Subaru launched its new rugged Wilderness sub-brand with the off-road-oriented Outback Wilderness — but that first example certainly isn't the last of these new models. Those who like the idea of the Outback Wilderness, but want something shaped a little more like an SUV — i.e. boxier and less wagony — are in luck with the second: the Forester Wilderness will be joining the Subaru lineup for 2022.
The Forester Wilderness is a similar idea to the Outback Wilderness. The biggest change is more ground clearance: the Forester Wilderness gets a bump from the Subaru-standard 8.7 inches to 9.2 inches, and rides on Yokohoma Geolandar all-terrain tires. It has longer coil springs and shock absorbers and special tuning to account for the changes. Visual changes include a new front fascia, enhanced wheel arch cladding, a front skid plate and hexagonal floodlights.
Compared to the Outback Wilderness, the Forester Wilderness has about a third of an inch less ground clearance; perhaps more importantly, it also does not have an uprated 260 hp turbocharged engine. The Forester only uses the base 2.5-liter flat-four that is in the Outback (and all other Foresters), putting out 182 hp. Only having the base engine gives the Forester a much lower tow rating — up to 1,500 lbs — than the Outback, which can tow up to 3,500 lbs.
Subaru made a cool change to all Foresters, including the Wilderness version, by upgrading to a stronger ladder-type roof rack. The new rack can hold up to 220 pounds (+46 lbs from the 2021 model) and up to 800 pounds (+100 lbs from 2021) when the Forester is parked. That provides Forester buyers with more leeway to use a larger rooftop tent.
Starting MSRP for the Forester Wilderness will be $32,280, a little over $4,000 cheaper than the Outback Wilderness. In Forester terms, it's slightly more expensive than the Limited trim but less than the top-level Touring trim. The Forester Wilderness offers one option package that provides navigation, a premium Harmon Kardon sound system and a power rear liftgate for $1,850.