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A blue 2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness is shown driving down a dirt road in a forest, splashing water into the air.

The Quest for Off-Road Compatibility: Subarus That Pass the Test

One of the latest trends for spending your free time has grown to a $20 billion plus industry, making you wonder if it’s still actually a trend or commonplace. That industry is off-roading, and the number of people flocking to this adrenaline-pumping, nature-loving activity is expected to continue to grow in the foreseeable future. The automotive industry’s answer to the off-roading call is evident, with more and more vehicles capable of embracing the lifestyle each production year. This begs the question, what off-road compatible Subaru vehicles can you find at your local car dealer?

Subaru has been synonymous with family-friendly fun and safety for the longest time. However, lately the brand has shifted to include activities off the beaten path, like off-roading. This is especially true when you look at the Wilderness line. Continue reading to learn more about Subaru’s plunge into this fun activity and what its lineup offers.

Subaru Wilderness: A Step On the Wild Side

For years, Subaru has hugged the off-roading line, known as the vehicle that outdoor enthusiasts enjoy. Drive through any national park, and you’re sure to find a handful of Subaru’s parked at the head of nature trails, with their owners happily hiking in search of exhilaration and zen. It makes sense for the brand to show off a bit of its wild side with the introduction of the Wilderness trim. This trim was designed for off-roading with the same great features you’ve come to expect in a Subaru, plus an aggressive and bold style that grips that ground underneath. The Wilderness trim was first introduced in 2021 with the Outback. Later that same year, we caught our first glimpse at the Forester Wilderness trim. Now, the 2024 Crosstrek Wilderness is joining the family. A closer look at each of these shows that Subaru isn’t simply testing the waters of off-roading. They’ve jumped in fully with all four tires.

Outback Wilderness

The Wilderness trim is one of nine trims available for the Outback. It was the first in the Wilderness lineup and has been turning heads ever since. The Outback Wilderness has a 2.4L Turbocharged Subaru Boxer-4 engine with Subaru’s standard All-Wheel Drive system. It also includes Subaru’s state of the art EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which offers some of the latest safety features on the market, as well as a standard Hands-Free Power Rear Gate that makes loading and unloading whatever gear you have simple and efficient.

Its capable engine provides you with 260 horsepower, 277 lb-ft of torque, and a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission that provides responsible handling and impressive suspension. In addition, the Outback Wilderness can tow up to 3,500 lbs. Subaru’s X-Mode is also standard for the Wilderness trim, offering advanced dual-function drive modes that include Snow/Dirt, Deep Snow/Mud, and other options. Its Hill Descent Control is another perk, providing a consistent vehicle speed when tackling elevated terrains.

The Outback Wilderness gives you 9.5 inches of ground clearance and 17×7-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a matte black finish, All-Terrain tires, and a full-size spare tire. Inside, you and your passengers will enjoy a roomy interior with plenty of head and legroom, plus up to 75.7 cu.ft. of flexible cargo space for whatever supplies you need during your off-roading adventure. Also, you’ll love the StarTex Water-Repellent Upholstery.

The Outback Wilderness also comes standard with Adaptive Control, a steel skid plate to protect the underside from rough roads, and a wheelbase of 108.1 inches.

A close-up of the 2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness' tires being covered in mud is shown.

Forester Wildnerness

The Forester Wilderness was launched shortly after the Outback Wilderness, giving Subaru and off-road fans two great choices. The Forester offers many of the same great benefits as the Outback, with a few tweaks to help it stand on its own. Its 9.2 inches of ground clearance, front skid plate, and innovative front and rear bumper design work together to provide peace of mind on the toughest terrains, and confidence with impressive approach and departure angles. In addition, the Forester has a shorter 105-inch wheelbase than the Outback, making it easier to navigate through tight trails.

The Forester Wilderness also impresses with its precision-tuned gearing that allows you to take advantage of all it offers during low-speed climbing up to a 40% grade. It also offers a towing capacity of up to 3,000 lbs, which is more than other vehicles in its class provide. The exterior of the Forester shows off its aggressive side while still giving a dynamic first impression with smooth lines and classic Subaru styling. The Anti-Glare Hood Finish provides you with a clearer sight line when facing the sun, and its roof rails have Anodized Copper finish accents. If you plan to off-road overnight, you can accessorize with an available rooftop tent.

The interior of the Forester Wilderness is similar to the Outback, with premium connectivity and an intuitive infotainment center. You also get the same StarTex upholstery, making your seats both durable and easy to clean, as well as an LED Cargo Lamp for nighttime assistance. The classic Subaru extra wide rear tailgate makes it easier to reach your cargo, and with the rear seats folded down you get up to 69.1 cubic feet of space. Last, but not least, you’ll enjoy advanced viewing with a Front-View Monitor that gives you a 180-degree view of obstacles in your path that you can’t see over the hood.

A blue 2023 Subaru Forester Wilderness with camping bags strapped to the top is shown driving down a dirt road in a forest.

Crosstrek Wilderness

Subaru has added the Crosstrek to the Wilderness family, thanks to the success of the Outback and the Forester versions. This comes after many off-roading enthusiasts have modified the Crosstrek with their own methods, proving that the smaller crossover deserves its spot in the off-roading sun. Subaru has touted the new Crosstrek Wilderness as the most aggressive Crosstrek to date, with 9.3 inches of ground clearance, the addition of all-terrain tires, and a suspension system that delivers cushioned responsiveness no matter the terrain. One glance at the new Crosstrek Wilderness shows you that Subaru was fully focused on its design. It has trim-specific front and rear bumper styling, a striking grille, LED fog lights with an intricate hex design, and more. It also comes with an updated ladder-style roof rail system, offering you a variety of accessories.

The Crosstrek utilizes a 2.5L Direct-Injection Subaru Boxer-4 engine making 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. It has been specifically engineered for improved off-road functioning with the addition of a restyled differential gear ratio and CVT. These changes allow the Crosstrek to perform above and beyond in low-speed situations, when climbing, or when tackling slippery conditions. You also gain increased towing capabilities up to 3,500 lbs with the help of a transmission oil cooler.

Off-Road Dominance With Subaru by Your Side

With the Wilderness trim, Subaru has firmly planted itself as a contender in the off-road space. Not only has it designed the trim for durability and superior handling, but it’s also backed by a long history of reliability, innovation, and top-notch safety standards that Subaru is known for. If you’re in the market for a sporty, fun off-roading vehicle that also gives you peace of mind, the Subaru Wilderness trim is an option you can’t ignore. In addition, you can find a plethora of genuine Subaru accessories to outfit your Wilderness vehicle, from specialized hitch mounts to carriers to rooftop tents and more. Test drive the Wilderness trim today and start enjoying the great outdoors.

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