The refreshed Subaru Forester lineup expands to include a new Wilderness model for 2022, giving buyers a more off-pavement option in the compact SUV class. This new, rugged offering arrives alongside a minor feature update for the rest of the Forester lineup to help justify a $475 price hike for the base model.
Like the Outback, which got the Wilderness treatment earlier this year, the Forester Wilderness gets an upgraded suspension with an extra half-inch of ground clearance, pushing it to 9.2 inches. It didn't really need it; Forester was already one of the more capable compact SUVs on the market, but hey, if the people want more, who are we (or Subaru) to say otherwise? It comes with all-terrain tires too, so that extra ride height doesn't necessarily have to go to waste.
The extra height brings with it increased approach, departure and breakover clearance. It also has an enhanced off-road program built into its drive mode system that is designed for lower-speed trail driving. This transmission logic allows it to adopt a more aggressive crawl ratio when things get tight and technical.
The Wilderness also gets some unique styling cues, including a black honeycomb grille, more pronounced body-side cladding, black five-spoke wheels and the copper contrast-stitched interior treatment that we now know is a Wilderness signature. What, do you think this will be the last one?
Though Wilderness may be the big news, it's not all of it. Across the board, the Forester gets a revised front-end (new bumper, new headlight design, new grille) and a set of redesigned roof rails that can handle more weight, whether parked (up to 800 pounds from 700 previously) or on the go (up to 200 lbs from 176). That allows for a larger roof tent when you're camping, or a bigger animal crate when you're Mitt Romney.
Subaru's EyeSight safety suite also gains a new optional extra: automatic steering assist. This works in concert with the automatic emergency braking system to help execute emergency avoidance maneuvers below 50 mph. This feature is optional on the Premium and standard on the Sport, Wilderness, Limited and Touring models.
As we noted above, the Forester's base price went up by $475 ($400 in the MSRP alone; another $75 from a hike in its destination fee), now checking in at $26,320. That hike holds true (more or less) across the Forester portfolio. The Wilderness slots in between the Limited and Touring models with a base price of $33,945.
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