Subaru has a bit of a problem: What do you do when half a dozen automakers have stolen the formula for your most popular product: the Subaru Outback, a lifted, beefy, quasi-off-road-ready, mid-size family station wagon? Seems competitors from Audi to Volvo have a similar product these days, and even Buick got in on the action for a while with the Regal Tour-X. Well, the answer Subaru has put forth is to take the things that make the Outback so popular with its intended audience and turn those up a notch. And that has generated the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness.
The Wilderness trim is new and will be to Subaru’s crossovers what the STI trim is to the company’s sports cars: more of what customers love about their Subarus, but instead of go-fast bits and rally-inspired styling, we’re getting lifted suspensions, more capable tires, rugged styling and modified parts meant to emphasize the outdoorsy attitude so many Subie owners jive to. We took a new 2022 Outback Wilderness for a spin in Southeast Michigan for an afternoon driving it over a mixture of suburban streets, interstate highways and some aggressive off-road terrain to see if the changes to make this new “Outback Plus” have turned an already capable family wagon into something more.