Its strength is the outback – The Mercury News

Subaru first took advantage of its symmetrical all-wheel-drive system several decades ago. In a television commercial, the men’s Olympic ski teams from Italy and France are shown pushing their team cars stuck in the snow. The US team men’s drives the drifts in a cart very quickly and without stopping.

Subaru then goes through the Swedish women’s team, also stuck. In about a second, the Subaru driver stopped, put the car back and the group of women got in. A man in the passenger seat wearing a cowboy hat said, “Hello, ma’am!”

As old and outdated as the commercial is now, it works. And Subaru kept it up. It serves its wagons and crossovers to active consumers who often drive in the mountains and in bad conditions. It offers special kits for safe travel with dogs.

For 2022, Subaru has expanded its Outback lineup to further emphasize its appeal to buyers who venture deeper off-road. The Wilderness trim has 9.5 inches of ground clearance, a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine, and re-tuned transmission gearing with revised front and rear gear ratios.

The 260-horsepower engine is powered by a continuously variable transmission with an eight-speed manual transmission shifting mode.

The Outback Wilderness also features 17-inch wheels with a matte black finish, standard all-terrain tires, improved body cladding and synthetic upholstery. The increased ground clearance will hinder gas mileage, with the Wilderness trim achieving an estimated 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway. The Outback Touring XT trim is rated the best in the lineup with a 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway average.

Along with its off-road persona, the Wilderness trim is further embellished. Think: a dual-function front skid plate, 180-degree front view monitor, raised ladder type and increased capacity roof rails in a black finish, and a full size -on corresponding to the spare wheel and tire.

Notable exterior additions include anodized Copper-finish accents, an anti-glare hood decal in matte-black finish, badges, headlight bezels and window trim with black finishes, and desert badges on the fenders and back gate. The Wilderness theme is continued through logos on the front headrests and all-weather floor mats.

Sometimes, too much technology and innovation gets in the way of cars, especially sedans. A return to simplicity would have been welcome. This is not the case for a utilitarian vehicle heading into the mountains or deep off-road with other wilderness considerations.

The rugged new trim also features a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, 12-volt power outlet in the rear center console, 2.1A USB ports (dual) in the rear center console and LED fog lights that has a hexagon pattern and LED. rear gate light for cargo area.

Dark tint privacy glass, hands-free power rear gate, Illuminated interior door handles, rear center console A/C outlets, single-touch lifting cargo cover, shifter handle and a leather-wrapped steering wheel is also standard.

With a spacious, efficiently designed interior, the Outback is a less pretentious choice to rival sport utility vehicles. Its low profile and comfortably balanced ride are easy to trust, especially in the weather and road conditions that the vehicle boasts.

Performance cars are often in the spotlight based on extremely fast acceleration times and torque ratios. The Wilderness trim of the 2022 Subaru Outback will never satisfy speed freaks. Its performance when driven by rain, sleet, snow or ice is its strength.

Subaru has also simplified buying the Outback. With a long list of included features and no available package options, the Wilderness trim is priced at $36,995. A $1,125 destination and delivery charge pushes the tally to $38,120.

It’s a best-buy car with one caveat: Owners may be called to find their inner Olympian to help other wilderness enthusiasts in trouble.

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign ups are available on his website, He can be contacted via email:

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