panels and leaving your exhaust system behind.
Advanced dual-function X-Mode vs. standard X-Mode
The Outback Wilderness features a new advanced feature for X-MODE that allows the wagon/SUV to switch automatically from low-speed managed driving to speeds over 25 mph without interruption of power or performance. The X-Mode display also features a new roll-angle indicator to help the driver navigate off-road terrain.
The 2022 Forester Wilderness comes with standard X-Mode and not even dual-function X-Mode like the Forester Sport. It's a surprise that Subaru did not upgrade the Forester Wilderness X-Mode.
Outback has more horsepower and torque
Outback Wilderness is powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine producing 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.
Forester Wilderness is powered by a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated Boxer engine producing 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. Outdoor enthusiasts were disappointed Forester Wilderness did not get the FA24 2.4-liter turbocharged engine upgrade.
Outback has more towing capacity
The 2022 Outback Wilderness will tow up to 3,500 lbs. vs. 2,700 lbs for the Outback with the 2.5-liter engine. The Outback has a 500 lb. advantage over Forester.
The 2022 Forester did get a towing increase up to 3,000-lb. towing capacity (vs. 1,500) and features standard trailer stability assist. The additional tow rating will now allow customers with active lifestyles to pull a small boat or camper.
Cost and fuel mileage
The Forester Wilderness has two advantages over the Outback Wilderness. It has a lower price and gets better fuel mileage.
What is the price of the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness?
The Forester Wilderness has a lower starting price than the Outback Wilderness, starting at $33,945, including destination and delivery fees.
What is the price of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness?
The Outback Wilderness is priced from $38,120, including destination and delivery fees. That's $4,175 more than Forester, but we think its upgrades are worth the extra cost.
What is the fuel mileage of the 2022 Forester Wilderness?
The 2022 Forester Wilderness gets better fuel mileage. The EPA rated the new Forester Wilderness with an estimated 25/28 city/highway mpg and 26 combined mpg. The standard Forester gets 26/33 city/highway mpg and 29 combined mpg.
What is the fuel mileage of the 2022 Outback Wilderness?
The EPA says the new Outback Wilderness gets an EPA estimated 22/26 city/highway mpg and 24 combined mpg. The 2022 Outback XT with the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine gets an estimated 23/30 city/highway mpg and 26 combined mpg.
Other than cost and fuel mileage, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is the clear winner over the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness.
The Outback has additional ground clearance, more horsepower power and torque, additional towing capacity, and advanced dual-function X-Mode for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get further away from civilization. The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is the more capable model, able to handle extreme off-road terrain.
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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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