Listen to this article

About a month ago, our spies caught a Subaru Outback prototype with several visual modifications and a lifted suspension. At the time, we thought the Japanese automaker is going to add an off-road-inspired version of the rugged wagon but it turns out Subaru has more serious plans for this year.

According to Automotive News, the manufacturer will establish a whole new sub-brand focused on off-road modifications - both visual and hardware. The division will be called Wilderness and will launch with more hardcore editions of the brand’s two best-selling models in the United States - the Outback and Forester, which accounted for more than 50 percent of Subaru’s US sales in 2020.

Gallery: Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition Spy Photos

"The Wilderness is going to give additional capabilities in those car lines, additional style and the look of off-roading to a greater degree than we have right now," Wally Sommer, president of Sommer's Subaru in Mequon, said during the dealers meeting last week. "It does fit the Subaru character perfectly."

The first to arrive will be the Outback Wilderness which should be launched this spring or midsummer. A few months later, likely with the model's facelift, the Forester Wilderness will join it with off-road tires, increased ground clearance, and a few visual tweaks. In stock form, both the Outback and Forester already have a generous ground clearance of 8.7 inches.

"We're hoping that the Wilderness edition will attract consumers that are active lifestyle families and that do like to go out and maybe do a little bit more off-roading. We're excited about the opportunity to have this vehicle capture new clients in the segment," Patrick Wergin, chairman of the Subaru National Retailer Advisory Board, told the online publication.

Got a tip for us? Email: