The first thing you notice about the new Subaru outback Wilderness Edition is the extra ground clearance, a full nine and a half inches. You need that extra lift when driving on natural terrain.

Beefy off-road tires help too, and an underbody skid plate to protect from rocks and logs. A cool logo doesn’t hurt either.

I guarantee one of the first things many buyers of these cars will do is pick up some dark gray paint to cover up these gold accents that are scattered about the car. They just stick out like a sore thumb.

The 2.4-liter turbo-four provides plenty of punch with 260 horsepower. I like how Subaru marks user-serviceable items in yellow.

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The interior is classic Outback, outside of some extra trim tack-ons. The seats are covered in washable vinyl, so bring on the mud. Like all Subaru’s the driving position is good and most controls are simple to use. A full suite of driver aids is standard. The automatic is continuously variable. It’s huge, but the video touch screen is sometimes slow to respond and takes multiple touches for simple functions.

There’s plenty of room in row two, even for adults. Cargo space is also very good for grocery runs or camping. A group of bag hooks also comes in handy.

Off-road tires add to the road noise, but even around town, driving manners are pleasant and predictable.

So for the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition, I say thumbs up to increased off-road ability, sure-footed all-wheel-drive, and roomy comfort. thumbs down to the gaudy gold trim and slow touch screen. The Subaru averages about 24 miles per gallon with the as-reviewed sticker price just under $40,000.