The 2022 Subaru Outback calmly navigates the choppy waters among combat-ready SUVs and crossovers, just as it has since 1995. Now in its sixth generation, the Outback doesn’t need a life jacket to stay afloat because Subaru knows there are plenty of buyers out there who will easily snatch it up without any issues. And why not? It’s a cart that comfortably accommodates five adults and all their stuff while taking them almost anywhere they need to go in the rain, sleet or snow.
A standard all-wheel-drive system gives the Outback the capability and toughness any outdoor enthusiast could want. But what’s even better is that for the 2022 model year there’s a new trim level that’s equipped to go further than the rest.
Which 2022 Subaru Outback trim level is right for you?
For the 2022 model year, there are eight trim levels to choose from. Here is a breakdown:
- Base: $28,070
- Bounty: $30,270
- Limited: $34,720
- Onyx XT Edition: $36,270
- Wilderness: $38,120
- Tour: $38,620
- Limited XT: $39,120
- Touring XT: $41,070
As you can see, there is a Subaru Outback for almost every budget, as long as your budget is in the range of $30,000 and above. My test car for the week is the new-for-2022 Outback Wilderness model which has upgraded suspension, extra ground clearance, Yokohama off-road tires and 17-inch black alloy wheels. The tested price is $39,965.
The Subaru Outback has a rugged vibe
You won’t mistake the Subaru Outback for an SUV or any other vehicle it isn’t. It’s a wagon, but its sharp edges and plastic coating make it look much more like the off-road family hauler that it is, as opposed to the ’90s family station wagon that it isn’t (anymore). For this model year, the base model now gets fog lamps and 17-inch wheels, while the Limited and Onyx XT models gain 18 inches.
The Outback Wilderness stands out from the rest of its tribe with its own unique front and rear fascias, wider wheel arches, matte black hood graphics and copper finishes. It also rolls on 17-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in Yokohama Geolander off-road tires.
Is the Subaru Outback comfortable?
The Outback’s interior is comfortable and easy to get in and out of. The seats are plush and comfortable, and all the infotainment and HVAC controls are within easy reach. There are soft-touch materials throughout, and the rear seats offer plenty of legroom and headroom, even in the middle seat.
In the Wilderness trim, there are a few copper trim pieces to complement the exterior ones in addition to StarTex water-repellent seats with embroidered Wilderness logos. Plus, the Outback offers plenty of cargo space — it has 33 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down and 75 cubic feet when folded down.
The Outback comes with standard features
The base Subaru Outback comes with a plethora of standard features. Notable ones on the list include steering-responsive LED headlights with automatic high beams, paddle shifters, cloth seats, satellite radio, dual USB ports and Apple Carplay/Android Auto connectivity.
Upgrade to Premium and you’ll get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat, 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment display and more of USB ports.
Blind-spot monitoring, keyless ignition, sunroof, navigation and a power tailgate are all optional. If you upgrade to higher trim levels, you’ll get more features. Most notable among them include genuine leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and a premium 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
In my real-world testing, my only complaint is that the rear camera quality isn’t all that clear and only shows on a small portion of the massive screen. Also, the 11-inch infotainment screen looks great, but I found it to be slow to respond and I didn’t like the fact that it houses the HVAC controls, which can be detrimental in screen malfunction.
The Subaru Outback handles well even when lifted
Driving the Outback is a comfortable experience, especially if you drive the Wilderness version. Its raised suspension is soft and supple on any road, and it handles corners well at speed despite its raised ride height. It’s definitely not a sports car, so I wouldn’t really recommend throwing it around corners. But if you have to drive on a snowy road or do some light off-roading, the Outback Wilderness will get you there with no problem.
This can be attributed to the trim level’s ride height, which adds nearly an inch over non-Wilderness Outbacks – 8.7 inches versus 9.5 inches.
If you want power, get the high-end Outback
The Subaru Outback is powered by two different engine configurations: a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter Boxer engine or a turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer engine. The former is found under the hood of the six lower trim levels (up to the Touring) while the latter is found on the Onyx XT and Wilderness trims. Obviously, if you are looking for more power, get one of the versions with the turbo engine. You will not regret it.
This does not mean, however, that the base motor is a brake. It produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for everyday riding and some moderate trails. The turbocharged engine, meanwhile, develops 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque and propels the car to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.8 seconds, according to Car and Driver. This kind of power is great on dry land, but it’s also great for powering the car through snowy streets and parking lots.
Is the Subaru Outback safe?
Yes, in fact, the word “safety” has always been synonymous with every Subaru vehicle and the 2022 Outback is no exception. Every Outback comes standard with the brand’s EyeSight suite of driving aids. This suite includes features like adaptive cruise control with lane centering, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, and lane keep assist. Higher trim levels also get blind-spot detection and automatic reverse braking.
If all those electronic nannies don’t reassure you enough, then you can rest assured that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has rated it safe with a “5-Star Overall Safety Rating”. Plus, the IIHS awarded the Outback “Top Safety Pick ” for 2021, so you know this car embodies the word “safe.”
Is Outback maintenance cheap?
Maintaining the 2022 Outback is fairly inexpensive. According to Edmunds’ true cost of ownership breakdown, it can cost an average of $5,135 to maintain an Outback for the first five years of its life. As for repairs, Edmunds estimates they can cost an average of $910 over the first five years of ownership.
Fortunately, any new Outback buyer won’t have to worry about repairs as it’s covered by the brand’s 3-year/36,000-mile base warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The 2022 Subaru Outback strikes a happy medium between a sedan and an SUV
If you’re looking for something more capable and spacious than your average sedan, but don’t need an SUV, then the 2022 Subaru Outback is a great choice. There are several trim levels to choose from to suit your needs and budget. Plus, it costs about $20,000 less than its main rivals: the Audi A4 All Road and the Volvo V60 Cross Country.