New Subaru Outback Wilderness/turbo or normal N/A?

autism family travels

Active member
We are very interested in adding an outback to the stable. I would like to hear what people think about the wilderness with the turbo vs the base model without turbo? I know interior features will be lessened with the base model, but we are trying to figure out if the extra 10g is worth it. Both will be getting modified for more off road fun. Ironman lift, and LP adventure hardparts.
 
As someone who owns a 2.5 L Outback (2019), I can tell you that 260 hp sounds WAYYY better than 182. It's a heavy car. The Wilderness is even heavier.

That said, if you're going to ditch all the OEM Wilderness parts (suspension, skid plates, etc) and replace them anyway, why not save the money and buy the cheaper option? Now, I'd buy the cheapest thing with 260 hp, but that's me.
 

jmmaxus

Member
I own a 2021 Outback Onyx XT which was the cheapest trim with the turbo at the time. I think only the Onyx and Wilderness have full size spare. The base engine at 182 hp just seems underpowered for a midsize wagon/suv. I couldn’t bring myself to buy a base engine with less hp and slower than my family sedan hybrid Sonata. The turbo engine transforms the car and it’s a real sleeper at 5.8 second 0-60 and 260 hp. Also the turbo can tow 3500 vs 2700 on the base. The base engine is already sluggish at 0-60 in just over 9 seconds, towing would much worse.

I knew the Wilderness trim was coming summer of 2021 but we pulled the trigger in April 2021 and got the Onyx and glad we did cause we got it at $3900 off MSRP and 0% interest just before summer of 2021 when things started getting crazy with car prices. The Onyx also has the waterproof seats like the Wilderness which I like a lot. For 2021-2022 the Wilderness was more expensive and had dual function Xmode which the Onyx didn’t have but for 2023 they are priced nearly the same and both have the dual Xmode. The Onyx gets better mpg but if your gonna mod it like the Wilderness lift and tires it will end up like that.

Probably the most important difference is the Wilderness is the only trim without the built in cross bars and it has reinforced rails hold more weight and better suited for Rooftop tents just gotta buy crossbars. If your gonna mod either way id get whichever you can find the cheapest unless the roof rails difference is a must. I like my built in cross bars and they can still hold 150 lb dynamic I don’t plan ever to out a tent up there.


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Markal

New member
I have ‘21 Touring XT, to which I’ve added A/T tires, engine skid plate, heavy duty rear springs, and a full size spare. I knew the Wilderness was coming, but opted for the Touring because of some features I like (ventilated seats, acoustic glass). We tow a 1500 pound teardrop for our camping trips. It goes where I want to go, including lots of moderately difficult dirt roads and trails.

I did not consider the 2.5l versions because I wanted the extra power of the turbo. I’ve had two previous Subarus with their naturally aspirated engine and it’s ok, but I knew it would struggle in the Rockies with a trailer.
 

Jupiter58

Active member
If you are planning on traveling at elevation or steep climbs I would go turbo all day. It won’t be affected by elevation.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
We are very interested in adding an outback to the stable. I would like to hear what people think about the wilderness with the turbo vs the base model without turbo? I know interior features will be lessened with the base model, but we are trying to figure out if the extra 10g is worth it. Both will be getting modified for more off road fun. Ironman lift, and LP adventure hardparts.
The number one thing worth the money is the lower gear set in the wilderness trim. That gear set should be standard in all the OB.

In 2001 I opted for a legacy GT because it got a lower gear set than the OB and it made a world of difference…. Dumbest thing ever was the tall gear set in the OB. My 2010 OB was ok but totally geared wrong. Wilderness is the only OB I’d bother with.
 

Alloy

Well-known member
We had an Onxy XT for 2 years when it was stolen. We are replacing it with a 2023 Tacoma

The Onxy was great until we needed it to carry something. Doing anything with 3-4 people we'd either have to carry gear or bikes but not both. I have a full set of under body armor for the Onxy that I never installed due to the added weight.

We have a 2011 CRV. I can take CRV places the Onxy didn't like to go. The power and four wheel drive of the Onxy is 10X better but the approach and departure angles aren't good. I scraped both bumpers, ripped the plug for the trailer off and bent the exhaust on the Subaru in places I've never hit anything with the CRV.

The insurance appraisal on the 2yo Onxy was 90% of what we bought it for. Appraisal for a 2yo Tacoma would have been 110%.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
To me, a turbo adds a complicated system. Non turbo engines do it all. Unless you live in thin air the turbo adds not much. Go non turbo and everything including maintenance will cost less.

We had a Legacy with a 3.6R.... that was an incredible engine.... and not turbocharged. If you are doing the lift, tires, overlanding bits definitely go non turbo. The turbo is built exploit ALL the power possible to power a STOCK Outback......, honestly the non turbo will be more flexible and deliver more tractable power in a modified rig.

There might be other things included in the Turbo model you will want, but $10K is a lot of money for a vehicle you intend to drive overland where the turbo will make bugger all difference.

I've always enjoyed working an under powered car more than just mashing the loud pedal in an over powered car.
 
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calicamper

Expedition Leader
Just a side note after nearly 300,000 miles in two Subarus from 2000-2019. If I were shopping small utility/ efficient yet off road ability vehicles the Bronco Sport and Maverick both have Subaru beat 10 ways to Sunday on ability, quality and functional space. The Bronco even has a lifting rear hatch glass!! I hated not having the ability to get into my OB without opening the whole rear hatch on loaded trips.. Subaru parts quality has really sucked from about 2012 and on. Its been so bad that Subarus top brass during quarterly investor calls have specifically said they have struggled with parts quality issues and have had to invest more $ into improving this. However they still struggle with this today. Subaru is small and just lacks the bulk volume advantage that larger Auto makers have that definitely gives them more leverage regarding quality parts management.
 

jmmaxus

Member
To me, a turbo adds a complicated system. Non turbo engines do it all. Unless you live in thin air the turbo adds not much. Go non turbo and everything including maintenance will cost less.

We had a Legacy with a 3.6R.... that was an incredible engine.... and not turbocharged. If you are doing the lift, tires, overlanding bits definitely go non turbo. The turbo is built exploit ALL the power possible to power a STOCK Outback......, honestly the non turbo will be more flexible and deliver more tractable power in a modified rig.

There might be other things included in the Turbo model you will want, but $10K is a lot of money for a vehicle you intend to drive overland where the turbo will make bugger all difference.

I've always enjoyed working an under powered car more than just mashing the loud pedal in an over powered car.
The turbo engine transforms the car. It’s 50% quicker 0-60. 78 more hp. Tows 800 lb more. I agree the turbo adds more cost and complication, but there is a significant difference in performance and capability.


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