2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: 12000 miles of pain or pleasure?

I was not a Subaru person – until I was. But after so many years of hating the brand, the design, everything that I ‘thought’ it stood for, what is my impression after having driven 12,000 miles in my 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition within only 3 months? Is 4,000 miles a month of seat time enough to sway my stubborn views? Let’s start off with why I’m even driving one.

I was driving a 2022 Volkswagen Arteon SEL-R Line and I absolutely adored this car. It was Lapis Blue, lowered on H&R VTF Adjustable coil overs, OEM+ look thanks to the H&R Trak+ spacers on the wheels, and I had plans for the APR tune and a full exhaust. I absolutely was enamored with this vehicle and everything about it. But, I’m a guy. I like to hike. We have 3 dogs. My son enjoys camping and bike riding. My daughter is an equestrian. My wife… she just needed help. And a lowered VW Arteon is many things; a barn vehicle is not one of them.

I found myself in a position where I didn’t want my wife to drive the lowered vehicle, not really being accustomed to a lowered vehicle in the first place, and secondly not driving my baby! She was driving a 2018 4Runner Limited at the time and was used to the angles of entry to her work, the curb not being an issue, and the meaty sidewalls of her off-road tires. Now, mind you, she’s not a bad driver at all. Arguably so, if you were to look at our driving histories she is a saint compared to me, but nonetheless, I didn’t want her driving it and she needed help.

So the day came I started looking at replacements. I knew I didn’t want two 4Runners, and she was unrelenting that she would drive anything OTHER than a 4Runner. We previously saw an Outback Wilderness and I liked the appearance; the slightly raised stance, the gold accents, and the badging that says “look at me, I’m wilderness-y.” Unfortunately, all reports said you had to wait months to get one in during early 2022. I made a few calls and found one at Capital Subaru of Greenville NC and within 6 hours, she was mine. More on that experience in another post. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled to be driving home in a capable AWD vehicle, and sadly wished my Arteon the best with it’s next family.

In the time I’ve had the Outback, we’ve traveled many miles (12,000 obviously). I’ve been to the beach once (not on the sand that trip though), I’ve been to the mountains a couple of times, we’ve been camping a few times (once with a rooftop tent) and we’ve been on countless family adventures. During the entire time, the vehicle has had reasonable fuel efficiency, and acceptable comfort. In fact, it may be record time that I allowed our dogs into the vehicle before it even had 100 miles on the odometer (and I live 60 miles from the dealership!)

But it’s not all roses. On a few occasions I’ve had to reset the radio/computer system because things would stop functioning. The EyeSight is annoyingly communicative. The seats are hot and restrict airflow. And that heater – my god that heater. It was winter and inside the car at 68* I was sweating. After a few weeks it seemingly acclimated itself and realized it was not in the frozen tundra, but it was miserable at the beginning.

All in all I’ve been happy with my purchase. The culture is not what I expected. While I’m sure there a few that match the <insert your own> stereotype, I’ve found most people to be warm and welcoming. It will be interesting to see what the next 12000 miles hold, as we continue modifying our Outback to fit our needs, and look forward to attending events like Overland Expo East 2022.

What are your thoughts on the Outback Wilderness? Do you own one, or are you considering the purchase? What drew you to Subaru, and what advise would you share with the next person that you met?

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