Subaru has become a household SUV name in the last decade. With its smart and very capable collection, it has won the hearts of soccer moms and adventurers alike. Even though most SUV owners do not take their cars off-road, Subaru has definitely catered for the road less travelled.
Weekends for Subaru owners has become adventurous and exciting, as they traverse difficult terrain from Russia’s icy landscapes to the rocky deserts of Israel. Although most Subaru enthusiast will boast endlessly about their cars capabilities, there are some marked differences between the newer models.
This begs the question – Which Subaru model is best off-road?
The 2019 Forester and the 2020 Outback are the newest and best Subaru off-road models on the market. They sport a remarkable 8.7 inches off ground clearance with a lowered boxer engine that offer these SUV’s increased stability and the ability to handle a 1:3 ratio axle twisting without tipping over. These models also feature the new Dual-function X-mode for even better off-road capabilities.
Although there are some great additional and improved features on these new Subaru models, it is their basic design that has won prizes for the last decade. The Outback and Forester has been a favorite in many countries, especially Russia, where off-roading takes on a whole new look. The people have voted – Subaru is up for the adventure challenge, and they do it with comfort and safety in mind. Now let’s have a look at the 2019 Forester and the 2020 Outback in some detail, to see just why they rank so high in the best SUV off-roaders category.
The 2019 Forester definitely comes with all the bells and whistles of a modern SUV. It was designed for comfort and reliability, both on the road and off. It comes standard with an 8 inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity, plus DAB digital radio, Harman Kardon stereo, paddle shifters, sports pedals, an electric sunroof, roof rails, electronic parking brake and more.
Safety has always been an important part of Subaru design, and this model is no exception. With AEB and active cruise control, driver monitoring, lane-departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and rear-view reverse camera – this car will get your family home safe from any journey.
It carries a 2.5L four-cylinder boxer petrol engine, with a power output of 136kW at 5800rpm and 239Nm at 4400rpm. It has a seven-speed CVT auto and Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system with two-mode X-Mode, for ultimate control on difficult terrain.
With regards to its off-road capabilities, I quote Cars Guide: “The Forester’s AWD system comes into its own on bumpy dirt tracks and choppy corrugated gravel roads. The Forester is perfectly fine for low-speed, low-traction scenarios as long as it’s driven safely and sensibly.”
The 2020 Outback has ranked well on adventurer’s lists since its emergence in early 2020. It is valued for its price, practicality and ground clearance along with the trusted Subaru reliability. It is a bit larger than the compact Forester SUV, which can be felt by the comfort of the extra interior space.
It does not skimp on luxury and comes with most of the fancy features you would find in any SUV today. This includes the 8-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, digital radio, six-speaker stereo, CD player and Bluetooth connectivity.
A standard issue 2020 Outback includes leather seats, power adjustable and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, paddle shifters, privacy glass on the back windows, adaptive LED headlights, roof rails, electric sunroof, 18-inch alloys wheels and a full-sized spare.
Similar to the Forester, it sports a 2.5L petrol boxer engine producing 129kW of power and 235Nm of torque. It is an all-wheel drive with a Subaru trusted CVT transmission. As a SUV, it has fantastic ground clearance and the lowered boxer engine along with the X-mode function allows optimal traction on difficult off-road surfaces such as gravel and dirt.
What are the best adventure accessories for your Forester and Outback?
The combination of luxury, practicality and reliability of the Subaru SUV range has resulted in its popularity among families as a weekday work car as well as weekend off-roader. In fact, many Subaru owners modify their cars for an even better off-road experience.
Subaru, Thule and Front Runner, amongst others, offer a wide range of adventure accessories that you can buy to improve your outdoor experience. Here are a few of the best accessories available for your Subaru.
- Lift kits. Although the Forester and the Outback already sport an impressive ground clearance for an SUV, if you want to survive that rocky trail with an intact suspension, you will need a lift kit for increased clearance and skid plates for protection. Torque News lists the top lift kits for your Subaru as:
- Anderson Design Fabrication. They design in house lift kits specifically for Subaru models. The actually specialize in building up Subaru’s, and custom make these kits for each model.
- LP Aventure. They produce lift kits as well as bumper guards, performance mufflers and skid plates for Subaru models.
- Get Primitive. They specialize in racing and provide skid plates and suspension solutions for almost all Subaru models.
- Subtle solutions. They manufacture a whole range of aftermarket products for Subaru, including lift kits and engine dress up kits.
- All-terrain winter tires. If you find yourself adventuring in ice and snow, a set of all-terrain winter tires will suit your Subaru wonderfully. These provide you with the extra grip on ice and snow to arrive at your destination safely. Torque News covers the seven best all-terrain winter tires for Subaru here.
- Roof Rack Storage. This is obviously a must for camping and long distance travel, but did you know you can even buy roof platforms that come equipped with shovel and axe holders, light brackets and even tie downs?
- Rooftop tent. This is the ultimate camping accessory – it extends the time you can spend on the trail and keeps you safe and warm off the ground. It is much cheaper than an overnight hotel stay too! Here are some of the best rooftop tents you can get for your Subaru.
- Bike carrier. You can choose from a variety of sizes to suit the whole family. What better way to occupy the kids than with their bikes on a dirt trail!
- Splashguards. This is perfect for those muddy drives in spring. It keeps the abrasive mud off the side panels of your car, to preserve the paint for longer. This is definitely a must if you frequent rivers and muddy plains with your Subaru.
- Cargo step. This protective cover or scuff guard, for your rear bumper will save you lots of effort as well as the paint on your bumper. Lifting, packing and unloading lots of things can be quite a feat, and this little step helps you rest heavy objects without damaging you car, or breaking you back!
The take home message on the off-road Subaru models is that the new Subaru Forester and Outback has definitely got you covered for any outdoor adventure, whether it be sand, mud or snow. They are luxurious, comfortable, safe and reliable, as all Subaru’s are.
As an added bonus, you can customize and accessorize them to your heart’s desire, making them wonderful companions on your weekend adventures.
Have you taken your Forester or Outback on an exciting adventure lately – let us know what you think in the comments below.