Subaru previews more outback- and wilderness-friendly Outback Wilderness

Subaru's popular Outback will inaugurate a line of off-road-focused models bundled under the Wilderness label. The firm released a preview image to give us an early look at what it calls its most capable station wagon to date.

Starting with the Outback makes sense. It's a wagon (one of the few left in America), but its outdoorsy flair is unmistakable. Wilderness models will build on it with a trim-specific look characterized by a redesigned grille, shorter bumpers that increase the approach and departure angles, bigger fender flares, and six-spoke wheels wrapped by meaty tires. Skid plates will protect the underbody. It looks like the suspension system is lifted, too.

Subaru's preview image doesn't reveal these changes, it only shows part of the driver-side front wheel and the most of the rocker panel, but our spies have spotted several Wilderness prototypes testing on public roads in recent months. What's beneath the body remains up in the air. Wilderness models will receive orange exterior accents, so it's not too far-fetched to speculate bright trim will be sprinkled throughout the cabin, too.

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Similarly, it's too early to tell if the Wilderness will use the Outback's standard naturally-aspirated, 2.5-liter flat-four, or if it will receive the turbocharged, 2.4-liter four offered on XT models. Regardless, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) will send the engine's power to the four wheels. Hill descent control technology and Subaru's traction-enhancing X-Mode system will help drivers reach the kind of terrain where a skid plate comes in handy.

Subaru will introduce the Outback Wilderness online on March 30 at 11 a.m. Eastern, which is 8 a.m. in Los Angeles. It will stream the unveiling on its official website and on its various social media channels. Sales will start for the 2022 model year, and we expect the Wilderness will cost over $30,000.

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