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Subaru Outback Wilderness Fuel Mileage - Bad News For Outdoor Enthusiasts

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness fuel economy is out. Check out how much lower the rugged model’s fuel efficiency is over the standard 2.4-liter turbo.

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Going off-road with the all-new 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness trim will cost a lot more to get there. The EPA released the Outback Wilderness fuel economy numbers. The more rugged model with bigger all-terrain tires and raised suspension will be considerably less fuel-efficient than the standard XT trim with the 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine.

The EPA says the new Outback Wilderness gets an estimated 22/26 city/highway mpg and 24 combined mpg. The 2021 Outback XT with the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine gets an EPA estimated 23/30 city/highway mpg and 26 combined mpg. That’s a four mile per gallon difference on the highway and two less combined mpg.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, features, specs, pricing

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness has a lot more wind drag, and the bigger wheels, all-terrain tires, and full-size spare all add to the extra weight of the vehicle.

When outdoor enthusiasts load up their new Outback Wilderness with camping gear and put on a rooftop carrier or rooftop tent, the lifted wagon will be even heavier and less fuel-efficient. When you factor in the off-pavement use, the amount of fuel used will be even more.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, features, specs, pricing

Subaru offers the all-new Outback and Wilderness trim for those with active lifestyles who will use the new wagon/SUV for outdoor adventures. The lifted vehicle is built in Lafayette, Indiana, and will only be sold in North America.

Subaru of America and its retailers asked for the more rugged Outback wilderness, and Subaru Corporation delivered. WardsAuto says retailers saw that owners were modifying their vehicles for off-road use and asked the Camden, N.J. automaker to offer a more rugged model from the factory. Subaru Corporation delivered.

Part of the problem was the new Subaru warranty was voided by the aftermarket parts and do-it-yourself Overlanding projects customers were adding themselves to their all-wheel-drive Subaru vehicles. Now, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness will have factory-backed modifications that include full warranty coverage and won’t ruin the vehicles’ EyeSight driving assistance technology calibration.

There is a market for the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness trim. Outdoor enthusiasts and those with active lifestyles will pay more to get further away from civilization.

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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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Lukasz (not verified)    April 9, 2021 - 7:36PM

Not sure how is this such bad news. I get just under 24 combined on my 3.6R outback. I specifically wanted that motor for the 6cyl performance, nevermind the 2-4mpg. People buying off-road trims are likely not going to look at gas mileage.

Roby Thomas (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 7:43AM

In reply to by Lukasz (not verified)

If this was 10 years ago, fuel economy/range wouldn't matter. Aftermarket companies would find a way to install larger or and extra fuel tank.

But more hybrid and electric cars are being built. Range matters and there's no reason why this model isn't offered as a hybrid.

Tim Whynot (not verified)    April 9, 2021 - 8:12PM

I like what Subaru did with the Outback Wilderness but the drop in mileage reinforces to me that they should not put the 2.4 turbo in the Forester Wilderness. The 1.8 T would be a better choice, or even stick with the 2.5 if the 1.8 is too challenging to prepare for the North American market. Those more interested in power with less concern with mileage could get the Outback but those concerned with both could get the Forester Wilderness.

Michael Csonka (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 7:14AM

In reply to by Tim Whynot (not verified)

The article compares the 2.4 Turbo Outback with the 2.4 Turbo Wilderness. So the milage drop isn't from the new engine it's mainly from the change in the final drive ratio with the added weight, off road tires, and wind resistance contributing. If make those changes to the 2.5 or a 1.8 forester you may see an even larger drop in MPG since they will have to work a lot harder.

Tim Whynot (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 5:31PM

In reply to by Michael Csonka (not verified)

I agree Michael Csonka. The 2.4 turbo is where it loses most of the mileage; then you add the gearing, height and tires. I do not think that the 1.8 would have to work hard enough to hurt mileage,, unless perhaps if it is towing. That was true years ago when engines were much less powerful than today.

Meatloaf (not verified)    April 14, 2021 - 8:52AM

In reply to by Tim Whynot (not verified)

and I am driving 2017 outback touring packages and I love my outback with 2.5 box engine with 6 speed cvt but my mom bought 2019 Subaru Ascent touring package with new 2.4 turbo boxer engine with 8 speeds cvt transmission, I love new 2.4 turbo engine with 8 speeds cvt and it’s more horsepower than old 3.6 engine. 2.4 turbo is new technology engine with less carbon oxide on valves and gas is better plus 8 speeds

Mike (not verified)    April 9, 2021 - 10:55PM

Subaru changed the final drive ratio (numerically higher) on the Wilderness edition. This has the largest impact on lower fuel economy. The Wilderness has 4.44 gears vs. 4.11 on the standard Outback.

Throttle Jockey (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 10:17AM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

Yeah, I've only seen one article mention the changes in the final drive ratio. You're right; that's the biggest contributor to decreased fuel economy, which still is only 2mpg. I'm guessing, though, that the new 0-60 time will be decreased too.

tsklitzka (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 1:05AM

This guy is making TWO miles to the gallon less seem like this car will live at a gas station. 22 mpg is totally fine for a vehicle like this. And how hard would it be strap a Jerry can to the roof rack, it can take 700lbs.

Marius (not verified)    April 11, 2021 - 2:55AM

In reply to by tsklitzka (not verified)

I don’t understand the fuss it was totally expected. For what vehicle you’re getting it’s totally justified and fine by me. Subaru nail it I’m queuing up to get me one.

OVTraveller (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 3:43AM

I cannot understand the negative comments about the new Outback, especially as I assume the bulk coming from US based writers. In Australia, where distances between refuelling stations are vastly greater, one might be tempted to put an extra jerrycan with fuel in the back, but in the US? Come on, live a little and enjoy the additional capacity this baby gives you in your wilderness. I know, Subaru lovers in this country will want two jerrycans to see our wilderness.

Steven A. Randolph (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 5:58AM

Subaru is so far behind the times it's time they try to catch up and start thinking EV the ICE engines are in the pass

Keil Miller Jr (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 10:03AM

Is torque news just another mainstream media company without any type of real journalism? Your readers know more than the writer of this article.

Mb your know me (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 10:31AM

The drop in mileage could be as simple as the change in tires. I saw about that much difference when I put light truck all terrain tires on my Limited. Tires make a huge difference in mileage, but it's a trade off for off road conditions.

Ryan Napientek (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 12:53PM

What do you expect? Either you want a capable off road vehicle or not? The fuel mileage numbers this is putting up are not that bad at all.... The only way you might do better is if you go the diesel route.....

Keil Miller Jr (not verified)    April 13, 2021 - 6:52AM

In reply to by Steven A. Randolph (not verified)

My 2021 forrester is advertised as 26/29mpg. At 9000mi, the car says I get 29.0mpg. I haven't hand calculated it, because it's definitely good on gas. If your is eating fuel, maybe it's your driving habits.

Chris Harrison (not verified)    April 11, 2021 - 12:11PM

Full-sized spare for the win! electric option would be nice- if you could find a charging station in the middle of a place where this vehicle is designed be operated.

Kyle (not verified)    April 12, 2021 - 10:27AM

What if I don’t want a turbo model?! I’m on my 2nd Forrester and neither of them have been a turbo model and I definitely prefer that. I’m also not sure that the bigger engine is worth the fuel reduction. I overland and choose the 2021 Forrester as our newest model for our adventures and I wish they would have offered this last year now just on a non-turbo

Martin (not verified)    May 23, 2021 - 3:04AM

Someone above said it best: this mileage wouldn't be a big deal at all even 3 years ago, but with car companies launching all EV SUVs and trucks next year the car seems a bit outdated. Looks beautiful though.