Vehicle Review Highlights:
- 2022 Subaru Outback ($26,945 – $39,945)
- “Best Resale Value” – Kelley Blue Book
- “Top Safety Pick +” – IIHS
- 5-Star Overall Safety Rating – NHTSA
- Pro: The Outback is a practical and capable wagon with standard AWD and a robust feature list.
- Con: Gas mileage is not so great on the upper trim levels.
The 2022 Subaru Outback calmly treads the raucous waters among battle-ready SUVs and crossovers, just as it has since 1995. Now in its sixth generation, the Outback doesn’t need a life vest to stay afloat as Subaru knows that there are plenty of buyers that will handily snatch it up without any issue. And why not? It’s a wagon that can comfortably fit five adults and all of their stuff while taking them almost anywhere they need to go in rain, sleet, or snow.
A standard all-wheel-drive system gives the Outback the capability and ruggedness that any avid outdoorsman could want. But what’s even better is that for the 2022 model year, there’s a new trim level that’s equipped to go farther than the rest.
Which 2022 Subaru Outback trim level is right for you?
For the 2022 model year, there are eight trim levels to choose from. Here is a breakdown:
- Base: $28,070
- Premium: $30,270
- Limited: $34,720
- Onyx Edition XT: $36,270
- Wilderness: $38,120
- Touring: $38,620
- Limited XT: $39,120
- Touring XT: $41,070
As you can see, there’s a Subaru Outback for almost every budget, as long your budget is in the $30,000-plus range. My test car for the week is the new-for-2022 Outback Wilderness model that has an upgraded suspension, extra ground clearance, Yokohama all-terrain tires, and 17-inch black alloy wheels. The price as tested is $39,965.
The Subaru Outback has a rugged vibe
You won’t mistake the Subaru Outback for an SUV or any other vehicle that it’s not. It’s a wagon, but its sharp edges and plastic cladding make it look a lot more like the off-road-worthy family hauler that it is as opposed to the 90s family station wagon that it isn’t (anymore). For this model year, the base model is now equipped with fog lights and 17-inch wheels, while the Limited and Onyx XT models gain 18-inchers.
The Outback Wilderness sets itself apart from the rest of its tribe with its own unique front and rear fascias, wider wheel arches, matte-black hood graphics, and copper finishes. It also rolls on black 17-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires.
Is the Subaru Outback comfortable?
The Outback’s interior is comfortable and it’s easy to get in and out of. The seats are plush and supportive and all of the infotainment and HVAC controls are within easy reach. There are soft-touch materials all over and the rear seats provide plenty of leg and headroom, even in the middle seat.
In the Wilderness trim, there are a few copper trim pieces to complement the exterior ones in addition to StarTex water-repellant seats with embroidered Wilderness logos. Also, the Outback boasts plenty of cargo volume – it has 33 cubic feet with the rear seats folded up and 75 cubic feet when folded down.
The Outback is loaded with standard features
The base Subaru Outback comes with a plethora of standard features. The most notable among the list include steering-responsive LED headlights with auto high beams, paddle shifters, cloth seats, satellite radio, two USB ports, and Apple Carplay/Android Auto connectivity.
Step up to the Premium trim and you’ll get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a 10-way power driver’s seat, an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment screen, and more USB ports.
Blind-spot monitoring, a keyless ignition, a moonroof, navigation, and a power tailgate are all optional. If you step up to the higher trim levels, you’ll get more features. The most notable among those include real leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and a 12-speaker premium Harman Kardon sound system.
In my real-world testing, my only complaint is that the backup camera quality isn’t that clear and is only displayed on a small part of the massive screen. Also, the 11-inch infotainment screen looks great, but I found that it’s slow to respond and I didn’t like that it houses the HVAC controls, which can be a detriment if the screen ever malfunctions.
The Subaru Outback handles well even when it’s lifted
Driving the Outback is a comfortable experience, especially if you’re driving the Wilderness trim. Its lifted suspension is soft and compliant on any road and it actually handles corners well at speed despite its lifted ride height. It’s definitely not a sports car by any means, so I don’t recommend really chucking it around turns. But if you need to drive through a snowy road or do some light off-roading, the Outback Wilderness will get you there without any issue.
This can be attributed to the trim level’s ride height, which adds almost an inch compared the non-Wilderness Outbacks – 8.7 inches vs. 9.5 inches.
If you want power, get the higher-trim Outback
The Subaru Outback is powered by two different engine configurations – a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter Boxer engine or a turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer engine. The former can be found under the hood of the lower six trim levels (up to the Touring) while the latter can be found on the Onyx XT and Wilderness trims. Obviously, if more power is what you seek, then get one of the trims with the turbo engine. You won’t regret it.
That doesn’t mean that the base engine is a drag, though. It produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for daily driving and some moderate trail driving. The turbocharged engine, on the other hand, puts out 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque and rockets the car up to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.8 seconds, according to Car and Driver. That kind of power is excellent on dry land, but it’s also great for getting the car through snow-filled streets and parking lots.
Is the Subaru Outback safe?
Yes, in fact, the word “safety” has always been synonymous with every Subaru vehicle and the 2022 Outback is no exception. Every Outback comes standard with the brand’s EyeSight suite of driver-assist aids. That suite includes features like adaptive cruise control with lane centering, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, and lane-keeping assist. The higher trim levels also get blind-spot detection and reverse automatic braking.
If all of those electronic nannies aren’t reassuring enough for you, then you can rest assured that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) deemed it safe with a “5-star overall safety rating.” Furthermore, the IIHS awarded the Outback with a “Top Safety Pick +” award for 2021, so you know this car embodies the word “safe.”
Is the Outback cheap to maintain?
Maintenance for the 2022 Outback is fairly inexpensive. According to Edmunds’ True Cost to Own breakdown, it can cost an average of $5,135 to maintain an Outback for the first five years of its life. As for repairs, Edmunds estimates that it can an average of $910 in the first five years of ownership.
Fortunately, any new Outback buyers won’t need to worry about repairs as it’s covered by the brand’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The 2022 Subaru Outback presents a healthy medium between a sedan and an SUV
If you’re looking for something that’s more capable and spacious than your average sedan, but don’t need an SUV, then the 2022 Subaru Outback is an excellent choice. There are plenty of trim levels to choose from in order to meet your needs and budget. Also, it costs around $20,000 less than its main rivals: the Audi A4 All Road and Volvo V60 Cross Country.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2022 Subaru Outback an expert rating of 8.4 out of 10
The editors at MotorBiscuit gave the 2022 Subaru Outback an overall rating of 8.4 out of 10. The Outback’s sheer capability, comfort, and overall safety make it a great choice for anyone that wants the ease of driving a car but needs a little more utility. The Outback also proves that wagons really are cool, despite what your childhood memories might say.