Subaru has been teasing the second model to wear its new Wilderness badge, but has been coy about which model that would be. We had a very strong hunch that it was the Forester, and now that hunch has been confirmed by the EPA.
The Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of testing cars against the same standard to get those mileage ratings you see on a window sticker at the dealer. But in publishing figures for the 2022 Forester, they accidentally revealed that the tall wagon would come in regular flavor and a Wilderness sub-model. The entry was discovered by Motor Trend, and shows that the Forester Wilderness will get 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of 26 mpg.
Whoops! At least they didn’t reveal a photo along with it. The picture beside the fuel economy numbers is still a cartoony generic sedan.
As expected, that’s a few mpg lower than the standard Forester, which gets 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. For comparison the Subaru Outback Wilderness‘ 22 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined sees a similar drop from the standard Outback Turbo’s 23 mpg city and 26 mpg combined.
The mpg drop makes sense once you look at the added equipment. If the Forester follows the same formula as the Outback Wilderness, it’ll have a taller ride height, more rugged tires, and an increased final drive ratio that supplies more low-end torque. The increased ground clearance should provide an improved break-over angle, and if it gets redesigned bumpers like the Outback, it should have better approach and departure angles as well.
We’ve already seen via the teaser that it comes in Geyser Blue, a color that Subaru says was created by mixing a nature-inspired green into the WR Blue of its STI and rally cars. It’ll likely have copper call-outs to anchor points and tie downs as well, with black trim throughout.
Inside, it’s likely to have the Outback Wilderness’ water-resistant materials for the seats and mats, copper accents, and an improved X-Mode system. Also, Subaru’s Eyesight safety system will be factory calibrated to compensate for the additional height.
The Forester Wilderness may even come with additional underbody protection and a strengthened roof rack, as the Outback Wilderness’ rack can support 700 pounds for a rooftop tent.
It wasn’t a huge surprise that the Wilderness model teased is going to be the Forester. The body lines on the teaser photo matched those of the Forester, and by process of elimination it was the next logical choice. But at least now we know for sure.