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subaru outback with sparco wheels and tires

Rugged Wheels For your Subaru That won't break the bank

Get your Subaru trail-ready without spending thousands

If you want to fit a bigger, more aggressive tire on your Subaru, chances are that you will need to upgrade wheels and tires. (For a guide on which tires might be best for you, check out this helpful article.) Installing an aftermarket wheel on your car not only looks great, but can provide the durability that’s needed when hitting rocky trails.

However, buying new wheels can be expensive. This short guide will give you some great budget-friendly options for wheels that will work great for trail driving in your Subaru. This article focuses 15, 16, and 17 inch wheels that are available in 5×100 and 5×114.3 bolt patterns that are common among Subarus. These are some of the more affordable wheels on the market that can help get you out on the trails.

Please note that throughout this article you may see us mention certain wheels and say things like “try this wheel instead of X.” We want to be absolutely clear that we’re in no way saying any wheel manufacturers are not good or that they should be avoided. But we understand that people are sometimes barred from using a product solely because of the price tag.

Building cars isn’t cheap – we want to help everyone see as many options as possible and realize that building their dream car may still be accessible to them. When we first began modifying cars in college, we simply didn’t have a lot of money. It took months to save up for tires or suspension parts. So we understand the struggle and hopefully this article helps anyone that falls into that category.

Here's a few reasons why you may consider changing wheels:

  • Wheel & Tire Durability – Offroad wheels usually have a much higher load rating and can take the abuse of trail driving. Also, running a smaller than stock wheel will allow you to fit more rubber under your fenders. A taller tire sidewall will be able to handle the extra abuse off-road and give more cushion against road noise. This will also protect your wheel from taking as much abuse on impacts.
  • Tire Availability – If you choose to size down your wheels, there are a wide range of all-terrain tire options in 15, 16 and 17 inch that will fit Subarus when compared to 18 and 19 inch. 
  • Clear Brakes – With larger tires, you often need a wheel that pull the tire further from the struts, brakes, & fender liners. Stock wheels usually don’t do this.
  • Aesthetics – Let’s face it. We just want our car to look good and there’s nothing wrong with that!

You’ve no doubt seen people running the Method MR502 and other popular offroad wheels on their Subaru’s. That’s an amazing wheel, and we love it! But maybe you want to save a few bucks and try something that’s more unique. Spending $250-$300 a piece can be hard to stomach when you’re just planning to beat them up. Here’s a few wheels that will perform great, leave your wallet more intact, and look aggressive. Hopefully this list gives you a great starting place as you plan out your build.

Here are some quick things to note as you choose a wheel. Double check which bolt pattern you need. If you own an older Subaru (pre 2015 for Outbacks and pre 2019 for Foresters) you’ll want a 5×100 bolt pattern. You’ll occasionally see 5×100 referred to as 5×3.94 which is the imperial measurement in inches. Crosstrek and Impreza owners will also want a 5×100. Almost all STI models use a 5×114.3 bolt pattern as do most newer WRX’s. Many times you’ll see 5×114.3 as 5×4.5 as well. Not sure what your bolt pattern is? I’ve used this chart in the past as a quick reference.

It’s also important to consider the hub bore size of the wheel. Nearly every Subaru produced has a 56.1mm hub bore. This means you need something at least 56.1mm or larger. If your specific size isn’t available, bigger is always better. Even if the bore is larger, you can use hub centric rings to fill in the gap. But there’s no way to fit a wheel with a smaller than stock hub bore on a car without having them redrilled by a professional.

The Sparco Terra has been one of our favorite wheels for a long time. The classic rally styling, the aggressive looks, the Subaru-ready specs, and the price make this one of the all time best wheel options. The fact that the 15 inch version only weighs 20 pounds is another great reason to consider these for your lifted Subaru.

Sparco is a subsidiary of OZ which has been producing some of the most iconic rally wheels for decades. The Terra will give your Subaru exactly the look and fitment you need. Even with the crazy levels of inflation, Sparco’s price increases have been very mild and this genuine “real” wheel can be had for well under $200 a piece. Which in these days, is absolutely crazy.

sparco terra rally wheel on lifted subaru wrx offroad
sparco terra black for lifted subarus offroad

If you need a 15, 16, 17, or even 18 inch wheel, Sparco has you covered. Both bolt patterns are available for Subaru owners across the board.

These are available on both of our favorite online tire shops: Tire Rack and Discount Tire Direct. Tire Rack has the widest range of colors available.

dx4 offroad wheel for subaru

The DX4 X-Trail is an awesome 10 spoke wheel that has a load capacity of 2100 pounds but only weighs 23 pounds. DX4 has been a popular wheel maker in the off-road Jeep community for awhile and they’ve branched into the AWD market with the X-Trail. If we needed to replace a set of wheels on one of our cars right now, we’d grab 5 of these and give them a try.
For anyone who really likes the look and performance of the Method MR502 but doesn’t quite have the finances to get a set, this is a very good option. It shares many of the same design features and and comes with a really nice bolt on center cap to help keep debris out of your axle nut. The X-Trail is available in 15, 16, and 17 inch rim diameters. If you have a Crosstrek, Outback, Forester, Impreza, or even a WRX, there’s an option for you. The best part is that these are about $100 less per wheel than most of the other wheels of this particular style.

Like the X-Trail, the Pocket is another very affordable aluminum allow wheel with aggressive styling that resembles some of the more expensive options out there. The Pocket really reminds me of a cross between the Fifteen52 wheels and a Black Rhino Boxer. It also has some classic steel “D-Hole” wheel characteristics. We really like this one a lot.
The Pocket weighs in at only 22 pounds and has a slightly lower load capacity than the X-Trail at 1875 pounds. We couldn’t find it in any sizes other than 15 inches. So this one will be a bit less versatile for those of you with certain Outbacks and other Subarus with larger brakes. However, if you’re driving a Crosstrek, Impreza, or something a tad bit older, this is a great wheel. We really want to give these a shot the next chance we get.
If you’re considering the Black Rhino Boxer and the price is the only thing holding you back, this may be a great option that still meets your styling tastes. Currently, Discount Tire Direct seems to be the best place to purchase these.

Motegi MR139 offroad wheel for subaru

A rally inspired wheel with a functional full face design. The MR139 not only looks great, but it performs fantastically. Weighing only 19 pounds, it won’t bog down your Subaru or take away from the functionality. A great option for anyone who’s considering the Method MR502 but wants to save a little extra money.

We think they look great on any Subaru build. Check out this lifted Crosstrek running black Motegi MR139’s:

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Motegi has been growing on us as a really solid wheel manufacturer. We’ve used their Traklites on other vehicles for daily driving and even the Ferrari race team has partnered with Motegi to keep their cars planted to the track. For an awesome value and great looking wheel, we definitely recommend looking into them as an option.

Here are some of the best places to get a set:

ProCOMP-52 subaru wheel for offroad

Made to withstand the abuse of intense wheeling, the Pro Comp 51’s will gladly take what you throw at it. They are available in a few sizes, but 15×8 is perfect for Subaru drivers who want a great, functional fit. The best part of all, this wheel is usually very affordable at most places.

One thing to remember is that any steel wheel is going to be somewhat heavy. Be prepared for slightly slower acceleration when running a steel wheel.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that this wheel comes in a 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern (5×114.3) so you will need to purchase adapters to fit these to most Subaru’s. This wheel may also require that you have them balanced at a shop that offers lug-centric balancing.

Bassett-racing-wheels for offroad subaru
The Bassett racing wheels look great, handle a load of abuse, and don’t weigh a ton. On top of all that, they are relatively inexpensive and come in 5×100.

Many people love the classic red stripe and D-hole pattern on the Bassett steelies. They can be purchased with a 4 inch backspace that creates a mean, aggressive look without sacrificing function. They are DOT approved and ready to take whatever trail-abuse you throw at them.

When purchasing Bassett Steelies, you need to remember a couple of things:

  • They must be balanced on a special machine as they are lug-centric wheels.
  • You will need to purchase 45 degree lug nuts and tighten them carefully upon installation.

Special Note:

When running Bassett steelies, the 45 degree tapered lug nuts are ESSENTIAL. Do NOT try to use regular nuts. The tapered ones are usually expensive, and I was getting pissed when I realized I would have to spend around $60 on lug nuts alone. However, I was really happy when I found the Allstar Performance lug nuts on Amazon. They are way cheaper and come in a pack of 20 to save you a bunch of money.

You can get the Allstar lug nuts HERE

We have used the Bassett Racing Steelies and they held up really well. It was surprising how good they felt despite being a steel wheel. At about 21 pounds, they don’t add much weight at all. They also looked pretty good:

Subaru Forester lifted with bassett racing wheels and Toyo open country tires

NOTE: Please remember that many of these wheels come in a 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern (5×114.3) which is great for many new Outbacks, WRX and other models. But most older Subarus and even some new ones require a 5×100 bolt pattern. Double check your pattern and don’t forget to check and see which bolt pattern your car requires.

Always Check With A Professional

If you’re considering moving up or down in size to a non-stock wheel and tire combo, it’s best to check with a tire shop to ensure proper safety. Your wheels are a vital portion of your vehicle’s operation. Don’t cut corners with them.


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