If there's one brand that seems poised to capitalize on America's pandemic-related increase in love for outdoor fun, it's Subaru. The carmaker has been selling its wares as the perfect vehicles for escaping the daily grind for decades, and ridden that image to sales success year after year.
But with every other brand under the sun seemingly looking for ways to capitalize on the love for tougher, more capable off-roaders, it was only a matter of time until Subaru joined the fray. So it's no surprise that the brand is getting set to release an even more badass, off-road-oriented version of the Outback to join its shifting lineup.
Now, we know when we'll see it. The new version of the Outback, Subaru has just announced, will be unveiled on March 30th. And a teaser image with Yokohama Geolander All-Terrain tires, chunkier body cladding and an elevated ride height gives us our best look yet at the new station-wagon-turned-SUV.
Canadian trademark filings have all but confirmed that the new vehicle will be called the Outback Wilderness, which has a ring to it...if you don't think too hard about how redundant it sounds. Reports suggests a Forester Wilderness model should be soon to follow; if those prove a success, it seems likely that Crosstrek Wilderness and Ascent Wilderness variants will hit the streets soon after.
What will the Wilderness trim entail? Well, we'll have to wait for Subaru's official reveal to know for sure But the photo shows a beefed-up appearance. Spy shots from the vehicle's testing have shown what appears to be a ground clearance increase above the standard 8.7 inches. Based on the press release wording, we'd guess the Outback Wilderness gets some form of underbody protection and perhaps upgraded off-road software tricks or drive modes.
From a strategic perspective, Wilderness trims for the Outback and Forester are a no-brainer for Subaru. Every crossover these days launches as a body-clad active lifestyle vehicle and adventure vehicle with Subaru's massive sales success of recent years firmly in mind; it makes sense for Subaru to up the ante to differentiate itself further.
For buyers, a more capable and cooler-looking Outback option is great. So is getting what would have been aftermarket modifications straight from the dealer — and knowing they'll play well with Subaru's sophisticated safety technology and all-wheel-drive tech.