The entire Subaru Forester lineup gets a few small tweaks for the 2022 model year, including a redesigned front fascia and an updated EyeSight driver-assistance technology suite. But the biggest news for the 2022 Forester is the addition of the new Wilderness trim, packing a whole bunch of functional upgrades that improve the go-anywhere-ness of Subaru’s compact SUV.
Making its debut Thursday, the 2022 Forester Wilderness follows the same formula applied to the Outback Wilderness. The Forester Wilderness has a 0.5-inch lift for 9.2 inches of total ground clearance, though the Outback bests that ever so slightly with 9.5 inches. However, when it comes to off-road geometry, the Forester is the more capable in approach and departure angles, at 23.5 and 25.4 degrees, respectively, compared with the Outback’s 20.0 and 23.6 degrees. Of course, the Outback’s higher ground clearance gives it a slight leg up in breakover angle, boasting 21.2 degrees compared with the Forester’s 21.0 degrees.
Like the Outback, the Forester Wilderness rides on black 17-inch wheels, though the design is a tiny bit different. Those wheels are wrapped in chunky 225/60-series Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires with raised white lettering, and like on all Forester models, all-wheel drive is standard. The Wilderness has retuned X-Mode off-road programming as well.
All 2022 Foresters — Wilderness included — are powered by the same 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine as before, with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. The Wilderness has a different final drive ratio than other Foresters — 4.11:1 compared with 3.70:1 — giving the continuously variable transmission a bit more low-end shove. This also helps with towing; the Forester Wilderness is rated to tow 3,000 pounds. Yes, the Outback Wilderness has more power thanks to its standard 2.4-liter turbo-four, and no, Subaru has no plans to offer this engine in any version of the Forester, Wilderness included.
The Forester’s visual updo is similar to the Outback’s, with expanded body cladding, Anodized Copper accents at functional points and the extremely good Wilderness-exclusive Geyser Blue paint. The Forester’s roof rack is stronger in Wilderness spec, too, able to support up to 800 pounds — plenty for two people and a large roof tent. Inside, more Anodized Copper accents are found throughout the cabin, and the Forester’s seats are covered in Subaru’s StarTex water-repellant material. Great for muddy shoes and muddy dogs.
Subaru’s Wilderness treatment looks great on the Forester, especially with the 2022 model’s new face. The redesigned bumper, grille and LED headlights have a bit more style than before, though the end result is a compact crossover that’s still just the right amount of ugly — like all good Subarus.
Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance package is standard on every Forester, giving buyers full-speed adaptive cruise control, precollision braking, lane-departure warning and more. The updated EyeSight suite also adds automatic emergency steering, which can help drivers avoid impending collisions at speeds under 50 mph. The Wilderness comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, too.
You’ll have to spend at least $26,320 (including $1,125 for destination) to get into a 2022 Forester, and if the Wilderness is totally your jam, that’ll be $33,945. Only one option package is available on the Forester Wilderness: a $1,850 bundle that includes an upgraded 8-inch infotainment screen, premium audio system and a power liftgate. Look for the entire 2022 Forester range to hit Subaru dealers in October.