The Subaru Forester Wilderness excels in real life

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Sabel Courtney

Head to virtually any part of the United States that sees regular snowfall — New England, the Tri-State Area, Colorado, Montana, the rest of the West — and you should have hard to throw a rock without hitting a Subaru. The automaker’s all-wheel-drive goods have long been the rides of choice for people who want the all-wheel-drive capabilities, go anywhere, fucking blizzard at full speed from a truck or SUV, but without tiptoe ride height or dismal fuel economy.

Given how much buyers these days love anything to do with landing and off-roading – it’s almost like there’s some kind of disease that makes people want to keep their distance each other – it was no surprise when Subaru opted to follow everyone from Land Rover to Ford into the trail space with a new sub-brand called Wilderness. First appearing as part of the Outback range before expanding to the Forester, Wilderness models focus on the essentials of off-roading: increased ground clearance, stronger tires and better visibility.

Of course, as with all SUVs, the vast, vast majority of Wilderness models will spend the vast, vast majority of their time on the sidewalk, oscillating between work and school and the store and home. So, after taking the Forester Wilderness off the beaten path on our first ride in Oregon, we decided to test it a little closer to home the second time around: on the streets of New York and New Jersey.

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The Forester Wilderness, simply put, handles whatever life throws at it

Yes, the Forester might not be the most exciting machine in the Subaru arsenal. Even its slightly larger sibling, the Outback, packs more bang; its wagon-based body looks cooler and it offers the choice of a turbocharged engine. Going for the Wilderness version of Subie’s cute ‘ute doesn’t bring any extra power, but in all honesty, you don’t need more than his 182 ponies for day-to-day tasks. Granted, you might want more, but the flat-four is more than powerful enough to blend down busy highways and into the fast lane…as long as you’re not afraid to bury the throttle. .

But the Forester Wilderness offers a compelling set of features and functionality perfectly suited to real-world life, plus some surprisingly off-the-beaten-path banter. Those thick-walled, off-road-ready tires and trail-ready suspension—with, remember, 9.2 inches of ground clearance—give it a delightfully supple and comfortable ride over the rough pavement that is much of America’s highways. The StarTex leatherette seats are just as comfortable as the (cheap) real cowhide of any comparably priced car, but they’re also fully liquid-resistant, a fact that’s just as valuable to parents and caregivers. dog owners than for muddy off-roaders. . And while it’s not a Wilderness-exclusive trait, the Forester’s epic expanse of glass—giant sunroof, tall windshield, tall greenhouse—makes the interior a light, airy place that makes this crossover feel bigger than it is on the inside…and it’s surprisingly big already.

And the Forester Wilderness is a bargain, to boot

Granted, the recent wave of inflation has pushed average new car transaction prices to new highs, but even before chip shortages and supply chain issues and other issues (umcovid, um) raised their heads, the average price of new cars hovered around $38,000.

Even by those pre-craze numbers, let alone today, the Forester Wilderness’ $34,000 price tag seems like a bargain. That’s about the starting price of a Bronco or Wrangler – and while those may be more capable in the end, this Forester can keep up with them 90% of the way off-road, while still handling better passengers during all this time on the sidewalk. In fact, the Forester Wilderness might just be one of the best deals on the automotive market today.

Subaru Forester Wilder 2022

Base price: $33,945

Powertrain: 2.5-liter flat-four; continuously variable transmission; all-wheel drive

Power: 182

Torque: 176 lb-ft

EPA Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city, 28 mpg highway

Seats: 5

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