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Car Reviews
2022 Review: Subaru Forester Wilderness AWD

Interestingly, the Subaru Forester Wilderness has a lot in common with Star Trek’s starship Enterprise.

First, if space is the final frontier, the ruggedized version of this compact crossover offers plenty of room for four adults and a cargo bay with a respectable 69.1 cubic feet of space. Neat upgrades include the reinforced roof rack.

Like the starship Enterprise, the Forester Wilderness will also boldly go where (almost) no one has gone before, thanks to a raised suspension with a generous 9.2 inches of ground clearance. Tires with a more aggressive all-terrain tread help it navigate both snowy streets and rough dirt roads.  

Power comes from a 182 horsepower, 2.5-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine, which is a little underwhelming but fine for casual motoring. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard on all Forester models, but the modified AWD system on the Wilderness adds an eighth simulated “gear” that improves performance both on and off road.

This upgraded powertrain also boosts towing capacity to a useful 3,000 pounds, which is double what the standard model (and most other compact crossovers) can manage. The main downside here: the Wilderness takes a hit in fuel economy. 

Other handy details include a front skid plate and bodyside cladding to fend off damage from road debris. Also important is the full-size spare tire underneath the cargo floor (an upgrade over the space-saver spare that’s standard across the rest of the lineup).

On pavement, the Wilderness offers a civilized ride quality. Handling is remarkably good, too, especially considering the greater height; there is some body lean in corners, but the vehicle feels reassuringly planted.

While there are no starship photon torpedoes, there is an array of other high-tech safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist (which helps keep you from inadvertently drifting over into the next lane). The whole user interface is also blessedly basic—straightforward buttons, knobs and such.

In short, while it may not get you to other galaxies, the Forester Wilderness will get you far enough out of town that you can actually see the stars. 


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  • Water-resistant upholstery
  • Bright LED fog lights



  • All-terrain tires can be a bit noisy on rough pavement.
  • Drivetrain modifications mean slight reduction in fuel economy.



  • The Forester Wilderness that lots of outdoorsy types have long wished Subaru would build



  • NHTSA Overall: 5 Stars (out of 5)



25 city/28 highway


  • PRICE*
  • MSRP: $34,020