A perennially popular Pacific Northwest favorite receives a refresh for the 2023 model year.
Subaru’s Outback Wilderness Edition SUV hits the streets – and dirt – tempting lovers of practicality and the great outdoors once more.
Outback will be available in Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Wilderness, Limited, Touring, and XT trim levels, starting in the high $20’s and increasing from there. My tester, the Wilderness, approaches the $40k level.
The 2023 Outback delivers the optimal blend of SUV capability and car-like ride and handling with standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Active Torque Vectoring, Vehicle Dynamics Control and X-MODE with Hill Descent Control. The 9.5 inches of ground clearance is greater than that of many SUVs, yet the Outback maintains a comfortably low step-in height for both front and rear passenger entry.
Powered by a 2.4-liter, direct-injection, turbocharged, DOHC, 16-valve Boxer engine paired with an eight-speed Lineartronic, high-torque, automatic transmission with manual mode, Wilderness delivers more than enough power to keep owners smiling.
Subaru’s Outback seats up to five adults in comfort, includes a generous cargo hold that can be expanded by folding the second-row seats flat, and delivers 26 miles per gallon fuel economy down the highway.
Wilderness, which is built with off-roading in mind, includes a rugged trim level that builds off the Onyx Edition XT. It delivers a hands-free power gate; 180-degree front view monitor; and a full-size matching spare tire. In addition, the Outback Wilderness is equipped with dual-function X-MODE; Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires; and unique exterior and interior accents.
Since my tester never left the pavement, I can only vouch for the Wilderness’ smooth manners on I-5, and suburban road surfaces. Outback rides and drives with the comfort of a car, with the added benefit of a design that allows for more.
The suspension has been tuned for improved stability on rough terrain. The front and rear shock absorbers and springs were increased in length to provide more suspension travel to compensate for the extra ground clearance.
Comfort and convenience features are plentiful, highlighted by an 11.6-inch multimedia infotainment and navigation system, StarTex water-repellant seats, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, front and rear USB ports, power moonroof, Harman Kardon audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear vision camera, and push-button start.
Exterior features include ladder-type roof rails with a 700-lb capacity, 17-inch aluminum black wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, exclusive Wilderness trim, and a “Geyser Blue” coat of enamel.
The rugged Wilderness is beefed up for off-road abuse with a Dual X Mode traction management system, active torque vectoring, and a four-wheel, independent off-road tuned, suspension.
On and off the pavement, Wilderness benefits from Subaru’s Eye-Sight driver assist safety suite that includes advanced adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, blind spot and rear cross-traffic detection, anti-lock brakes, reverse automatic braking, and automatic, emergency steering.
I didn’t experience so much as a wobble during my week of traversing streets slickened by wet snow and overnight freezes.
Outbacks are manufactured at Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana plant along with Ascents and Imprezas.
Base Price: $38,020
Price As Driven: $39,965
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.
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