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All-Terrain Tires On Your Subaru

You can put bigger tires on your Crosstrek even if it's not lifted

By Ben Boxer

Last updated on March 17th, 2024

Many Crosstrek owners enjoy taking their car out into the backcountry and have noticed the possible need for a more capable, bigger tire. But the question is, how big of a tire can you fit on it?

The folks over at RalliTek in Portland have been kind enough to share firsthand information on tire fitment on their site. They’ve proven that larger tires can be installed on 1st gen, 2nd gen, and 3rd gen Subaru Crosstreks. But before you rush over and order new tires, we’ve laid out some things to consider before trying it yourself.

Table of Contents

Stock Tire Sizes & Most Common Off-Road Tire Sizes

The stock tires that come on Crosstreks are great for daily driving and very mild dirt roads. They don’t provide a lot of sidewall or ground clearance. Here is a table of the stock sizes and their overall diameters. This will provide a understanding for how much difference an aftermarket tire size will make as we continue.

Here are the stock Crosstrek tire sizes and their corresponding overall diameter:

Generation Model Years Common Stock Tire Sizes
First Gen 2013-2017 225/55R17 (26.74″ overall diameter)
Second Gen 2018-2023 Base/Premium/Sport: 225/60R17 (27.63″ overall diameter) Limited: 225/55R18 (27.74″ overall diameter)
Third Gen 2024 and onwards Base/Premium/Wilderness: 225/60R17(27.63″ overall diameter) Limited/Sport: 225/55R18 (27.74″ overall diameter)

While there’s many bigger tire options for Crosstreks, the two bigger sizes that are most popular with owners are 215/75R15 and 235/75R15. Either size can be fit on a first, second, or third generation Crosstrek. For the best mixture of off-road capability and ease of fitment, 215/75R15 is the best size for Crosstrek owners to upgrade to. This size creates little to no rubbing, provides additional sidewall, and doesn’t add excessive unsprung weight that will bog down the Crosstrek’s drivetrain.

But for those who want an even bigger tire, it is possible to jump up to the larger 235/75R15 tire size with a 29.1 inch overall diameter. However, before we go any further please be aware that first gen Subaru Crosstreks have a smaller wheel well that doesn’t accommodate a 235/75R15 without extensive modification. Also note that we recommend using a lift kit when installing a larger tire regardless of the year that your Crosstrek is. This will allow for proper suspension travel without tire contact against the fenders and other parts of the vehicle.

Although 15 inch tires are really popular among lifted subaru enthusiasts, you can also run 16, 17, and even 18 inch off-road tires. 17 and 18 in tires don’t allow for much sidewall and wouldn’t be the best option if you are planning to drive challenging trails that require airing down. Something else to consider is that sizes larger than 16 inch diameter are also more expensive for less physical tire material.

Here are some of the most popular bigger tire sizes that Crosstrek owners use:

Tire Size Overall Diameter
15-Inch Options
215/75R15 27.8 inches Overall Diameter
235/75R15 29.1 inches Overall Diameter
16-Inch Options
215/65R16 27 inches Overall Diameter
215/70R16 27.8 inches Overall Diameter
225/70R16 28.4 inches Overall Diameter
17-Inch Options
225/60R17 27.6 inches Overall Diameter
235/65R17 29.1 inches Overall Diameter
18-Inch Options
225/55R18 27.8 inches Overall Diameter
235/60R18 29.1 inches Overall Diameter

Please note: these diameters can vary slightly between manufacturers.

If you are planning to install a non-stock tire with a smaller rim diameter (15, 16, 17 inch) and need a smaller wheel, check out this wheel guide to see some of our favorite Subaru compatible options.

Choosing The Right Overall Diameter

Worry-Free Fit

Little to no modification. Lift kit recommended but not necessary.
Up To 27.8" inches
4 Most Common Sizes:

Advanced Fit

Modification needed. Lift kit recommended. Up To 29.1″ inches
4 Most Common Sizes:

What Does This Mean?

Worry-free tire fitment:

The worry-free fitment is suggested for anyone who doesn’t want to make permanent changes to their car or add a lift kit. It can be added to Crosstreks that are still at stock ride height.

Use this size to get extra off-road capability without worrying about excessive rubbing, or having to modify your Crosstrek.

Things to keep in mind with the worry-free fitment:
  • First Gen Crosstreks have a slightly smaller wheel well than newer models. Be prepared to do more trimming if you own a 2013-2017 Crosstrek. This size will fit on first gen Crosstreks, but you will experience very minor rubbing against the splash guards. This can be remedied using a heat gun if it’s bothersome.
  • You might need to remove your stock mudflaps and use a Rally Armor style flap if you want extra room.

Advanced tire fitment:

This fitment was tested by RalliTek with a 2 inch lift kit and Method Racing MR502 wheels. Using this tire size may involve minor trimming or heat gun massaging of fender liners.

We have heard from a few people that they are running a 235/75/15 BFGoodrich KO2 tire on 2nd gen Crosstreks with no lift, no modification to the body, and only slight rubbing at full lock. You can test fit this set up, but we definitely recommend a lift kit before putting a tire this big on your Crosstrek.

Things to keep in mind with the advanced tire fitment:

  • Your speedometer will read 2.9% lower than your actual speed.
  • 1st Gen Crosstreks have a smaller wheel well. Be prepared to do more trimming to fit a tire of this size on XV’s from 2013-2017.
  • Removal of your stock mudflaps may be necessary. A flexible Rally Armor style mudflap may be substituted to prevent ripping.

What Do Bigger Tires On A Crosstrek Look Like? Photo Gallery From Real People:

Photo Gallery: Bigger Tires Without a Lift Kit Installed

It is possible to fit a large tire without a lift. We can’t guarantee the best fit with this set up, but you can see that there are options that work for non-lifted Crosstreks.

The only thing to keep in mind with this fitment is that you don’t have much room for suspension travel. For example, using a 235/75R15 is doable at stock height on second gen Crosstreks but it will not leave much space when the suspension is fully compressed. We only recommend doing this if you have future plans to lift it.

Again, please note that first gen Crosstreks have a smaller wheel well area. You will need to do substantial trimming if you plan to install a 235/75R15 tire on a 2013-2017 Crosstrek.

Crosstrek With all terrain tires no lift

2018 Crosstrek

Tire size: 235/75R15

You can follow Jesse on Instagram @iamabanana1984 to see how he builds his Crosstrek. Go find him and hit that follow button!

2021 Crosstrek

Tire size: 215/75R15

2014 Crosstrek

Tire size: 215/75R15

Photo Gallery: Lifted With Bigger Tires

We’ve spoken to multiple people who’ve lifted their Subarus and installed larger tires. Here are some photos with their tire specs included. If you want to see more people’s builds, visit our Crosstrek Featured Builds page.

2018 first gen Crosstrek:

  • 2 inch lift
  • 235/75R15 Falken Wildpeak tires

2016 first gen Crosstrek:

  • 2 inch lift
  • 215/75R15 tires

2020 second gen Crosstrek:

  • 2 inch lift
  • 225/65R17 tires
2013 subaru crosstrek bigger tires

2016 first gen Crosstrek:

  • 1 inch lift
  • 215/75R15 tires

Recommendation From A Reader:

This article has focused mainly on 15 inch options. However, we received an email from Joel who’s running a 16″ inch wheel and tire combo on his Crosstrek. He was kind enough to share photos of his setup and give his opinion after using a set of offroad wheels and tires.

“Hey guys, I was just reading over your article regarding biggest tire size you can fit on a crosstrek and figured I’d give my two cents. I’m currently running a 215/65/R16 K02 on a 16” Motegi rally rim (MR 139). I couldn’t be happier with the fit, and I find it has a good balance between highway driving and off roading. Yes, the tire is slightly narrower, but I actually prefer it that way. Anwyho, thanks for the quality material! I’ll be checking your stuff out more often. Cheers!”

We really appreciate getting input like this from you guys and girls! Thanks again, Joel!

One of the major reasons we focus on 15 inch options in our material is due to the fact that having more sidewall is vital for off-road performance. However, for those who still do a lot of pavement commuting, a 16 or 17 inch wheel and tire combo is just fine and will actually help you retain a little more drivability. You’ll just want to be more cautious on trails and not subject them to anything that may compromise the sidewall.



Other key factors in making your Crosstrek more capable for offroad use

One of the most important things for a successful adventure off the beaten path is traction and ground clearance. A good set of off-road tires will provide grip on loose and slippery surfaces. Installing an off-road tire that’s a little bigger than stock will also offer even more clearance for crossing over rocks and other obstacles.

If you are planning to install bigger tires and take your Crosstrek on the trails, here are some other things that I recommend everyone consider purchasing in addition to offroad tires:

There is an almost endless list of cool accessories and mods to be purchased for your Subaru, but these are the bare minimum of what I have on my offroad cars.

If you want to get a bit more capability out of your Crosstrek, installing a set of bigger, more aggressive tires can be the perfect place to start. It’s an easy mod and gives your Subaru an even more “menacing” look.

Hopefully this article helps point you in the right direction. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out and let us know what else we should cover.

As always, the information in this article is meant for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute working with a trained professional. Lifted Imports cannot be held liable for any outcomes of vehicle modifications.

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