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The 2022 Subaru Outback is an excellent family wagon that can transport up to five people through all four seasons. However, Subaru recently introduced the Outback Wilderness trim level that equips the car with a higher ride height and better tires, making it even more capable when the road gets slippery or rough. I had the pleasure to test the Outback Wilderness out for a week and found out that it’s an absolute beast in the snow.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness sitting in the snow
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Rain, sleet, or snow, there is no stopping the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness side shot in the snow
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

It snows here in Denver, Colo., but our snow days are typically very sporadic. That means it can be sunny all week with temperatures in the 50s and then one day, it will drop to around 20 degrees and start to snow. Every time the fickle weather does this, I cross my fingers and hope that I have a press car to test. This week, I just happened to have the Subaru Outback Wilderness.

When the white stuff started falling from the sky, I smiled, suited up, and headed out to the car. The ground was packed with snow, which would usually send most commuter cars into a tailspin or at least a slight wobble. But with the Outback Wilderness, it was smooth sailing.

This may be attributed to the car’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, but I give the Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires most of the credit for the sure-footed traction. Even under hard acceleration, the car gripped the snowy road with ease and went wherever I pointed it, despite the icy conditions. What was even more noticeable was the short stopping distances when approaching stoplights. Since the tires gripped the road better, the car stopped sooner in the snow, which is impressive and confidence-inspiring.

The added ride height makes the Outback Wilderness nearly unstoppable

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness' traction and X Mode settings
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

In addition to the extra grip from the all-terrain tires, the Outback Wilderness has 9.5 inches of ground clearance – compared to 8.7 inches on the other Outback trims. That higher ride height is great for traversing deeper snow and muddy trails and it’s fortified by a new X-Mode setup. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, X-Mode changes the vehicle’s traction and differential settings so that it can get the most grip in almost any situation. For the Outback Wilderness, a “deep snow, sand, and mud” setting was added.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to use it since there were only a few inches of snow on the ground. But having that type of functionality and vertical height was definitely reassuring in case I somehow got stuck on the way to the grocery store. Nonetheless, the Outback Wilderness was able to take any type of snow-filled tarmac that I could run it through. In fact, I could swear that the car even begged for more.

The Outback Wilderness is well equipped for the snow and dirt

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness interior
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The taller ride clearance and tires are the main stars of the Wilderness trim, but there are a few other features that make it great for the avid outdoorsman. There’s a 260-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer engine under the hood, which had a lot of good low-end torque in addition to top-end power. There are reinforced roof rails that can support the weight of a rooftop tent. And lastly, the interior is outfitted with a StarTex waterproof material that keeps things clean when the snow seeps in and off your clothes.  

Overall, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is an excellent choice if you need the ruggedness of an SUV but the drivability of a car when getting through the roughest of snowstorms. Or if you live in Denver, then it will definitely get you to where you need to go on that one perfectly timed snow day.  


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