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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Long-Term Review, Part 5

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, Outback badging
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, Outback badging

Comprehensive but not complete
The Wilderness doesn't even have all the options possible in the Outback. I'm thinking, among others, of the DriverFocus system found only in the Outback Limited (even though it's less expensive than the Wilderness) and Outback XT. That feature aims a camera at the driver's face to warn them when fatigue might be setting in and affecting reaction times. If their eyes close, if their head starts to droop, a hand reaches out and slaps them. No I'm kidding. Rather, alerts (of course) appear. The message is clear: "Stop and take a break!" Chances are there’s a Tim Horton’s nearby, because, well, Canada.

When you think about it, this may be a ploy masterminded by Tim Horton’s.

Most changes you want to make will lead you to tap-and-swipe the big 11.6-inch centre screen (7-inch with the base Convenience package). Is it easy to use? In fact, it's overflowing with information of every colour, with a weird focus on pink and purple. When I look at this screen, I immediately think of Akihabara, Tokyo's tech district where a jungle of aggressive neon lights glows at all times. The display of the Outback Wilderness (and all new Subarus in fact) rivals the prisms of a kaleidoscope.

Beyond that, some paths to get to a specific command can get as convoluted as the plotline of Better Caul Saul. The only solution is to spend time familiarizing yourself with all the car's possibilities. Even if it means - sacrilege! - reading the owner's manual.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, three-quarters rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, three-quarters rear

For all the tech-ification, there’s no GPS navigation in the Outback Wilderness (only in the Limited and XT). At first, I was a bit shocked, considering the retail price ($43,870, including the $1,875 fee). Then my sons advised me to get with the program, old guy. Who needs built-in navigation when all you need is your smartphone to get you where you want to go?

Anyways, as long as I'm grumbling, I’ll add that the quality of the audio system left me wanting more. Or better, anyways. A simple three-chord pop tune sounded like a cacophonous jumble of notes. Instead of the Wilderness’ rudimentary 6-speaker audio, I would have appreciated the more-mellifluous sounds of the 12-speaker Harman Kardon system included in other higher-trim Outbacks.

Unless this is intentional, a strategy to emphasize the adventurous nature of the model. Because frankly, any self-respecting outdoors enthusiast, upon finally reaching the sanctity of the woods or the top of the mountain, will want to turn off the damn radio and listen for the hoot of a spotted owl or the baying of a moose in heat. Because, well, Canada.

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, at the end of the road
Photo: Subaru
The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, at the end of the road