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2022 Subaru Outback to get turbo engine and off-road variants in Australia? Local demand for new Volkswagen Passat Alltrack rivals heard 'loud and clear'

Want a turbocharged Outback? Keep asking your dealer!

Speaking to CarsGuide at the launch of the second-generation BRZ sports coupe, Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read confirmed the Outback Turbo is still well on its way to our market.

When asked if there were still plans – as alluded to previously – to introduce the 2.4-litre turbocharged variant available overseas, Mr Read said: “Absolutely.

“The customer feedback and demand in the market for the turbo model has been heard loud and clear. It’s something we’re working on really closely with the factory right now.”

The Outback Turbo – currently only available in the US market where it is built – packs a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder boxer engine, similar to the one seen in the incoming new-generation WRX. In the Outback, it produces 195kW/376Nm, a significant jump on the only engine currently available on Australian-delivered models, a 2.5-litre non-turbo four-cylinder unit producing 138kW/245Nm.

While the US-market has had exclusive access to the new-generation 2.4-litre powertrains for some time, Mr Read explained the new engine had since begun assembly for cars like the BRZ and WRX in the Yajima, Japan plant from which Australian cars are built.

“That’s not the reason anymore,” Mr Read said of the engine assembly location. “Market timing and what is right for our customer has now become more important.”

The 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has become available at Subaru's Yajima plant, from which the brand sources its cars for Australia. The 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has become available at Subaru's Yajima plant, from which the brand sources its cars for Australia.

Subaru of North America also offers the Outback in a tough off-road-focused Wilderness package, complete with a higher ride height, longer springs and shocks, tough-looking replacement bumpers and small 17-inch alloy wheels clad in all-terrain rubber, as well as improvements across the board for approach, departure, and breakover angles – seemingly a perfect Ranger Raptor-style makeover for the popular wagon.

The brand has even recently trademarked the ‘Wilderness’ name in Australia. When asked whether this kind of model was on the cards for Subaru this year, Mr Read explained: “We’re still monitoring [the Outback Wilderness] with great interest. It’s especially relevant for Australia’s market and environment, and our buyer’s desire to customise their cars.

“There is certainly a demand there for it. We’re looking at some options for that and what we can do at the factory.”

The Outback Wilderness, thus far an American-market exclusive, seems to still be on the cards for Subaru Australia. The Outback Wilderness, thus far an American-market exclusive, seems to still be on the cards for Subaru Australia.

A similar ‘Wilderness’ variant has since been launched in America for the updated 2022 Forester, although the brand wouldn’t be drawn on the chance for a return of the fan-favourite turbocharged XT variant thanks to the availability of the 2.4-turbo powertrain out of Yajima, but CarsGuide understands this is still much less likely than the boosted Outback. Watch this space.