2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness: Factory Lift, Skid Plate, Double the Towing Capacity

It’s still a crossover, but the Forester Wilderness has plenty of towing capacity for a compact overlanding trailer.

byChris Tsui|
Subaru News photo

For 2022, Subaru is giving its compact Forester crossover a facelift and a new, off-roadable Wilderness trim that follows in the battle-ready, Geyser Blue Outback Wilderness' footsteps. Billed as the most rugged factory Forester ever, the Wilderness gains half an inch of ground clearance over the Forester Premium on which it's based, standing a proud 9.2 inches thanks to longer and specially tuned shocks and coil springs. 

Symmetrical all-wheel drive is standard of course while Subaru has thrown in a revised final drive and CVT "gear" ratios optimized for off-road situations. X-Mode is also a standard feature, boasting Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud driving modes that alter engine, transmission, AWD, and traction control behavior to suit the specific terrain, and now incorporates a new roll-angle indicator. 


Speaking of angles, all three off-road-related angles have been increased. Approach angle is up by 3.5 degrees to 23.5, departure now measures 25.4 degrees—a growth of 0.8 degrees—and breakover increases by 1.4 degrees to 21.0.

Power comes from a 2.5-liter boxer engine making 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. The addition of a transmission oil cooler means the towing capacity has doubled to 3,000 pounds. Not only does the Forester Wilderness tow stronger but it also tows smarter, featuring trailer stability assist as standard equipment. An external air-cooled engine cooler and a rear differential oil temperature sensor have also been added to the Forester Wilderness.

A revised roof rack can support 220 pounds on-the-move and 800 pounds parked for tents and whatnot, up from the regular Forester's figures of 176 and 700 pounds, respectively. 

The Wilderness also sports a new hexagonal grille, textured black trim on the rear, and a bunch of copper trim and stitching throughout. Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires are wrapped around matte black 17-inch wheels. More substantial fender cladding, a front skid plate, LED fog lights, and a matte black hood that Subaru says reduces glare all round out the exterior changes. Water-repellant StarTex seats with hefty rubber floor mats with a unique Wilderness design are standard inside while the rear cargo tray and rear seatbacks are also water-repellant.

Slotting in between the Forester Sport and Limited models, the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness will start at $33,945. For potential Forester drivers who aren't as outdoorsy, here's how the new fascia looks on the upated non-Wilderness model.

Got a tip or question for the author about the new Forester Wilderness? You can reach them here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com