We dare you to name a trend that’s hotter and more popular than lifted trucks with bigger wheel and tire packages. Looks can kill, but nothing beats having a vehicle you can trust to go anywhere. Something dependable when exploring trails on the weekend and overlanding new adventures, or getting you out of a jam in poor weather conditions.
Lifting trucks with an all-new suspension and wheel and tire combo is one of the first upgrades truck owners do, thus making it one of the biggest services offered by auto shops. But such a popular mod has its drawbacks. Like when you feel you’re blending in with the crowd, the only distinction being who is in the driver’s seat. You know that saying, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Well, not all those who desire aftermarket lifts or wheel and tire packages want to see it on a truck. We know, crazy right? A new trend—the Subaru Crosstrek.
Now, before you exit out of this post shaking your head and cussin’ our name, hear us out. The Subaru badge has long been trusted as one of those vehicles that can get you deep into an adventure and get you back in one piece. And that’s all while being mindful of your wallet at purchase and at the gas pump thereafter. While we’re most familiar with the WRX ruling the streets and rally, the Subaru Crosstrek is carving out a niche of its very own and putting its own spin on what it means to head off road.
To many, the Subaru Crosstrek is the hippie love child of a dying sedan and boring crossover—’70s orange and all. And to the naked eye, you would be correct. However, its respectable wheel base, great drivetrain, and dependable power plant have dubbed it a new trailblazer. Yes, owners are opting for upgraded wheel and tire packages that are more aggressive to handle the road less traveled.
Subaru Crosstrek, Clearing the Way
But before we jump into more aggressive wheel and tire packages for the Subaru Crosstrek, we really need to talk about attaining the proper clearance. To fit something like a 28″ tall tire, you’ll need to invest in a lift kit first. Luckily, suppliers like Anderson Design-Fab make systems for these vehicles, and they install with ease. Late model Crosstreks generally can be fitted with 1-2 inches of lift, with older models being able to accommodate up to six inches in some cases! In either scenario, when these kits are paired with the right aggressive wheel and tire packages, some serious gains in ride height can be achieved.
Spacers are important when lifting something like a Crosstrek. Just like a truck, the front is fitted with spacers on top of the struts. The rear will use sub-frame spacers in conjunction with spacers for the struts to achieve the actual lift. For those kits reaching upwards of 4-6 inches, the differential and brake lines, along with other systems, will need to be lengthened and relocated in order to work properly. After these kits are installed, an alignment will be in order.
Tire-d of the Same Ol’, Same Ol’?
Acceptable tire sizes will, of course, be dependent upon the amount of lift you have. Be warned, a big off-road tire for something like a truck isn’t going to work…even if you have a 6″ lift. As mentioned above, a 28-30″ tire is where you want to land. Width wise, stay pretty narrow to avoid rubbing or binding up on the suspension. A 235mm tire sounds really thin for off-road use, but you don’t want to push it much further. Besides, on a 28″ tall tire, this is plenty of tread to give that Subaru Crosstrek a good bite off-road.
Better Safe than Sorry
Let’s be honest, you’re going to have a hard time fitting monstrously wide rims underneath there. And while more tire wall is desirable, you really don’t want to go and buy wheels smaller than the factory diameter. If so, expect to run into issues. For the Subaru Crosstrek, you’ll be working with a 5×100 bolt pattern, just like most Legacy models. It’s a fairly common bolt pattern, which makes it easy to find a decent set of rims to match the appearance of your new tire. Offset and diameter will vary per year, so you’ll need to do some homework in this area.
After the lift, wheels, and tires, there’s only one thing left to do: get movin’! We expect to ruffle the feathers of traditional off-road enthusiasts with this comment but truth be told, the Subaru Crosstrek platform is a perfect fit for the, “Be anything, go anywhere” movement. No, they aren’t equipped with big engines, nor do they have the macho attitude of a truck. But they are nimble little machines, which gives them the advantage of getting through narrow trails with a light footprint.
Intrigued by this topic? Then stick with us, because we have a Subaru Crosstrek build that will surprise even the most negative of readers!