Last year, reports came out from The Drive and AutoGuide that Subaru would be adding some extra-rugged versions of its crossovers, including the Subaru Outback, and that they’d be getting the Wilderness name. Thanks to one of our spy photographers, we’re getting a good glimpse at what seems to be the Outback Wilderness model. Besides some styling details, it looks like it may get a couple functional off-road upgrades.
The front of the Outback Wilderness seems to get the majority of the styling changes, particularly the front bumper. It doesn’t look like it extends as far down as the regular Outback bumper, particularly on the sides. This probably aids the approach angle. Also beneficial is what looks like a real metal skid plate. There’s only one center grille opening, too, and it’s filled with a large, open mesh. On either side are chunky round LED fog lights. The main grille features a similar mesh through most of it, and a center bar with angled cutouts. It all contributes to a more aggressive look. One other interesting addition to the front is a matte black stripe on the hood, suggesting the Outback Wilderness may get some unique graphics.
From the side, we can just make out through the camouflage some particularly aggressive fender flares. They have much taller sections at the tops of the wheel arches. In those arches are small wheels with tall-profile tires with white lettering. They’re likely a knobbier all-terrain variety for better off-road grip and seem indicative of the rubber many current Outback owners have already been affixing to their cars for a more rugged look and extra capability. It’s hard to tell for sure if this Outback has more ground clearance, since it’s accelerating around a small curve. If it is lifted at all, it’s likely a small amount, since the Outback already has a lofty 8.7-inch ground clearance. The rear bumper looks a bit more tucked in, similar to the front bumper, probably both for looks and a slightly better departure angle. The roof rails are all covered, so there may be some hidden design details up there, possibly color accents kind of like the orange ones on the Forester Sport.
The Outback Wilderness, and its Forester counterpart, are reportedly going into production this spring. Based on this prototype, that seems quite reasonable, since it looks about ready for its debut, and it doesn’t seem to be a major redesign. And with production starting so soon, we’d expect to see both models revealed in just a few months, and sales starting toward the end of spring and start of summer in time for the 2022 model year.