Getting bold – the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness
The compact crossover SUV market is loaded with excellent choices. You can’t go wrong with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4 or Nissan Rogue. But if you want a compact crossover SUV that emits an outdoorsy image, it’s really hard to ignore the 2022 Subaru Forester, especially with the all-new Wilderness trim level.
The Subaru Forester has been around since 1997 and since then has gone through five generations. The current Forester, out since 2018, continues with the original Forester recipe in that it is a five-passenger, 2-row compact SUV. For 2022, the Forester benefits from a trim level already seen on the Subaru Outback.
The Wilderness gives the Forester a suspension lift, giving it a total clearance of more than nine inches. Along with the lift, the Forester Wilderness gets beefy all-terrain tires and a rugged appearance package that includes matte- black trim, a front skid plate and a special roof rack.
A key element to this Subaru and every Subaru (except the BRZ), is their Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System. This system consists of three components: full-time All-Wheel Drive (AWD), a horizontally opposed boxer engine, and a four- wheel independent suspension. All three pieces working together provide a confident feeling behind the wheel of the Forester, regardless if you are on a road or not. A nice thing about Subaru’s All-Wheel Drive system is that because it is working all the time, there are no buttons to push or levers to pull, unless you find yourself in extreme conditions, in which case you can enable X-Mode. X-Mode controls the engine throttle, keeps the transmission in gear longer and maximizes traction to all wheels.
The boxer engine that the Forester uses is a 2.5 liter flat four-cylinder that makes 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. It uses a CVT automatic transmission to send the power to the four wheels.
The cabin of the Forester is nicely done, with Subaru aiming more towards function and simplicity versus trying to impress. It works, as the interior is simple, yet comfortable. Room is in abundance including for those in the backseat. Lowering the rear seats, the Forester earns its utility nature by providing an impressive 69.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
The Wilderness package enhances the interior with anodized Cooper-finish stitching and accents along with brushed aluminum pedals and all-weather floor mats. Star-Tex water-resistant upholstery is used throughout the cabin.
On the road, I quickly learned that the Forester isn’t for those that want a lot of power. With just 182 ponies under the hood, the Forester is hardly fast. But it will meet the need of most buyers, and aside from the lack of power, the Forester drives nicely. The ride is compliant and refined, the steering is accurate, and the brakes are adequately strong for emergency stops.
For decades, the Subaru Forester has always been a competent little SUV. It offers an abundance of rugged versatility as well as a level of comfort and refinement perfect for long drives – regardless if those long drives are on the highway or on some dirt trail. Now, with the Wilderness package, it now looks the part.
It seems like just a few short years ago no one seemed to take Subaru seriously. But lately, Subaru has gone from a cult-favorite to a mainstream player in the SUV market, and vehicles like the Forester is proving why Subaru should be taken seriously. They are simply that good.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness
Base Price: $32,820.00
Price as Tested: $34,165.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5 liter horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder
Transmission: CVT automatic
Horsepower: 182 hp
Torque: 176 ft-lbs torque
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