This is our first chance to get hands-on with the new 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness and test it in the real world. This mini-series of the new Outback reviews is made possible by our friends at the Bean Trailer company. The Wilderness model is Subaru’s latest addition to the lineup, and Subaru says this is the most off-road capable Outback to date. It’s powered by a turbocharged boxer flat-four engine that is mated to a CVT. Naturally this Outback is equipped with AWD and the latest enhanced X-Mode for when the going gets really slick. We will publish a separate Wilderness off-road driving review a little later.
The 2.4-liter turbo-four is rated at 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. The Wilderness is also rated to tow up to 3,500 lbs when properly equipped. In this case, the Outback is hooked up to a Bean Stock trailer that weighs about 2,000 lbs. The team put a couple dozen miles with setup. We noticed significant turbo lag upon take off. It’s perceived as a turbo lag, but it may actually be a combination of turbocharger lag and CVT tuning. The two need to communicate and agree. Once the engine reaches around 4,000 rpm – the Wilderness and trailer take off with confidence. The driver needs to be aware of this initial lag if you are merging onto a two-lane highway or crossing an intersection from a dead stop.
Once under way, this Outback keeps up with highway traffic without problems. When going over bumps, the trailer has a tendency to sway or push the Outback side to side or up and down. I think that using a cushioned hitch, such as the GenY Hitch Glyder can help resolve some of the unwanted trailer to car motion.
Overall, the Outback Wilderness is not a very good towing vehicle. It is OK for shorter towing trips, but if you are going long distance with a small camping trailer – we recommend a larger and heaftier midsize SUV or a midsize pickup truck.
Stay tuned for our full off-road review (without the trailer).