Lifted 2013 Subaru Crosstrek With Offroad Tires

Our Favorite Off-Road Tires For Subaru Crosstreks

Whether or not you’ve already lifted your Crosstrek, one of the best things you can do to improve grip and off-road performance is to install an aggressive all-terrain tire. Not only will you improve the look and capability of your Subaru, but you’ll also gain an extra measure of durability over the stock all-season tires. Off-road tires are much more resistant to punctures which can occur easily when you begin driving over rocks and other sharp objects on the trails.

Putting a rugged tire on a 4×4 is nothing new. Everyone does it the moment they get their Jeep home from the dealership. But what about putting oversized tires on your Subaru? There’s a lot less information available on the process for selecting and then installing an off-road tire. In this article we’ll go over some of our favorite tires and address some of the most common questions that people have. Before we get started, feel free to use the table of contents to jump to a section of the article if you have a specific question.

Table of Contents

Choosing The Right Tire Size

Choosing the best tire size for your vehicle is one of the most crucial things you can do before selecting a particular tire. Early Crosstrek XV’s from 2012-2017 can easily fit a 215/75R15 off-road tire without much modification. Newer Crosstreks can fit up to a 235/75R15 since they have a slightly larger wheel well. The 235 can also be fit on first generation Crosstreks, but it requires a lot more work to fit them. In order to fit tires with a larger overall diameter than these two options, trimming plastic, folding pinch welds, and other small modifications are required. We don’t recommend this unless you have no desire to resell the vehicle and are more interested in off-road capability over any other factor.

If you want to keep your stock wheels, you will also need to choose a tire that fits on your 17 or 18 inch wheels. We usually suggest sizing down to a smaller wheel in order to gain more sidewall. Having more “meat” on your tire helps dampen bumps, allows more flex when navigating sharp rocks, and also gives you the ability to deflate or “air down” your tires for more grip without risking a sidewall blowout. We also like the aesthetic aspect of upgrading to a rally style wheel. Tires designed for 15 inch wheels are also cheaper in most cases. For the average person who mostly commutes in their Crosstrek, running all-terrain tires on stock wheels is perfectly fine.

Choose Between All-Terrain and Mud-Terrain Tires For Your Crosstrek

When choosing an off-road tire, you’ll see two common types: mud-terrain (MT) and all-terrain (AT). A mud tire is very aggressive and can provide extra grip in more extreme situations like deep snow, thick mud, and slippery rocks. The large tread blocks and wide voids offer a lot of grip in almost any situation. While MT’s perform great on the trails, they do wear out quicker on pavement and they are far more loud than any other tire type.

All-terrain tires on the other hand are a more “road worthy” option that still allow drivers to navigate mild off-road obstacles. AT’s are still louder than the stock tires that came with your Crosstrek, but they’re far quieter than the average mud tire. The aggressiveness of AT’s can vary widely based on the manufacturer. For example, the BFGoodrich KO2 and General Grabber ATX are both considered all-terrains, but they’re far more aggressive than the Falken Wildpeak AT Trail which is also an all-terrain. However, all AT’s will have aggressive tread blocks and usually side lugs that extend down to the sidewall to offer additional protection. Consumers should research each individual model prior to purchasing in order to see which one is most likely to fit their needs.

We have used a simple formula when choosing between all-terrain and mud-terrain tires. If you plan to spend 20-40% of your time off-road, we suggest an all-terrain tire. If you’re going to drive it 50% or more on trails, then we recommend a mud-terrain. This is an arbitrary formula that we’ve used for ourselves and it can be altered to best fit your personal preference. But it’s a great place to start. If you spend more than 50% of your time off-road but the trails are mild, you can get away with an AT no problem. You can use your best judgement as you select your off-road tires.

Avoid Too Much Weight

A huge consideration that needs to be made when choosing your next tire is weight; more specifically, unsprung weight. “Unsprung weight” is defined as any weight on your vehicle that’s not supported by the suspension. For example, wheels and tires. When your unsprung weight is increased even by a little bit, the effects are felt even at a multiplied rate. Some people say that every extra 1lb. of unsprung weight is equivalent to 4 lbs. of static weight inside the vehicle. This means you’ll feel a significant decrease in acceleration, handling, and MPG by installing a heavier tire. It’s not secret that 2.0 Crosstreks aren’t winning any drag races. Shopping for the lightest options will serve you well as you venture off on the trails.

We recommend sticking with a P-metric tire and avoiding LT options when selecting a tire for Subarus. LT (light truck) tires are typically much heavier and are made for heavy trucks to handle towing and other serious demands. But with our vehicles, there’s not much of a need for this. Staying with a P rated tire will usually save you money and won’t bog down your Crosstrek.

The Falken Wildpeak AT3W is a great example of an all-terrain tire that is available in both LT and P-metric ratings. When compared side by side in 265/65R18, this tire weighs 56lbs in the LT version but only 44lbs in the P-metric option. Not only is it lighter, but it costs roughly $144 less per set. If you’re upgrading your Crosstrek’s tires, we recommend finding the lightest option that will still get the job done. This will help reduce any power and fuel economy losses that you may experience.

Top Picks For Crosstrek Off-Road Tires

 

Falken Wildpeak– This tire has been gaining popularity among small SUV owners due to its aggressive styling, strength, heavy tread pattern, and relatively light weight. It’s very comparable in performance to the legendary BFGoodrich KO2 but without the weight bogs down smaller cars. You need to add this tire to your shopping list as you consider an upgrade.

We really appreciate how the AT3W can do it all. It does very well on the pavement, isn’t overly loud on the freeway when compared to most AT tires, and can hammer almost all types of off-road terrain with no problem. They are even 3 peak mountain snowflake rated which means they won’t harden up in the cold weather like some tires. I’ve watched guys hit pretty aggressive trails with these – not just in Subarus, but even lifted Toyotas.

If you’re planning to get this tire for your Crosstrek, it’s available in these popular sizes: 215/75R15, 235/75R15, and even 225/65R17 for those who want a tire to fit on their stock wheels. Considering everything this tire offers, it’s extremely affordable and can be delivered pretty quick to almost any zip code in the US through Tire Rack or Discount Tire Direct (I’ve had great luck with both of these retailers.)

Please note that the Wildpeak AT3W is not the same as the Wildpeak AT Trail. They’re both great tires, but the AT Trail is much lighter duty and is mainly intended for folks who do mostly pavement driving with occasional gravel road usage.

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I’ve been growing to love the AT3 more and more as time goes on. The more I see other people on the trails with them, my respect for their capability increases. 

Before the AT3 came out, I had the Open Country AT2 and really enjoyed having them on my car. The AT3 has only improved as Toyo has continued to update the tread pattern and construction. The styling is great and they are 3MPSF rated for exceptional winter capability. The sidewall design on the AT3 looks fantastic. It also adds extra grip in deep snow and helps against sidewall punctures. In fact, I was out on a trail run with a friend that got tangled up in some sharp rocks that cut into the sidewall and the tire didn’t blow out. 

In 225/60R17 the Open Country only weighs about 29lbs which is pretty impressive. We really appreciate the bigger alternating tread blocks that provide extra grip and a quieter ride. Toyo also put deep siping in the tread that won’t fade within the first 1000 miles like some tires out there.

This tire is good for the following uses:

  • Moderate off-road use
  • Winter trails
  • Getting out to hiking and camping spots
  • A healthy mix of pavement and off-road driving
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If you want to walk the line between a nice daily drivable tire and a solid off-road option, the Wild Peak AT Trail is a good option. Not to be confused with the Wild Peak AT3W, the AT Trail provides a wide range of stock-friendly sizes and a comfortable drive. This tire is perfect for anyone who wants to tackle gravel roads, mellow dirt trails, and even mild snow. The aggressive siping creates fantastic off-road traction and great wet pavement grip.

As previously mentioned, AT Trail can take on dirt roads, gravel, and mild trails easily. It also handles wonderfully on pavement. However, this tire shines most notably in mild conditions. It is designed to be a well mannered tire that can still be taken off the pavement. If you’re looking for something to take on more advanced trails, please note that the sidewall isn’t strong enough to withstand abuse from sharp rocks. We love this tire! But a person needs to have the right expectations with it and drive it accordingly.

One other thing to consider about the AT Trail is that it does not have very large voids or overly aggressive tread blocks. This makes for a more comfortable pavement experience, but they will not perform optimally in muddy conditions or on slick rocks.

This tire is a great option for the Crosstrek owner who wants to swap their tires for an almost stock replacement, but still wants aggressive looks and basic off-road capability without losing fuel economy and power.

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The Geolandar AT was developed for those looking to buy one tire for a wide range of needs. Whether you’re looking for a meaner looking tire to complete your car’s aesthetic and get you around town, or you are planning to physically push your car’s limits on the trails, the Geolandar can handle it. Many professionals who commute for work but love hiking really like this tire for it’s durability and versatility.

The Enduro Compound that Yokohama has developed allows the tire to resist wear for much longer than the average tire without sacrificing comfort. They stand behind this claim by offering a 50k mile warranty against tread wear. The G015 also does really well in the snow compared to other similar AT options. I’ve taken these into a foot and a half of fresh snow and plowed right through it somehow.

The Geolandar is available in a very wide range of sizes to fit your Crosstrek regardless of what wheel you ultimately decide to use. Whether you want a 215/75R15 for aftermarket wheels, or want to replace your stock 225/60R17 tires, Yokohama has truly delivered a fantastic option for enthusiast road warriors.

Again, we’d recommend this tire for anyone who needs something comfortable on the freeway that can still handle pretty substantial off-road abuse. It’s become a crowd favorite among Crosstrek owners who love hitting trails.

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There’s absolutely no way we can talk about off-road tires without mentioning the American based and American made BFGoodrich K02. The opinions regarding this tire can vary wildly and the discussions online about them can get heated. Some people say “this tire is way too heavy and wears out quickly!!” while others say exactly the opposite. Regardless, BFG has decades of experience in the tire manufacturing business and have established themselves as one of the leading brands among hardcore off-roaders. Jeep drivers, Toyota enthusiasts, and truck lovers of all types have likely run the K02 on one of their vehicles.

In my opinion, the K02 is actually a great tire. This version of their original legendary all-terrain TA that they upgraded right around 2014-2015 has been improved in both performance and appearance. The tread pattern offers a ton of siping and biting edges for optimal grip on the trails. The aggressive sidewall not only looks fantastic, but provides excellent protection and grip as well. The KO2 is one of the most rugged all-terrains you can purchase without jumping into a mud tire.

One of the biggest issues that most Subaru owners have with this tire is the weight. The tire isn’t exactly heavy for what it is, but in many of the sizes that Subaru off-roaders use, it’s only available in an LT version which is simply heavier by design and also far more expensive. LT stands for “light truck” and means that a tire is going to have a more sturdy carcass to handle the weight of a pickup truck. The ever popular LT235/75R15 K02 weighs in at about 36 lbs. and at the time of writing this article, costs roughly $207. Meanwhile, the Toyo Open Country AT3 weighs 32 lbs. and costs $166. Now, we’re NOT saying that you shouldn’t buy the KO2. We’re saying that you need to have all the facts and see if you will be utilizing it to its full potential before you spend the extra money for such a heavy duty tire. If you are someone who plans to hit more advanced trails and doesn’t spend too much time commuting in your Crosstrek, this is a great tire. Especially if you’re like us and prefer to support American made products. We’ve run many BFG tires and have not had any issues.

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subaru crosstrek in the desert with all terrain tires and off road gear

Much like the Yokohama G015’s, the Discoverer is a very mild-mannered all-terrain tire that can handle daily driving and light trail use with ease. The Discoverer is slightly less aggressive than the Yokohamas, but is very affordable and comes in a wide range of popular sizes to make sure you can fit a set on your Crosstrek.

Not only do the Coopers handle really well and provide excellent capability off-road, but they’re even produced right here in the USA. Finding a US manufactured tire at this price point is a pleasant surprise.

Everyone we’ve talked to that’s owned these has mentioned that the grip in the rain is great. Being able to find an all-terrain that handles well in a wide range of pavement situations is difficult, but Cooper has done it.

If you’re looking for a very mild all-terrain and don’t want to exceed your budget or sacrifice quality, check out the Discoverer.

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Bonus Picks: Best Mud Tires For Crosstrek

Accelera MT/01 (Best Overall Value For MT Tire)

Accelera-MT01 mud tire for subaru

 

Despite being an Indonesian manufactured tire, these Acceleras are an amazing mud tire. They rip through everything we’ve ever put them up against.  If you’re planning to use your Crosstrek for hardcore off-roading, this is a great option. It’s available in 2335/75R15 which is my favorite size for hitting advanced trails.

The aggressive tread blocks help dig into slick and slippery terrain, and the sidewall bites into mud and snow without showing any mercy. The embossed lettering on the sidewall even offers added protection and grip in deep terrain. It’s also worth noting that the MT-01 is extremely lightweight. When I purchased the 235/75R15 I put them on the scale and they came in at just under 34 lbs. Most AT’s weigh more than this which makes the MT-01 a very impressive offering from Accelera. 

This is a great cost-effective alternative to the Yokohama mud terrains. If you’re considering that tire but can’t justify the cost, these will treat you well!

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BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3 (Premium Mud Tire For Sport Model Crosstreks)

The KM3 is an iconic mud terrain that you’ll see on many of the most famous rock crawlers and wheelers of all types. It’s a tried and true tire that is ready to chew up just about any rock or mud pit you throw at it. I run these on one of my personal wheelers (an old Jeep) and they perform really well. However, running this tire on a Subaru is not for the faint of heart. It’s almost 50 lbs. a tire in the 235/75R15 size and costs $250 a piece. We recommend running this tire if you have the 2.5 Sport package on your Crosstrek and plan to hit extremely rugged terrain. Otherwise, it may be too heavy for most people’s liking.

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 Always Keep Safety In Mind When Purchasing Tires:

No matter what tire you ultimately choose, we recommend that you put safety at the forefront of your decision. Some key things to remember include:

  • Always buy your tires from an authorized dealer- this is the best way to ensure genuine quality and to take advantage of manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Have them installed by a professional and make sure torque specs are correct.
  • Ask your tire dealer what they recommend for air pressure.
  • Always double check your fitment before buying. Take measurements and be ready to make small modifications when fitting a bigger tire.
  • Don’t skimp on tires- they’re the only thing holding your car to the road.

Lifted Imports is not responsible for any modifications one makes to their vehicle. Please consult with a professional prior to installing any aftermarket parts.

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