2022 Subaru Forester Interior Features and Seating Options

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A Step-Above Interior

In its earlier incarnations, Forester tended to have what can euphemistically be called a “cheap-and-cheerful” interior, with far too much black plastic and generic seats. The entire Forester line — indeed, pretty much all Subaru models — has moved up several notches in recent years.

The cabin is far more attractive, with the Wilderness edition featuring details like copper-hued double-stitching on the instrument panel, doors, and seats, as well as anodized and gunmetal accents and alloy pedal covers.

The seats are not only better looking but far more comfortable on a long journey. And, appropriately enough, they’re particularly supportive when jouncing down a rugged trail.

For 2022, Subaru offers a wide range of trim packages for Forester buyers. You can get into the compact crossover for as little as $25,195. The Wilderness package starts at $32,820 — before factoring in delivery charges and other fees. That’s not much less than the top-line — albeit less backwoods-ready — Touring model, at $35,295.

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With You for Trail After Trail

You and your Forester Wilderness are going to see a lot of backcountry together – 97% of Forester models sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today[217]. That’s more than the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CRV[217]. That kind of trusted reliability is why Subaru vehicles hold their value better than any other brand, according to ALG[203].

What are the Forester fuel economy and performance specs?

And here’s the downside. The Forester can only be had with a 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine good for 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, which is low for the segment. It is exclusively paired to all-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission, which somewhat simulates the gear shifts of a normal automatic. Its set ratios are altered in the Wilderness for sharper response and performance better suited to driving off-road.

Fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined in all Foresters but the Wilderness. Its different transmission ratios, all-terrain tires and altered aerodynamics result in lower figures of 25 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.

Fold-Down Rear Seats With Protective Seat-Back Material

60/40-split fold-down rear seatbacks give you the flexibility to accommodate even more cargo and feature protective material to stand up to wear and tear from passengers, pets, and gear.

Putting the Emphasis on Functional

To transform the Forester into a Wilderness model,

To transform the Forester into a Wilderness model, Subaru started out with some basic design tweaks. It gets a distinctive grille, a black antiglare decal on the hood, and unique, hexagonal LED fog lamps. The black cladding is larger than on the rest of the lineup, and the exterior mirror housings are unpainted, making them less likely to be scratched up.

Indeed, virtually all the exterior changes are functional, notably the skid plate under the engine compartment — with additional underbody protection available at a surprisingly reasonable price.

The Wilderness model’s ground clearance, meanwhile, has been raised from 8.7 to 9.2 inches. Forester’s angle of approach also goes from 20.0 degrees to 23.5 degrees with the Wilderness package.

The angle of departure jumps from 24.6 to 25.4 degrees, and the SUV’s breakover angle climbs from 19.6 to 21.0 degrees. As I would soon find out, those minor increases could make a major difference out on the trail.

About half of my long day’s journey was spent off-road, with a broad mix of mud and ruts, a bit of rock crawling, and the occasional splash through a creek. Forester’s 17-inch Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires seldom lost their grip, whatever they faced. (And kudos to Subaru for offering a full-size spare tucked away under the cargo floor.)

Unleash the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness Specs

It starts with ground clearance — the key to clearing bigger, tougher obstacles. With a bump up to 9.2-inches of ground clearance, the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness soars above ruts, rocks, and muddy pits. But getting through without a scratch is only possible if the bodywork is optimized for the task. Redesigned front/rear bumpers give an impressive 23.5-degree approach and 25.4-degree departure angle, standard skid plates join in to protect vital components, and hexagonal LED fog lights help illuminate the path ahead.

The third ingredient to conquering obstacles is unwavering traction. Thanks to standard Yokohama GEOLANDAR® all-terrain tires wrapped around distinct 17-inch alloy wheels, the Subaru Forester Wilderness can push through the most challenging stuff (a full-size spare tire is also included for added confidence). The 182 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder SUBARU BOXER® engine sends power through the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with re-tuned transmission ratios that have been optimized for low-speed crawling and climbing on grades of up to 40 percent.

An upgraded dual-function X-MODE takes the traction even further with new tricks like angle detection. Other additions include a glare-reducing hood accent. A 180-degree front camera system. Reworked roof rails that can hold more weight. Rugged blacked-out body cladding. With an upgraded towing capacity of 3,000 pounds1 when properly equipped, the Subaru Forester Wilderness is ready for any expedition. With up to an EPA-estimated 25 mpg city / 28 mpg highway2, those expeditions can go further, too.

Are the Subaru Wilderness Edition interiors better?

2022 Subaru Forester interior | Subaru
2022 Subaru Forester interior | Subaru

RELATED: The 2022 Subaru Forester Is Unstoppable

The main draw of the Wilderness trim is the upgraded suspension, higher ground clearance, and added body armor. However, one of the best parts about the Forester Wilderness is that it finally made the Forester almost cool. 

The interior has a few very subtle details that managed to elevate the style of the whole car. The Wilderness Edition has multiple orange/gold anodized accents throughout the cabin. The steering wheel, gear selector, stitching, floor mats, and more carry this color scheme across the car, even some exterior accents. 

If such little interior style accents can turn a boring cool almost cool, then what would a whole new interior do for the surprising off-roader. This is what makes the Subaru interiors irritating. The cars have this strange potential to be cool, almost like a “Hawaiian” shirt; Sometimes, you see one in the wild, and the dad wearing it somehow manages to have a nonchalant coolness. But then you see other tropical short-sleeve button-ups, and there isn’t coolness within miles. 

Something almost cool is kind of worse than something that is clearly lame. Cars might be the truest example of this. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Forester and the Forester Wilderness?

The Subaru Forester Wilderness can be considered an off-road conquering trim level for the “normal” Subaru Forester. It raises the ground clearance, optimizes the approach/departure angles with new bodywork, increases the towing capacity, offers standard all-terrain tires and exclusive wheels, has a re-tuned transmission, a 180-degree front camera system, strengthened roof rails, and many more all-terrain optimized features over the “normal” Subaru Forester.

How much can the Subaru Forester Wilderness tow?

With upgraded oil coolers and a re-tuned transmission, the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness can double the towing capacity of a “normal” Subaru Forester. For reference, that “normal” towing capacity is 1,500 lbs1 when properly equipped; the Subaru Forester Wilderness towing capacity can reach 3,000 lbs1 when properly equipped.

Is the Subaru Forester Wilderness lifted?

Yes, the Subaru Forester Wilderness is lifted to provide 9.2-inches of ground clearance. But any lifted off-road vehicle needs more than just ground clearance; with new bumpers that optimize approach/departure angles and standard skid plate armor, you’ll be able to tackle the toughest obstacles with ease when you choose a Forester Wilderness.

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