Just yesterday we profiled the new Toyota Yaris Cross Adventure — an example of how the compact crossover and SUV space is starting to lean more into the rugged, rough-and-tumble world of off-roading. At least in name and appearance.
Now, Subaru has joined the party with a similar tact; unveiling its new Outback Wilderness overnight as the iconic nameplate’s new gravel-focused mud-slinging flagship.
The rumour has proven partially true, with Wilderness instead appearing as a trim-level on the Outback. It’s thought that a Forester Wilderness is on the way, too.
The most obvious change to the Outback Wilderness is the additional cladding on all four corners. It gets new front and rear bumpers, a model-specific grille, fog lights, a Jeep-esque anti-glare matte hood decal, wheel-arch extensions, and a new bash plate. Added together, it makes the Wilderness a striking visual package.
My favourite piece of eye tinsel though is probably the smatterings of anodized copper, featuring on the Wilderness’ tow points, roof-rack tie-down points, and new badging.
Where the Wilderness differs somewhat from the aforementioned Yaris Cross Adventure is that it backs up the styling tweaks with a few practical performance upgrades. It sports a 20mm suspension lift, increasing outright clearance to 241mm.
Each corner gets a new 17-inch wheel wrapped in Yokohama Geolander all-terrain rubber, and the model gets new front and rear springs and dampers with longer travel, all of which improves the Outback’s approach, break-over, and departure angles.
These tweaks complement Subaru’s proven symmetrical all-wheel drive system, which on the Wilderness comes with active torque vectoring and ‘X-Mode’ functionality. This is all paired to a turbocharged 2.4-litre flat four producing 194kW/375Nm — an engine not offered in New Zealand.
Those a little more serious about taking their Wilderness into the … wilderness … can option their example with aluminium or steel skid plates specifically built for the engine, transmission, or fuel tank. There’s also an optional rear differential protector, too.
Whether it will come to New Zealand remains to be seen. But, given the thirst for the outdoors in this part of the world, you’d think the Wilderness would be a shoe-in.