Best Wagon To Buy 2022

Wagon buyers aren’t left with many options these days. Even Volvo’s moving on. That leaves the best option for those seeking a longroof a vehicle that blurs the lines between crossover SUV and wagons.

The Subaru Outback was bested last year by the Volvo V60 and its lifted Cross Country model. But with the automaker known for wagons barely moving these gorgeous Swedes, it’s hard to justify the V60 as a winner except for those few who seek it out. Luxury wagons, the few that are left such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 Allroad, cost more than our $50,000 price cap, which knocks them out of contention for The Car Connection Best Car To Buy awards.

With a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10, the Subaru Outback hits that sweet spot for buyers with all-around capability, spacious interior, spotless safety record, and this year, a new lifted Wilderness version. It’s The Car Connection Best Wagon To Buy 2022.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

The look of the Outback continues to evolve, but it’s still Subaru’s hallmark wagon. The wagon-come-SUV wears a simple design with body cladding on most models, LED lighting, and new Wilderness models that can be distinguished by their copper accents. If an automobile were a hiking boot, it would be the Outback.

The cabin stacks digital displays for a modern look. Upper trim models make a statement with an 11.6-inch portrait-style touchscreen that does some good and some bad, such as the heated seat controls taking multiple taps to access.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

Base Outbacks are powered by a 182-hp 2.5-liter flat-4 shared with the smaller Forester crossover SUV. It’s fine, but has to work hard to deliver a 0-60 mph sprint of 9.0 seconds, which feels like a long time while merging onto a highway. Buyers looking to get to the trailhead quicker will seek the 260-hp 2.4-liter turbo-4, which is borrowed from the larger three-row Ascent crossover SUV. Regardless of which engine is under the hood, a continuously variable transmission with aggressive gearing for off-the-line snap sends power to all four wheels. Subaru’s tuned the suspension for a soft ride that’s at home whether tackling the pavement or unpaved trails. Wilderness models get a lift that increases ground clearance to 9.5 inches (8.7 inches standard) paired with softer shocks that tend to float at highway speeds.

The Outback treats passengers to comfortable seats; the front buckets cup their occupants with plenty of bolstering and thick, soft padding. Soft materials and durable-looking fabrics on some models add to the Outback’s adventure-ready persona. 

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

The NHTSA gave the Outback five stars overall while the IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick+. Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control are all standard.

Priced from $28,070, the Outback comes standard with LED lighting, power features, and twin 7.0-inch touchscreens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We’d opt for the Premium model at $30,270, at a minimum, which transplants the larger 11.6-inch touchscreen into the dash along with more sound deadening, dual-zone climate control, and heated seats. The Wilderness Edition’s the most adventure-ready model at $38,120 with its increased ground clearance and all-terrain tires.

No matter the Outback, Subaru’s refined the formula for its adventure-seeking wagon to deliver exactly the capability and utility buyers seek without sacrificing safety or livability.

Read all about the winners of The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2022 awards—and find out which vehicles took home our annual Driver’s Choice awards as well as top honors from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.

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