The 2022 Subaru Outback doubles down on rugged credibility with the Wilderness edition. The 2022 Subaru Outback has the wagon body and standard all-wheel-drive of a crossover, paired with the increased ride height of an SUV. It’s one of the most flexible utility vehicles we recommend thanks to its space, its all-wheel traction, and its flat-4 power.
Sold in base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT, and Touring XT trim, the Outback gains a new Wilderness edition this year with copper accents, nearly an inch more ground clearance, and a more compliant suspension as well as all-terrain tires. The 2022 Subaru Outback is one of those between-the-genres cars. It’s kind of a midsize crossover, kind of a station wagon with SUV camouflage. Yet it’s always one of Subaru’s best sellers.
To excel in a world that favors crossovers, Subaru’s venerable Outback station wagon has thrived by mimicking the trappings of SUV style while continuing to offer the practicality and road manners of a conventional station wagon. It even earns a spot on our 2022 Editors’ Choice list. Its raised suspension and plastic body cladding scream “active lifestyle” but from behind the wheel, it delivers a more carlike feel.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Outback lineup features a pair of flat-four-cylinder engines: a 182-hp 2.5-liter is standard and a 260-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter is optional. Both mate to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that mimics an eight-speed gearbox to mitigate annoying engine drones. Of course, all Outbacks have standard all-wheel drive, which is a Subaru staple (except for the rear-drive BRZ sports coupe).
The 2022 Subaru Outback we tested with the standard engine delivered unremarkable acceleration and lazy transmission behavior. While the turbocharged version was considerably quicker, it was plagued by the same recalcitrant transmission. Still, most Outback owners are more concerned with ride quality and the car’s ability to handle light off-road driving.
With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive, the wagon is easily able to navigate inclement weather and even muddy, rutted roads; for maximum go-anywhere capability, select the Wilderness model, which boasts 9.5 inches of ground clearance as well as a beefed-up suspension, skid plates to protect its underside and a drive mode selector with Snow and Mud modes.
The 2022 Subaru Outback’s suspension provides a docile ride, and its steering is accurate and easy to manage on the highway. However, it lacks any athleticism, which might surprise WRX fans switching to the more practical wagon. The wagon’s standard engine also can tow 2700 pounds, while the turbocharged version can pull 3500.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the standard Outback will earn 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. The turbocharged version sees a significant dip inefficiency, with ratings of 23 mpg city and 30 highway. In contrast, its Legacy counterpart has thriftier powertrains. Its base engine is expected to earn 27/35 mpg city/highway and the turbocharged option has estimates of 24/32 mpg city/highway.
We tested an Outback with each of these engines on our 200-mile real-world highway-fuel-economy route, and they returned an identical 28 mpg. The sedan with the turbocharged four-cylinder got 34 mpg in that same test. For more information about the Outback’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Outback shares much of its interior with the Legacy, and both have comfortable accommodations and quality materials. While Subaru’s cabin design borders on boring, it’s functional and has a high seating height. Aside from the base model, every Outback has dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and copious USB ports.
More upscale features such as a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable front-passenger seat, and heated rear seats are available on fancier trim levels. The 2022 Subaru Outback also has a spacious back seat that offers an extra 1.4 inches of legroom compared with the previous generation. Its rear cargo area provides 33 cubic feet of space; in our testing, it held 11 carry-on suitcases with the back seat up and 23 bags with it folded flat. The Legacy accepted eight and 22 suitcases, respectively, in the same tests.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Base Outbacks feature two stacked 7.0-inch touchscreens, but all other models have a massive 11.6-inch vertically oriented touchscreen. Along with large touch icons and quick response times, the big-screen features a rotary volume and tuning knob as well as some physical buttons for climate settings, which makes them easier to use.
While built-in navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless device charging are optional, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration is standard. Buyers who choose the top-tier Limited and Touring trim levels get a 12-speaker, 576-watt Harman/Kardon audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
All Outback models come standard with the company’s EyeSight suite of driver-assistance technology. For more information about the Outback’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $38,120/$39,965
Options: Moonroof, navigation, and reverse automatic braking package, $1845
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 146 in3, 2387 cm3
Power: 260 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 277 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
continuously variable automatic
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 12.4-in vented disc/11.8-in vented disc
Tires: Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015
225/65R-17 102T M+S
Wheelbase: 108.1 in
Length: 191.3 in
Width: 74.6 in
Height: 66.9 in
Passenger Volume: 103 ft3
Cargo Volume: 33 ft3
Curb Weight: 3973 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.8 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.6 sec @ 96 mph
100 mph: 15.8 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.5 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.5 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.3 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 117 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 191 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.74 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 18 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 27 mpg
Highway Range: 490 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 24/22/26 mpg