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2022 Subaru Outback: Choosing the Right Trim


As a station wagon, the 2022 Subaru Outback is an oddity in a world dominated by SUVs.

But we have always had a soft spot for wagons, and the Outback has plenty to recommend it.

The big news for 2022 is the addition of a new trim level called Wilderness. As the name suggests, the Wilderness amps up the Outback’s off-roading chops.

Given its unique position in the market with no direct rivals, the Outback is definitely worthy of consideration. Find a Subaru Outback for sale

2022 Subaru Outback Premium (starting at $29,145)

We begin our trim evaluation with the Premium grade, which we think is a better value than the base model.

The base specification is an all-wheel-drive (AWD), 5-passenger wagon design, riding on 17-inch wheels and powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine delivering a modest 182 horsepower.

Power is transferred via a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is good for fuel economy but blunts performance and can make the engine noisy under full acceleration.

Headlights are LED and turn with the steering direction. For 2022, LED fog lights are added. The AWD system comes with a choice of modes for different driving conditions, plus a hill descent system that controls speed when going down steep grades.

The safety system and driver-assistance suite includes adaptive cruise control, lane centering, automatic emergency braking, and more. Optional is a $1,400 package that adds blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, plus push-button start and a hands-free power liftgate.

For $2,995, a second option for Premium buyers adds the above features as well as a power moonroof and 11.6-inch multimedia navigation screen.

Inside, the standard Premium trim upgrades the base 7-inch display screen for an 11.6-inch touchscreen, treats front passengers to heated seats, makes the driver’s seat 10-way power-adjustable, adds dual-zone automatic climate control, heated door mirrors, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Building on the contents of the Premium trim, there is a sub-trim called the XT Onyx Edition available for $35,145. In terms of hardware, the biggest change with the Onyx is the switch to a 260-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The Onyx also rides on 18-inch wheels and comes with push-button start, a hands-free power rear liftgate, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a built-in compass.

Extra safety features include blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and a 180-degree front-view monitor.

Adding in the $1,125 destination fee, the Outback Premium sticker comes to $30,270. Given 3% financing over 60 months and no down payment, that would produce a monthly payment of $520. Find a Subaru Outback Premium for sale

2022 Subaru Outback Premium includes:

  • Large center screen – 11.6-inch tablet-style screen brings a high-tech look
  • Heated front seats – Must-have feature in colder climes
  • Dual-zone climate control – Good for heading off cabin temperature disputes

2022 Subaru Outback Limited ($33,595)

The Limited trim starts with the Premium grade features and adds 18-inch wheels, 8-way power passenger seat, heated and power-folding door mirrors, leather-trimmed seats, push-button start, rear AC vents, 11.6-inch multimedia screen, and Harman Kardon audio.

Standard safety aids include blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic emergency braking.

An XT version of the Limited trim costing $37,995 introduces the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine with 260 horsepower. Inside, the Limited XT comes with the 11.6-inch navigation screen, a power moonroof, and a heated steering wheel. (These features can be added in a package to the Limited for $2,045.)

We think the XT Onyx Edition represents better value than the more expensive Limited XT if you want to step up to the more powerful engine.

If we stick with the same 60-month loan at 3% financing as used for the Premium, an Outback Limited would cost an extra $76 per month. Find a Subaru Outback Limited for sale

2022 Subaru Outback Limited includes:

  • Blindspot monitoring – Useful safety feature
  • Leather seats – Dresses up the cabin
  • XT trim engine – Moves up to more spirited turbocharged engine

 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness ($36,995)

As the newcomer to the 2022 Outback line-up, the Wilderness trim is designed to be more rugged and off-road capable than other grades. Taking the Premium trim features as a starting point, the Wilderness moves to the 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 260 horsepower.

On-road ride is smooth and supple. And the Wilderness is fairly agile on a twisty road too. Just don’t push the car too hard. The body rolls more than other Outbacks, and the stability control will kick in. Subaru has the system tuned conservatively. Not a bad thing if your teen is behind the wheel.

Ground clearance is improved to 9.5-inches, the suspension is upgraded, and the front and rear bumpers are redesigned to deal with uneven terrain. A front skid plate is fitted, as are Yokohama all-terrain tires. And the Wilderness is wildly capable for a wagon. Press the X-Mode button, and torque is routed where it needs to go. The Wilderness then scampers up some seriously steep, rutted, and off-camber hills. This is the model to choose if you regularly hit the dirt.

For adventurous types, the roof rails are designed for mounting a tent on top, and the interior is equipped for wet, muddy gear, with water-repellent seat trim, PVC rear seat backing, and a waterproof cargo tray.

Comfort features are not forgotten inside. Rear seats are heated (as well as front seats), the passenger seat is 8-way power-adjustable, and the liftgate is hands-free power-operated.

A $1,845 option package available for the Wilderness (and the XT Onyx Edition) trims adds a tablet-style center 11.6-inch multimedia navigation screen, power moonroof, and reverse automatic braking.

With the destination fee included, the Wilderness will cost $38,120 for a monthly payment of close to $654. Find a Subaru Outback Wilderness for sale

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness includes:

  • More horsepower – 2.4-liter turbocharged engine helps off-road
  • Higher ground clearance/front skid plate – For more into-the-wild adventures
  • Waterproof interior – Great when you need to throw soggy gear on board

 2022 Subaru Outback Touring ($37,495)

 The Touring trim builds on the Limited features with added luxury touches such as the brown Nappa perforated leather seat trim. Front seats are cooled and heated, the steering wheel is heated, a power roof is fitted, and the 11.6-inch multimedia navigation screen is standard.

There is also a CD player for those who still enjoy physical media.

The Touring XT trim for $39,945 basically adds the 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 260 horsepower.

Overall, we think the Touring trim is not worth the substantial cost difference from the Premium grade.

The Outback Touring costs $38,620, including the destination fee, which works out at $663 a month in payments over 60 months, about $9 more than the Wilderness. Find a Subaru Outback Touring for sale

2022 Subaru Outback Touring includes:

  • Cooled seats – Great if you live in Arizona
  • Heated steering wheel – Great if you live in Minnesota
  • Navigation screen – Large center touchscreen doubles as a navigation aid

FAQ

What is the best 2022 Subaru Outback trim?

For most buyers, the Premium trim is the best buy with a nice list of features starting at under $30,000.

How many mpg does the 2022 Subaru Outback get?

The Subaru Outback gets 26 city/33 mpg with the base engine and 23 city/30 highway mpg with the available turbocharged engine. The Wilderness trim is rated at 22 city/26 highway mpg.

Which 2022 Subaru Outback trim level offers the most safety?

Every trim of the Outback gets the same safety ratings. It earns a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and it has the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

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