For years, Toyota trucks, Land Rovers, Jeeps, and Ford pickups have dominated the “4 Wheeler” market. Their ground clearance and reliability have earned them years of respect. But are things beginning to change?

As Subaru continues to deliver capable options, their popularity in the overlanding and off-road community is growing. With 4 of their main models offering nearly 9 inches of ground clearance, and a slew of ground-breaking technologies, they’re beginning to take a large share of the market.

Ground Clearance

The Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, Forester, and Ascent all boast 8.7 inches of ground clearance from the factory. To give you an idea of what that looks like, the Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk also sits 8.7 inches off the ground.

Even stock, Subarus are a great vehicle to get to most secluded camp spots. Whether you’re in Oregon, Washington, or California, a Subaru will likely take you to most places you want to visit.

Helpful Tech For Off-Road Use

Many Subarus now come equipped with X-Mode which helps drivers maneuver through adverse conditions. It coordinates the throttle, transmission, AWD system, and braking to give the driver the ability to tackle tough terrain. X-mode is useful for sand, gravel, snow, and mud. 

X-mode also helps drivers in downhill situations with the Hill Descent Control. It operates the brakes and throttle automatically while letting the driver focus on navigating around obstacles.

Check out how well the Subaru Forester performs with X-Mode in the snow. We were pretty blown away by the results.


Easily Accessible Off-Road Modifications

If the stock performance of a Subaru isn’t quite enough for what you need, getting extra ground clearance isn’t too difficult. A simple 1” strut spacer lift kit usually starts at around $150 and can be installed rather easily at a shop or in your garage. And for those wanting more ground clearance, up to 6″ inch lift kits can also be purchased if you’re ready to spend the money.

Even simple upgrades, like bigger all terrain tires can add ground clearance and more grip. These tires usually add a more aggressive look as well.

Versatile Capabilities

Most vehicles perform very well in a specific set of conditions, while lacking in others. However, Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system has proven to be beneficial not only on intimidating forest roads and trails, but in many other conditions as well.

Subaru’s are extremely safe for pavement driving. The AWD system gives drivers confidence in the rain, in tight corners, on the track or just running around town. This is one of the reasons so many families have trusted the brand to safely get them where they need to go.

Each winter Subaru drivers are ecstatic to get out and put their car to work in the extreme weather. While many trucks and SUV’s have a hard time handling the slippery surfaces, Subaru’s cruise right along with very little trouble.

Fuel Economy

Subaru’s are not only extremely capable in off-road situations, they still manage to get great gas mileage. The 2020 Outback boasts an impressive 28.5 combined MPG. Making it not only a great all around car for outdoor use, but very economical and affordable to drive.

So what does that mean for those of us who want to go off-road? It means more miles on back roads and in the wilderness before worrying about your next fillup.


Subaru’s are reliable and offer peace of mind to those who want to travel off the beaten path.

When you’re 100 miles from the nearest city, you need to be able to trust that your vehicle will safely get you home. According to Subaru is the #4 for most reliable car brand out there. With some stiff competition from Toyota, Ford, and Honda, that’s an impressive badge of honor.

If you’re looking for a capable off-road vehicle that doubles as a daily driver, a Subaru with a lift kit may be the way to go. While it may not be a rock crawler, it has everything you’ll need for a weekend getaway in the woods, or a hiking trip in the wilderness. We think it’s the best bang for your buck.