More rugged wilderness variant of Subaru Forester and Interior looking for a possible Australian launch.
“There is no secret, we are talking to the factory about it. And they are quite advanced. And we hope to share more when everything is confirmed, but it’s definitely a work in progress,” said Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read.
The Wilderness Outback was revealed in April 2021, and the Forester Wilderness in September 2021. Subaru said at the time it was “monitoring” the vehicle, but did not comment on any plans to bring it Down Under.
While a lot of time has passed since their reveal, the turbocharged Outback XT was launched in the US in 2020 before finally coming here this year so the Wilderness model isn’t necessarily a lost cause.
The Wilderness shares the XT’s turbocharged 2.4-litre Boxer four-cylinder engine, although the US-built turbo Inland produces 194kW of power and 376Nm of torque – up 11kW and 26Nm on the locally-spec Japanese-built XT.
Visually, the Outback Wilderness is distinguished from lower models with a fixed ladder-type roof rack setup, unusual wheel arch protectors, and unique front and rear bumpers, which incorporate brass highlights, unique LED fog lights and a more square design. .
Brass accents are also found on the stitching, steering wheel, gear shifter, and instrument gauges. The seats are wrapped in waterproof StarTex, while the rear cargo tray and rear seats are covered in waterproof material.
The Outback Wilderness has a ground clearance of 241mm, higher than the standard 221mm American Outback.
Along with redesigned front and rear bumpers, the Wilderness has an approach angle of 20.0 degrees (up 1.4 degrees), a breakaway angle of 21.2 degrees (up 1.8 degrees), and a departure angle of 23.6 degrees (up 1.9 degrees).
There’s also a new rear differential with a 4.44:1 final drive ratio. The front axle features the same final drive ratio thanks to changes to the CVT. Together these updates are said to increase low-end torque availability and allow the car to climb grades of up to 40 percent on gravel tracks.
Other changes to improve off-road capability include a front bash plate, Yokohama Geolandr all-season tires mated to 17-inch alloy wheels, and revised shocks and springs.
The Forester Wilderness features a similar raft of mechanical and aesthetic changes.
It has 233mm of ground clearance, up 12.7mm on the rest of the range.
Its approach angle increased from 20.0 degrees to 23.5 degrees, its departure angle increased from 24.6 to 25.4 degrees, and its rampover angle increased from 19.6 to 21.0 degrees.
The Forester Wilderness rides on exclusive black-finish 17-inch alloy wheels in Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires with raised white lettering. A full-size spare is located under the cargo area.
There is a new front fascia with hexagonal front grille and LED fog lights, front skid plates, larger wheel arch cladding, brass accents and matte black bonnet decals.
Subaru has also included a ladder-type roof rack that can support 99kg while traveling or 362kg when parked, allowing for a larger roof tent when you’re out in the wilderness, in the Wilderness.
Inside, the seats are finished with waterproof StarTex upholstery with brass stitching that matches the stuff on the dashboard.
The back of the seat is equipped with a protective material to prevent it from wear, tear and dirt.
It is powered by the same naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine, with 136kW of power and 239Nm of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive.
X-Mode has been upgraded and retuned, with settings for snow, deep snow, dirt and mud allowing for extra wheel slip.
It will also put the CVT in the lowest ratio when it detects a steep incline, and the number of CVT artificial ratios has been increased from seven to eight.
Subaru has also added an oil cooler and temperature sensor to the rear differential and changed the final drive ratio from 3.70:1 to 4.11:1.
MORE: Everything Subaru Outback, Forester