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2020 Onyx
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Goodbye cruel world!
 
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2020 Onyx Edition XT
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I have a 2020 Onyx and will be sticking with it. But if the wilderness had been an option, I would've been tempted, but probably still would've gone with the Onyx. For my needs, (mostly around town and highways, some trails when camping/biking/climbing but nothing too hairy) the Onyx is fine, and what I'm not a fan of (no armor, tires) are easy to correct. Also, not a huge fan of how the Wilderness looks, not that it looks bad, it just looks... wannabee, like it's trying to prove something, like putting a spiked leather collar on a chihuahua. Now if there were no Onyx, would I get a Wilderness? Yup, probably; it fits what I'm looking for more than the other trims in the lineup.
 

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'20 Outback Onyx XT AGM/'04 Forester XT
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463 Posts
I guess the calculus is all about determining your most likely pattern of off-road use before you buy. For me, who won't be rock-crawling (or towing) but who would like to get the Sube out on some dirt roads in the Pine Barrens or the beach at the Jersey shore, the Onyx gives me exactly what I need and no more. Because that "more" in the case of the Wilderness means less mpg and the loss of the Onyx' clean good looks.

I bought my Onyx XT before the Wilderness was announced. Put it this way - if I'd bought a Premium or Touring XT before the Onyx edition came out, I would have regretted my choice. But the Wilderness doesn't cause me any angst over a failure to wait, especially since I was able to get the Onyx at 4 grand off the list price with a CD player.
I drove on IBSP as well as the Pine Barrens and would definitely consider a Wilderness if I were looking to buy today. The beach has been fine in my Onyx (even in deep sugar sand) and the X-Mode disengaging isn't an issue when driving the posted speed limit on the beach.

But when I when I took it to the Pine Barrens, the lower part of my bumper was acting like a shovel. 😁 Probably because I was trying to keep up with lifted Foresters and Crosstreks and taking some trails a little too quickly. Other than the additional clearance, I would love to have the Ascent differential. I'd be willing to give up the better fuel economy for a slightly quicker car.

Hey, could you make a little room please?
512757
 

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2015 3.6R Limited w/ES
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4,453 Posts
But when I when I took it to the Pine Barrens, the lower part of my bumper was acting like a shovel. 😁 Probably because I was trying to keep up with lifted Foresters and Crosstreks and taking some trails a little too quickly. Other than the additional clearance, I would love to have the Ascent differential. I'd be willing to give up the better fuel economy for a slightly quicker car.
Are there organized trips through the pine barrens that you're aware of?
 

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'20 Outback Onyx XT AGM/'04 Forester XT
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463 Posts
Are there organized trips through the pine barrens that you're aware of?
Yes, check out MtnRoo Tri-State on FB. When they have events, they always let you know if stock is fine or if lifted is recommended, etc. Stock is always ok for the Pine Barrens.
 

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'21 Outback Limited XT (CWP)
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20 Posts
I personally don’t see the Wilderness selling well. I have a difficult time imagining a buyer who is serious enough about off-roading to consider a lifted Outback, and doesn’t buy a pickup or Jeep instead.
I bought an Outback because its the best of both worlds. More practical than jeeps and 4runners while having some sort of "soft" roading capability.
 

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'22 OB Limited XT Abyss Blue
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734 Posts
Lets get real about off roading. There is no serious off roading that any subaru can do. Its a great car with maybe the best all wheel drive but really lacks the ground clearance to the body and drive train to do anything serious. For the snow or exploring some desert roads it might be the best road car built but nothing serious. no one is going to put an XT or wilderness out deer hunting or down an overgrown trail with greasewood or manzanita squealing as it peels the paint off with desert pinstiriping. There are no 3/16 steel body panels or rocker guards much less real undercarriage skid plates. No ability or place for high lif jacks to be carried or used. If you want off road, then fuel cost is not a real consideration for a dozen reasons including friction of larger tires as well as weight added for additional armor and increased drag for every inch lifted and aerodynamic loss due to turbulance under and around the lifted vehicle. I want my wife and family to be safe and have advantages over other all wheel drives for snow, desert roads, long rutted driveways in winter and just flat going out fishing. Leave that to your Toyotas, Rubicons or Powerwagons with tranfercases, armor, lockers, lifts, and large tires. Im not ragging on the Subarus as we have had 4 in the last 10 years, ordered a Wilderness, and think they are absolutely great for their purpose. If you want to push the limits dont look for our outback or wilderness. I will dust off the 12mpg PowerWagon check all the recovery and rescue gear and if you are not too far maybe come and pull out whats left of your Subaru. All have a designed purpose. We love our Subaru too much to just abuse it.
Well said.

I think that you've laid out the realistic differences between an Subaru's capabilities, and what a true 4x4 off-roading truck is designed to do. Sometimes, I think that prospective Subaru buyers set their expectations a bit high as to what they can actually do with their new vehicles.

It's not that you can't take Subarus on some pretty rough trails and streams. There are some videos on YouTube that show caravans of various old & new Subarus going over some terrain that will break your ride & remove your paint job (Brucey, you had one of those videos I think). They were fun to watch and I wish I'd been there, but there's no way I would take my wife's new '22 XT Limited (when it comes in) anywhere near trails/deer paths like that. That is something I would have attempted with my old Ford Maverick...

BTW - for those who are contemplating buying a new Wilderness, on YouTube, both Alex on Autos
and Redline Reviews
do a respectable job of showing what the new Subaru Wilderness can do.
 

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2020 Onyx Edition XT/LDH
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Funny, my wife and I just had this discussion yesterday. We already replaced the stock tires on our Onyx with Wildpeak AT tires so it is really just the added .8th an inch ground clearance. We decided against replacing our 2020. Just too similar a car and we will like the better gas mileage most everyday over a different paint job. It’s all personal preference in the end. If we had our old 17 premium then yeah, we would have bought the wilderness.
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT Ice Silver Metallic
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506 Posts
Funny, my wife and I just had this discussion yesterday. We already replaced the stock tires on our Onyx with Wildpeak AT tires so it is really just the added .8th an inch ground clearance. We decided against replacing our 2020. Just too similar a car and we will like the better gas mileage most everyday over a different paint job. It’s all personal preference in the end. If we had our old 17 premium then yeah, we would have bought the wilderness.
The differences between the Onyx and Wilderness are more than just tires and ground clearance. The Wilderness also has different gearing, enhanced x-mode and better approach/departure angles to name a few things.
 

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2020 Onyx
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plus dual recovery points front and back, the stronger roof rack, and the real important part is the black sticker on the hood.
 

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plus dual recovery points front and back, the stronger roof rack, and the real important part is the black sticker on the hood.
Its nice to have the recovery points but the real trick is to not need to use them. When in back country of any sort and somewhat remote, travel in pairs and keep a radio in the car. Have the needed synthetic line and soft shackles to connect to other vehicles. Cell seems to disappear when remote and thats where a radio comes in handy. Recovery points need a recovery vehicle. When the wife says 6 miles past last cell phone service, the 2 meter gets turned on as well as gmrs. People dont think much about it till they are out of cell service. Hmmmmm, too late.
 

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2020 Onyx
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Don't overlook how much safer you'll be with a black sticker on the hood. You'll never travel alone as throngs of people follow you to see what you do with your handsome hood and would leap at an opportunity to help if you needed it. The Jeep guys will be SO JEALOUS 'cause you'll be the one getting the attention no matter where you go. Friends? You'll have so many you'll have to fight them off like flies!
 

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2020 Onyx Edition, Storm Trooper White
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478 Posts
Don't overlook how much safer you'll be with a black sticker on the hood. You'll never travel alone as throngs of people follow you to see what you do with your handsome hood and would leap at an opportunity to help if you needed it. The Jeep guys will be SO JEALOUS 'cause you'll be the one getting the attention no matter where you go. Friends? You'll have so many you'll have to fight them off like flies!
I'm all set to add one to my Onyx. Plus I intend to wear my fake Rolex on the trip. No one is gonna know except those reading this post. Yeah, BLING, BLING, BLING!

😁
 

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2019 Outback 3.6R Touring
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802 Posts
I learned a long time ago, and painfully so, an item is worth what someone is willing to pay.

If people are willing to pay MSRP or MSRP+ then guess what, if someone wants a Wilderness, that is what they will have to pay.
Or you can wait one year to buy one....

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

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2022 Wilderness
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28 Posts
I'd have gotten an onyx (outdoor in Canada) if it was still a model here and the wilderness wasn't a thing. But it was a no brainer for me, dont care about the gas mileage which is small, anytime I'm going for a extended trip.. it's ending in some unpaved logging roads or worse. both could handle it, but will just have more confidence with the wilderness.
Other big plus is the roof rack. getting a wide bar to handle 2 canoes or 1 and a box, without weird adapters lifting the thing up another half foot and just looking patched togeather.
 

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Hello, all! Opinions are like noses, so here goes . . .

The Wilderness and Onyx editions of the Outback will undoubtedly cannibalize sales from each other; heck I struggle to think of any similar examples of "specialty" models so similar to each other being offered simultaneously by the same automaker. It seems inevitable that the Wilderness will end up replacing the Onyx in the lineup.

Do you agree? Or does the Onyx offer virtues that will let it stick around?

The higher ride height and offroad-focused tires in the Wilderness does a number to the turbo's gas mileage, about 3 mpg less than the Onyx I believe. But the Onyx has all the important stuff, including the mud 'n sand modes, the front-facing camera and the full-size spare. And, to me, the blacked-out trim of the Onyx is just about perfect, with the clean front end, amazing wheels and the touch of chrome around the windows that, I dunno, adds a "town and country" vibe. (I like it, anyway) The grille of the Wilderness is too busy, the cladding is dialed up to cartoonish levels, there are weird copper bits I just don't get, and there's a big decal on the hood. I'll take the smoo-oo-th, clean look of the Onyx,

On the other hand, there's undeniable value in the strengthened roof rails and better tires in the Wilderness, but the extra ground clearance isn't, for me, worth the trade-off in gas mileage when the off-roading I'm most apt to do is take it out on the beach at the Jersey shore.

Best thing to hope for is that there's a market for both.
From what i have read (it's very early, with few Wilderness editions on the road) the mileage in the real world comparison from the Onyx and Wilderness are VERY similar. Like car and driver has 1 MPG difference on the highway and 2 MPG combined. Other combined MGP from what I've seen has been nearly identical.

Again really early on. Need more cars on the road. But 1 or 2 MPGs you can easily make up for just babying it a little here and there on the road. Is that worth it for the added light off-roading capability? Probably. If it's as stated EPA 4 MPG difference. That's a total deal breaker in my book. That's 72 less highway miles per tank! (4×18)
 
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