Close this search box.
lifted 2020 subaru outback xt with off road tires

Off-Road Lifted 2020 Outback XT: Here's How You Can Build Yours

By Ben Boxer

As soon as the Outback XT hit the showroom floor, we started looking out for a lifted version that we could share with our readers. We finally found Jay and his 2.5″ lifted Outback. He’s graciously agreed to share a little of the background on the build. He’ll lay out each part used for the lift, his wheel and tire setup, and other vital information that you’ll want to know before lifting your 6th gen Outback.

If you’d like to follow along with Jay’s build, find him on Instagram at @outn_back to keep up with any new modifications made to the car.

First things first….

The Mod List:

lifted subaru outback on lp aventure heels in the forest on all terrain pirelli tires

How long have you owned the Outback? Is this the first Subaru you've owned?

My first Subaru was a brand new 2016 Impreza Sport Hatchback. I bought it while living on the East Coast because driving in snow was a new thing to me and I wanted something that was known to do well in it. That thing was fun!  My wife ended up getting a 2017 Crosstrek when we moved back to So Cal and that’s when we really started exploring and camping. Eventually, I wanted a bigger Subaru and when I saw the XT was back, I was sold! I’ve had the Outback for 7 months and I’m loving it and having a lot of fun with it.

Concerns with lifting a brand new Subaru

I was more concerned about cosmetic damage to the car more than voiding warranties. From the start, I accepted the fact that I’ll be paying out of pocket for parts that might get damaged from taking it off road. Things like the end links, struts, control arms, all those parts that we can easily replace. Things like the transmission, ac, fuel systems and engine I’m pretty confident in and if something does go wrong, I’ll be able to get it fixed under warranty. I just try to be as careful as possible!

Parts used for lifting the Subaru

I have the Readylift 2″ SST lift on there and paired it with Rallitek Overload Springs that puts me at 2.5″ of lift.
It was really between two popular options for me; ReadyLift and LP Aventure. Ultimately, it came down to price and the reviews from other Subaru owners. I found that a lot of other owners with the new Outback had the ReadyLift and had nothing bad to say about it. The third option was the Primitive Racing kit, but I thought if I’m going to lift it, I’m going to try to get as much height as I can. Theirs being a 1.5″ lift, I decided to not go that route.
I’m interested in looking into the Ironman 4×4 suspension kit when it does actually come out for the 6th Gen outback. I’ve been seeing raving reviews for that kit on the crosstreks. 
lifted 2020 subaru outback xt with off road tires climbing a hill

ReadyLift lift kit quality and customer service experience

They definitely are affordable and well built! Full disclosure, I did have an end link bracket break on me, but they immediately sent me a replacement. Since then, I upgraded my front end links to a stronger and adjustable pair from Whiteline. I took it to get installed in a shop. I didn’t have any tools and honestly, just didn’t want to do it.

lifted 2020 subaru outback xt with off road tires and a rotopax gas can

Additional parts recommended for lifting the Outback

From what I see, the lift kit makers do a really good job at ensuring that they are plug and play, so you don’t need to make any other adjustments besides an alignment. The only thing I would recommend are stronger end links for the sway bar. If you push your car hard enough and take it on some more rugged trails, the OEM will likely break. Everything works perfectly once you install the lift kit. No issues with brake lines or eyesight. For the new XTs, I know that the low beams can be a little too high straight from the factory. Putting the lift kit in definitely made it worse and you will be getting high-beamed!

Drivability and handling effects of installing a lift kit and larger tires

Definitely. You feel the extra height when you’re driving and the handling does take a bit of a hit. I had to get used to that since I was driving an Impreza before the Outback. The main things for me were that you can’t take turns as fast and tight comfortably and you can feel bumps in the road more. The car itself is still smooth, responsive, and drives great.
I did get larger tires prior to doing the lift and that actually improved the handling and ride quality for me. Once you add in the aspect of the higher center of gravity and adding extra pieces of metal to your struts, that’s when you start feeling any adverse effects it has on your car. That’s one of the downsides of your recreational vehicle being your daily driver. Some of the things that are great for off road aren’t really practical for city streets. 

Fitting larger 18 inch tires

They’re the LP7’s in Bronze from LP Aventure. The wheels are 18×8 with a +38 Offset. Tires are Continental Terrain Contact 245/60/R18. The wider tire did give a little rub at full turn, but I think everybody experiences that.

lifted subaru outback with offroad tires and wheels

Reasons behind lifting the Outback

Initially, I didn’t have plans to lift the Outback. Just some All Terrain tires would do the trick, throw on some skid plates for more protection, and we’ll call it a day. Wrong. 2.5″ doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can seriously be the difference between making it through a trail, taking a lot of damage, or having to turn back. When you’re driving out to the middle of nowhere with no cell service or other people around, confidence is key!

Lifted subaru outback xt 2020

Off-Road accessories for functionality

lifted subaru outback XT with roof rack in the desert

I’m so glad you said functional accessories! I’ll list them off:
Spider Roof Rack: The modular roof rack systems are so dang cool. It just makes things so much easier when it comes to mounting, it’s stronger than the OEM crossbars, gives you more space to work with, and is low profile. Before this, I had the Yakima basket and it’s exactly that; a basket to carry things. I feel like more companies are gearing towards modular rack systems when they make their products, so I knew it would be beneficial to have one. Plus, it looks freakin’ awesome.
Cali Raised 42″ Light Bar: Need. more. light. This helps out tremendously with lighting the road in front of you on the trails. The ditch lights and headlights alone just weren’t cutting it for me.
Outer Tents Destin Rooftop Tent: Camping game changer for me and my wife. 100% recommend if you can get your hands on one. We just got tired of flattening the ground, folding up the dirty tent footprint, and sleeping on pads. The floor was never level enough to sleep on, just really killing our sleep quality. I found it way easier to level out the car with the tent on top. It’s a solid, flat surface with a mattress pad so it’s like a home away from home for us!
Outer tents Awning: I love me some shade
RNO Fabrications Side Mount Kit for the Rotopax: People have really been blowing me up about this thing! It’s a great solution for storing the Rotopax. The tent takes up 90% of the rack, so having somewhere to mount it came in clutch

Trail safety checklist

I’m usually trailing solo, so I can’t really depend on other cars for help. Knowing that you have the tools to get you out of a sticky situation definitely gives you more confidence out there. Also, knowing your limitations and driving ability will help keep you from needing recovery. Since I’m alone, I have to pass on a lot of obstacles if there’s even a slight chance of me needing to be pulled out.

  • Air compressor, tire repair kit, extra valve stems, etc.
  • Stock car jack + the extender from LP Aventure to make up for the lift.
  • Shackles and tow straps
  • Traction boards
  • Wrench set
  • Flashlight
  • Portable Battery
  • NOCO Boost battery jumper
  • Full Sized Spare – Awesome thing about the ONYX XT is that it comes with a full sized spare so you can fit a 5th wheel in there and not have to carry it on the roof or the hitch. If you have bigger tires, you’ll have to deflate it pretty low, so make sure you have a compressor handy too!
lifted subaru outback xt in the desert with offroad tires

Favorite off-road modification

I have the CVT and Read Diff guards from Primitive Racing! Those are the parts that scare me most when trailing. Just spend the extra money and get the full set so you know you’re covered!

If you found this article helpful, please check out Jay’s Instagram and show some support with a follow!


Check out the build on Instagram @outn_back