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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

Fresh from a Subaru dealer, a blue 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness is shown driving off-road through a forest.

Putting the Wild in Wilderness: Subaru Is Your Ticket to Off-Road Adventures

Subaru has always been ahead of the times, earning acclaim as one of the first and only automakers to make all-wheel drive standard across most of its lineup. While this detail may seem minor in the industry, it showcases one of the many reasons drivers are loyal to the brand and flock to Subaru dealers nationwide. Subaru loyalists know the value of investing in Subaru and appreciate the automaker for going to great lengths to make that value tangible.

But what does tangible value look like in the automotive industry, particularly in a Subaru? For many, it’s knowing the inherent reliability of the Subaru lineup and that nearly every model is built to satiate some degree of adventure. The inclusion of all-wheel drive says as much, offering drivers all-season and all-terrain confidence. Fortunately, there’s even more to the Subaru lineup than that. Subaru’s Wilderness trims offer next-level capability without compromise. These trims roll off the production line as off-road-worthy warriors destined to answer the call of the wild.

The Wilderness Lineup in the Making

Veritable off-roaders look for figures like ground clearance, tire size, and approach, departure, and breakover angles. These stats are important, but Subaru deserves more attention and praise than numbers alone. While automakers like Jeep popularized off-road capable rigs like the CJ and Wrangler, Subaru also contributed to the segment in a unique way. That contribution wasn’t with the introduction of the Wilderness lineup in 2022, but with the 1972 Leone 4WD station wagon.

The station wagon wasn’t sophisticated or stylish, but that didn’t matter. Instead, it made history as the first mass-produced passenger vehicle with four-wheel drive, introducing and establishing a new class of SUVs. Today, the Leone (renamed the Loyale in the US) showcases Subaru’s position at the helm of innovation, with the station wagon featuring Subaru’s signature elements of a boxer engine, all-wheel drive, and various safety features that reflect Subaru’s priorities and values.

The Leone gained a cult following, earning praise among adventurous families for its versatility. Looking back, it set the precedent for Subaru’s future in the industry and laid the foundation for the Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and the Wilderness fleet. The Leone puts these models in perspective, making it easier to appreciate their off-road-readiness when they roll off the production line and onto the lots of Subaru dealers nationwide.

It’s All in the Name: Subaru Wilderness Models

Subaru’s signature elements haven’t changed much over the years, with the automaker renowned for using the boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive to offer all-season and all-terrain confidence. This combination makes every Subaru a worthy adventurer that can handle itself in various conditions. However, Subaru recognizes and answers the need for more capability with the Wilderness models, otherwise known as the adventure-ready trims that are part of the Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek families.

The Wilderness models are engineered to venture beyond the pavement and further into the unknown. They offer more potency and capability, rolling off the production line with off-road components and rugged builds that stretch from upgraded roof rails and enhanced drive modes to redesigned bumpers and all-terrain tires. Where Subaru models are versatile and capable, the Wilderness trims are tougher and better equipped to answer the call of the wild.

A blue 2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness is shown driving off-road in a desert.

2024 Outback Wilderness

The standard 2024 Subaru Outback is equipped with a 2.5L Boxer-4 engine that delivers 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, plenty of power to make it agile and responsive. The Outback Wilderness gets an upgrade to a turbocharged 2.4L Boxer-4, which achieves 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Controlling that output is also thrilling, courtesy of the Outback Wilderness’ X-Mode drive modes that add Snow/Dirt, Deep Snow/Mud, and Low Speed/Low Ratio Gradient Control that automatically detects when the SUV is traveling steep grades.

With plenty of power, there’s the question of handling and performance on technical terrain. Fortunately, Subaru thinks of everything, outfitting the Outback Wilderness with all-terrain tires for heightened performance, a retuned suspension, and underbody skid plates for added protection. The Outback Wilderness even sits taller than the standard version, offering 9.5 inches of ground clearance rather than 8.7 inches and better approach, departure, and breakover angles. The Outback’s angles measure 18.6 degrees, 21.7 degrees, and 19.4 degrees, respectively, with the Outback Wilderness at 20 degrees, 23.6 degrees, and 21.2 degrees.

2024 Forester Wilderness

The Outback Wilderness is the most potent in the Wilderness family, but that isn’t to say it isn’t in good company. The 2024 Forester Wilderness uses the same 2.5L Boxer-4 engine as the standard Outback, meaning its output is 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. However, the smaller Forester is lighter and quicker than the Outback equipped with the same engine, so performance is still excellent. Subaru outfits the Forester with a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission with a driver-selectable eight-speed manual shift mode, plus X-Mode with various settings to enhance performance in certain conditions.

The 2024 Forester Wilderness also features a retuned suspension, with longer coil springs and shock absorbers that push its ground clearance to 9.2 inches. It sits slightly lower than the Outback Wilderness, but higher than the standard Forester’s 8.7 inches. Subaru complements the Forester Wilderness’ taller stance with all-terrain Yokohama Geolandar tires, and adds a front skid plate and cladding around the wheels for more protection. These components, rugged roof rails, and the SUV’s distinct front fascia differentiate the SUV aesthetically, with many doing double duty as functional features that heighten the Forester Wilderness’ performance and your experience on the trail.

A dark green 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Sport is shown driving through a forest.

2024 Crosstrek Wilderness

The Crossrek Wilderness might be the smallest SUV in the Wilderness family, but it packs a powerful punch and uses its size to its advantage. Subaru guarantees the Crosstrek Wilderness has the heart of a warrior, outfitting it with the same 2.5L Boxer-4 engine as the Forester Wilderness, delivering 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, slightly more than in the other models. The Crosstrek’s slightly smaller footprint makes this output even more engaging and dynamic.

As expected of a Wilderness model, the Crosstrek Wilderness has a speciially tuned suspension that boosts its ground clearance to 9.3 inches, positioning it between the Forester Wilderness and Outback Wilderness. The advantages don’t stop there, with Subaru extending the travel of the front and rear shock absorbers, and lengthening the dampening compression stroke for improved stability and performance. The result is exceptional, making the Crosstrek Wilderness agile on technical terrain without compromising ride quality or your control.

Putting the Wild in Wilderness

Subaru may not always be the first automotive brand that comes to mind when you think of off-roading, but it’s undoubtedly a worthy contender among those wanting to invest in a versatile all-around performer. Subaru’s Wilderness lineup is an outstanding option to give drivers everything they love about Subaru models like the Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek, but with a tougher, more adventurous design. It’s an approach that refuses to ask Subaru drivers to compromise, offering the same exceptional handling, all-terrain confidence, and penchant for adventure expected of the brand.

Moreover, the Subaru Wilderness family is engineered to offer incredible value at every turn, regardless of the terrain. The Outback Wilderness, Forester Wilderness, and Crosstrek Wilderness aren’t solely destined for a lifetime on the trail, but are so well-rounded that they’re also at home navigating your weekday commute, taking the kids to school, and running errands around town. We may not like to admit it, but it is here, rather than the trails, where we spend most of our time. With award-winning safety features, innovative technologies, and Subaru’s signature design elements, the Subaru Wilderness family checks all the boxes and makes it look incredibly easy.

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