Monday, 28 November 2022

2022 Subaru Outback wagon adds off-road friendly Wilderness model   Featured

Posted On Sunday, 16 October 2022 21:41 Written by
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The 2022 Subaru Outback will attract buyers who might want to take a few trips off-road. The 2022 Subaru Outback will attract buyers who might want to take a few trips off-road. Photos courtesy of Subaru

The wagon is a staple of American car culture.

And even if we don’t use the term much anymore in a world focused on SUVs and crossovers, the fact is they do still exist and are available from a small number of automakers in 2022.

The most obvious example of a wagon that people still take out on the roadways every day is the Subaru Outback, which has for years been the dominant vehicle in the segment — accounting for the vast majority of wagon sales in the U.S. each year..

This long, spacious ride might not look exactly like the wood-paneled vehicles of your childhood, but it serves the same purpose — hauling the family and a bunch of cargo with ease.

With its rugged looks and design, and the introduction of a more off-road friendly Wilderness model for 2022, the Outback continues to work on expanding its foothold in this segment. Combine all that with a truly versatile interior, and the Outback is a vehicle that probably should be even more popular than it is.

I recently spent some time in a 2022 Outback Wilderness, and I’m back with a full report.

LOOKS

The exterior of the 2022 Outback features a long, wagon-style design that allows maximum storage space and versatility.

The Wilderness model I tested featured a very cool two-tone color scheme, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, LED headlights with high-beam assist, ladder-type roof rails with 700 pound static load capacity, and healthy ground clearance.

You can opt for a power moonroof with slide and tilt functions, and the design of the Outback means that loading both the roof and cargo areas is an easier chore than with most traditional SUVs.   

Moving inside, you’ll find the design of the 2022 Outback allows for excellent storage options. Specifically, you’ll get 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, and an impressive 75.7 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down. These numbers are better than pretty much every compact SUV available, and not far behind some mid-size SUVs — meaning consumers can get a car with lots of space without opting for an SUV.

In terms of the passenger area, the Outback features lots of legroom and headroom in both rows, even with a tall driver up front, so 5 people can be comfortable even on longer trips.

It features StarTex water-repellant seats, a 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated front and rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration system, keyless access with push-button start, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, and all-weather floor mats.

There is a large touchscreen up front as part of the infotainment setup, but controls can be difficult to master (more on that later).

HOW’S THE RIDE?

Two engines are offered in the 2022 Outback, and I had the better option, a turbocharged 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that offers 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.

The base engine offered is a 2.5-liter non-turbo four-cylinder option offering 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet. Of the two options, I would highly recommend going with the turbo version, which is worlds better.

The drive in the Outback is comfortable and smooth, and adequately powerful. It handles well for its size, and it brakes and takes corners impressively

All Outback models come with symmetrical all-wheel drive, and if you step up to the Wilderness model, you get more off-road chops including: Dual X-Mode traction management system featuring modes for Snow/Dirt or Deep Snow/Mud; active torque vectoring with quick ratio steering; off-road tuned four-wheel independent suspension, and a 9.5-inch ground clearance.

 
TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The Starlink 11.6-inch multimedia infotainment system in the Outback is a decent offering, but lags behind some of today’s more modern systems in terms of user-friendliness and smoothness.

Voice commands work great at times, but were occasionally unreliable in my testing. Touch commands are sometimes complicated and require a bit of a learning curve. I also found the touchscreen to be less responsive to input than it should be at times.

The Outback features Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, three free years of Subaru Starlink Safety Plus, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for phone mirroring, four free months of SiriusXM satellite radio, and USB ports in both front and rear.

Things are more positive on the safety side, where Subaru is strong as always. Tons of excellent safety features are offered, though I did find some systems (i.e. the lane keeping system) to be overly sensitive at times with warning beeps.

The Outback features Subaru’s excellent Eyesight driver assist system, which worked well for me even on curvy roads and includes automatic emergency braking. These basic self-driving systems can be a big help to drivers on longer trips and are growing increasingly reliable.

The Outback also features advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with lane centering, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, a 180-degree front-view monitor, rear vision camera with guidelines, Blind Spot Detection with rear cross traffic alert and anti-lock brakes.

The Subaru Advanced Frontal Airbag System offers extreme protection (driver knee, passenger seat cushion, side curtain with rollover sensor, and seat side airbags). The Outback will even beep if your back seat passengers are not buckled up (something most vehicles reserve for front seat only).

Other safety features include a Rear Seat Reminder so nobody gets left behind, anti-theft alarm and immobilizer system, and Reverse Automatic Braking.


MPG

The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2022 Outback are 22 city/26 highway/24 combined. In my real world test, I averaged 21 mpg. These numbers lag behind its wagon competitors, but it evens out because those alternatives have higher overall prices.

And these are decent fuel economy numbers when compared to the SUVs that dominate sales charts.

PRICE

My test vehicle was priced just under $40K; and its base price starts around $29K. For the amount of versatility and space this vehicle provides, these numbers are quite affordable in today’s reality of soaring vehicle prices, and you get many trim levels to choose from, ranging up to the Touring XT.

Warranties on the Outback include: 3 years/36K miles basic limited warranty; 5 years/60K miles powertrain warranty; 5 years/unlimited miles rust perforation; and 3 years/36K miles roadside assistance.

BOTTOM LINE

The 2022 Subaru Outback is a roomy wagon that’s among the last of a dying breed, and I’m glad it’s still around, as wagons are a strong alternative to the SUVs that dominate the automotive landscape. It’s also especially capable of taking the not-so-beaten path if you get the Wilderness option.

If you’re looking to spice up your car search and don’t want to try the usual SUVs everyone else is testing, consider adding the Outback to your list.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2022 Subaru Outback
  • Price as tested: $39,965 (starts around $29K)
  • Best feature: Roomy design, off-road capability     
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Families looking for something roomy and versatile, but different than your standard SUV
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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