Skip to main content

Why The New Subaru Outback Onyx Is Now Your Best Pick Over Wilderness

The 2023 Subaru Outback gets a new Onyx Edition with the 2.5-liter engine and other upgrades. Here’s why it’s a better pick over the Wilderness trim.


If you've been waiting on the sidelines for the refreshed 2023 Outback, should you buy the rugged Wilderness trim level or the upgraded 2023 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition? With the Onyx Edition upgrades, there are several reasons why you should consider buying it over the Wilderness.

The 2023 Subaru Outback gets a refresh with a new front fascia incorporating a more prominent grille, redesigned LED headlights and fog lights, and a more rugged front bumper cover. All Outback trim levels also get expanded wheel cladding for additional protection. The 2023 Wilderness trim doesn't get any new exterior upgrades.

2023 Subaru Outback features, upgrades, pricing, fuel mileage

Onyx Edition now comes with two engine options

Subaru of America announced the 2023 Outback Onyx Edition is now available with the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine. Before, the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine was the only engine you could get.

The Onyx XT comes with the 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The new 2023 Onyx XT with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter Boxer produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque.

2023 Subaru Outback features, upgrades, pricing, fuel mileage

What is the difference in fuel mileage?

You should consider the Onyx XT with the more fuel-efficient 2.5-liter engine with fuel prices rising.

The EPA fuel mileage rating of the 2022 Outback Onyx XT 2.4-liter turbo is 23/30 city/highway mpg and 26 combined mpg. The 2022 Outback Wilderness gets an estimated 22/26 city/highway mpg and 24 combined mpg. The estimated fuel economy of the Onyx Edition with the 2.5-liter engine is 26/33 mpg city/highway and 29 combined mpg.

What is the difference in price?

Subaru has not released 2023 Outback pricing but compared with 2022 models, the Onyx Edition is around $2,000 less than the Wilderness trim. The Onyx Edition with the 2.5-liter engine could be even less.

The 2022 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition XT is priced at $36,270, and Outback Wilderness ($38,120). Pricing includes $1,125 destination and delivery fees.

Onyx Edition features

The Onyx Edition features black-finish exterior elements with 18-inch alloy wheels, badging, and an exclusive gray two-tone interior. The seats are wrapped in a water-repellant durable StarTex material. The Onyx Edition also comes with a hands-free power gate, front view monitor, dual-function X-Mode, and a full-size spare tire.

Ground extra clearance is a big difference

The Onyx Edition is rugged enough for most customers if you aren't navigating steep or rocky trails. The 2023 Outback Onyx Edition has 8.7 inches of ground clearance and 9.5 inches for Wilderness. The Wilderness also gets suspension upgrades for improved off-road performance.

Our take

The 2023 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition is a capable off-pavement all-wheel-drive midsize SUV that will handle almost anything you can throw at it. If you are going deep off-road and navigating steep rocky trails, the Wilderness trim is the model you want.

The 2023 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition with the 2.5-liter engine hits the sweet spot delivering enough horsepower if you aren't pulling a camper or trailer and gets improved fuel mileage over the 2.4-liter XT and Wilderness models, and will cost less.

You Might Also Like: The 2023 Subaru Outback’s New Mono Camera And How It Improves Safety

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.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru


Rock DeAugustine (not verified)    April 17, 2022 - 11:46PM

Subarus were good 20 years ago. They are now money pits that guarantee a blown head gasket at some point. Pretty much a car's most expensive repair... And the Subaru mechanics can't quite get the car to work properly even after putting a few thousand in it. My 2019 Forester that I bought brand new is basically a pile of junk.

Doug (not verified)    April 18, 2022 - 1:10PM

In reply to by Rock DeAugustine (not verified)

How can a car that's been under warranty until very recently be a "pile of junk" now? I've got a 2019 Forester as well and other than getting rid of the POS Panasonic battery and replacing it with a deep cycle AGM battery, it's been the best of the 10+ new Subaru's I've owned. I love the redesigned 2.5 liter engine and it has been proving itself worthy and dependable across all the models it has been migrated to. Since you didn't mention any specific issues your expenditures of a "few thousand" addresses and started out with the same, tired, irrelevant head gasket "complaint" your post sounds mostly like trolling.

Cpug5150 (not verified)    July 17, 2022 - 6:09PM

In reply to by Rock DeAugustine (not verified)

Really? Twenty years ago Subaru's weren't even on the radar of cars to buy. I just came off a three year lease on a 2019 Forester Limited and it was by far one of the best vehicles I've ever owned (which I've lost count with). I'm as critical and picky as you'll find (ask my wife). Usually by the end of a lease I can't wait to get out of my car and into something else, the Forester was the exception and never would've thought that when I bought it. I didn't go back into another Forester cause they stopped producing them at the time due to parts issues (thanks Covid) so I opted for a new Outback Wilderness and my wife bought a new Ascent regrets. I'm definitely not saying that Subaru doesn't have their own issues, all car manufacturers do and if you think that's not true you're lying to yourself. But there's a reason why Subaru owners stay with Subaru that I never understood. I understand now.

Allan Begg (not verified)    April 25, 2022 - 6:49AM

My Current 2016 Subaru Outback I’m very happy with, current milage 120,000km
The previous model Subaru Outback I had almost 400,000 on it before I sold it to a friend for his son for $700, who wrote it off on a farm about 3 weeks latter by being silly ( fortunately he was not hurt ).
But I digress.
The first outback when the head gasket blew around 2540,000 km was quoted $800 at the time to fix it...I went and bought the most expensive head gas get fix in a can for $78 and it fixed it permanently !