Having a car that excels on and off-road is a really great idea. Everyone finds themselves on a precarious track or in a boggy layby every once in a while. Investing in a car that can handle these situations will keep the tow truck at bay and you swiftly on your way.
The Subaru Outback is one of those perfect machines that’s designed to keep you out of trouble when things get a little gnarly. It has the power, the suspension, and the all-wheel-drive, all the things you’d need to survive a track through field or wood.
But none of that makes the slightest bit of difference if you don’t have some top-quality tires beneath you. They need to be highly versatile and durable if they’re going to help you master both road and the outback, season after season.
That’s why we’re going to review five of the best tires around for your Subaru Outback. Our goal is to keep you safe and on time no matter the terrain you must traverse.
We’ll even provide an in-depth buyer’s guide and FAQ section to make sure you find what you’re looking for.
Top 5 Best Tires for Subaru Outback
OUR TOP PICK
Our number one tire is an awesome all-terrain option with a great radial design. Although radial tires aren’t ideal for especially challenging off-road terrain, you need the radial cord ply to keep things as smooth as possible on the road.
So, a radial tire with advanced grip patterns and larger surface areas are perfect for cars that dabble with a little bit of both.
These Wildpeak tires have a large 17-inch rim diameter and a tire ratio of 60.0, meaning that the sidewall is 60% as high as the whole thing is wide. If you plan on spending quite a bit of time in tricky terrain, a larger sidewall is preferable to a slim-profile as it gives the tire a little more flex.
It’s not just off-road that this extra girth is going to come in handy. In general, tires with a larger diameter are going to handle better at high speeds. Performance on the back lanes and performance on the freeways...perfect.
These tires are by no means the fastest, with a speed rating of H, but that still gives you a suggested max speed of 130mph, more than you will ever need unless your name is Dominic Toretto.
These Falken monsters also boast a section width of 225mm. This is perfect for tackling any soft pack terrain. The more surface area you get on the ground the more potential traction you get.
But let’s look at the tread pattern to get a better idea of just how much grip these things will provide in a messy ditch.
They have a really defined central grip zone and a specialized side pattern for optimum traction in tricky situations. That’s great but not special.
What is special is how far the side tread travels into the sidewall of the tire. This is the feature that’s gonna get you through the mushy terrain and on your way.
- Wide diameter and tire width means better handling at speed
- Dedicated tread patterns will keep you out of trouble
- Impressive sidewall tread
- Aspect ratio gives you more surface area on the ground
- Quite pricey
- Low load capacity
Pulling up to our number two spot is an incredibly versatile tire with a unique tread pattern guaranteed to keep you moving in tough terrain.
The Ventus V-2 has a slightly smaller 16-inch rim diameter and an aspect ratio of 55, still plenty enough sidewall for a bit of flex. This tire isn’t as full-on when it comes to the off-road application, but that’s not to say it can’t handle a fair bit of sludge and dust.
The central smooth tread line in the pattern will be perfect for getting some serious surface to surface connection. The outer patterns move onto the edge of the sidewall nicely, albeit not as far or as pronounced as our top pick, which will be great off-road.
The peripheral center treads are subtly reminiscent of sand paddles on ATV tires designed to deal with snow and sand, which is perfect as this is an all-season tire. You want it to be functional in snow. This feature will also displace water really well, giving them great performance in the rain.
These tires are perfect for really heavy vehicles. They have an astonishing maximum load capacity of 3562 pounds. That’s more than twice the amount the capacity of our number one spot. So, if you’re lugging around a truckload more often than not, this is the tire for you.
The V-2s have a section width of 205mm which should still get you some pretty solid connection with the ground, and they’re a V speed rating, meaning they’re capable of handling speeds up to 149mph.
- Tread will be good for mild to medium off-road application
- Tread pattern makes it ideal for use in rain and snow
- High speed rating
- Decent 55 aspect ratio for sidewall flex
- Comfortable radial design
- High load capacity
- Not as capable off-road as our top choice
- Smaller size means less control at speed
Rolling on up to number three is a great all-rounder that should be able to handle itself on the track almost as well as on the road.
The RP18 is another 16-inch design with a 55-inch aspect ratio. Touring tires are normally a little more slimline than all-season and off-road tires, but we love that this one has a decent sidewall. Basically, you’re getting the best of both worlds.
The tread pattern in this has a real premium in surface area and Westlake have put some real focus on the siping.
All these little indentations will give you maximum traction on the tarmac and track in dry and dusty conditions, and the curved cuts in the outer-central pattern offer amazing water evacuation.
With their load capacity of 1900 pounds, these tires can shoulder some pretty beefy stuff, and the built-in tread wear indicators will make you aware ahead of time when they’re ready for a change.
A tread wear indicator is a really nice touch. They’re little rubber bars that sit at the minimum tread depth.
Symmetrizing with our second pick, this touring tire’s section width is 205mm, a great width for acceleration, stability and control.
Unfortunately, this tire only has a speed rating of R which means it shouldn’t be used to go any faster than 106mph. Subaru Outbacks max out at 125mph, so there is some potential to put these tires at risk.
- 55 aspect ratio will give you some good flex for off-road
- Pretty decent load capacity
- Great vertical siping on the tread pattern
- Bi-central grip patterns offer enhanced water evacuation
- Built-in tread wear indicators keep you safe and stop you breaking the law
- Good section width
- Low-speed rating
- Smaller than our top pick
Burning some rubber at number four is another touring tire with some extra seasonal prowess to keep your Subaru spectacular all year round.
This Firestone beast is back up to 17 inches in rim diameter and has a very impressive aspect ratio of 65, meaning they have an even bigger sidewall than our top pick.
This is going to provide a bunch of extra flex that will help it corner smoothly and improve handling on rough terrain.
As you’ve probably guessed, this tire has a pretty expansive section width, making them great for taking a scenic route off the beaten track. The tread measures 225mm from wall to wall.
Another hybridization of touring and all-season tires, this Firestone tire has a pretty similar tread profile as our third Westgate pick. In this instance though, they’ve gone with waved siping and central lugs rather than a straight, angled design. This will give you some pretty awesome traction on wet or icy surfaces.
The larger gaps between the lugs on the sidewall make for a more aggressive pattern which makes this tire really proficient in escaping those soft-pack surfaces.
It has a speed rating of T which is a fairly admirable effort. This means they can handle a maximum of 118mph safely.
Again, this is slightly less than your top speed. We know you’re not going to be maxing your speedometer out, but it’s something to be aware of.
- Really big aspect ratio will make cornering a dream
- Larger tire means better handling at high speeds
- Aggressive side lugs for a touring tire
- Wavy siping should be great at removing water from hard surfaces
- Provide great traction in icy conditions
- Quite a large load capacity
- Pretty low speed rating
- A little more expensive than some
Snatching up the last spot on our list is another quality tire at a slightly lower price point.
This is the most affordable tire on our list so you can expect slightly reduced specialist capabilities. For instance, the tread pattern doesn’t spread that far onto the sidewall at all.
There’s still tread presence enough to handle a bit of rough or shallow soft terrain, but it’s not as prominent as our other choices.
That said, the tread pattern, in general, is quite impressive. It has what Goodyear describes as ‘multiple biting edges’. This refers to the deep cuts in the tread set at opposing angles to provide you with decent traction no matter which direction you’re turning.
The tread also features interesting hook-shaped siping that will get some pretty good traction on a dusty surface.
Even though they’re an affordable option you’re still going to get 65000 miles of tread life. You’re talking maybe 5 years of solid usage depending on how much you drive.
The Assurance tire is another large scale design. It has the same 225mm section width as our Falken champion, meaning you’re making plenty of connection with the ground.
Despite, its size, it has a pretty low 1653 pound load capacity, but split between four, it shouldn’t pose any problems.
You’ve got an aspect ratio of 60 with this tire, the same as our top pick. The added radial flex shares the pressure across more of the tire during cornering giving you a more comfortable experience in the driver’s seat.
- Central tread pattern will provide a lot of traction and improve acceleration
- Large aspect ratio will make off-road and cornering more comfortable
- Unique hook-shaped siping should provide extra traction on tracks and gravel
- Solid shoulder tread has good water clearance
- Less tread on the sidewall
- Quite a low weight capacity
Best Tires for Subaru Outback Guide
Tires aren’t exactly an item you should skimp on. Especially if you’re driving a $40,000 Subaru. But, there is a pretty wide range of options at different price points.
As long as you're realistic, having a budget will help you decide on a tire, especially if you’re torn between two at different costs.
Knowing what you’re going to be putting your Subaru through is key when shopping for new tires. We assume if you have this car, you tackle lanes and tracks quite often, maybe a field or two.
Try and come up with a rough ratio of road to off-road usage. Then you’ll know how far you need to lean into off-road tire specs.
Once you have a rough idea of where you’ll mostly be driving, you can start thinking about tire tread.
Different tire treads excel on different surfaces.
Tire treads that work best off-road have a slightly more aggressive tread pattern. Aggressive in tire terms means the lugs are more pronounced. They’re the kind of tires that look angry.
A good off-road tire will also have a continuation of the shoulder lug onto the sidewall of the tire. This provides extra traction on uneven and soft-pack surfaces.
Being that your Subaru is mostly designed for use on a road, you don’t want to go too aggressive with your tread. It will start to lose road performance.
A larger aspect ratio is also beneficial in bumpier situations. It provides more side flex and takes some pressure off the central tire. A wider tire provides better traction on all surfaces as it makes more connection with the ground. The more connection you make with the ground, the more traction you gain.
Tires that perform well on roads are radial designs with full complex tread patterns. As long as you live in a fairly temperate climate with mild seasons, a rugged all-season tire should be perfect for your Outback.
Check if grip patterns have water clearing qualities. Tires with a lot of sipes are great for clearing snow and water. There should be pretty defined sections to the grip of an all-season tire.
Check the pattern directly in the center for any special features that might make it perform well. Then there should be some by-central symmetrical patterns either side of that. These might contain deeper gaps for shoveling debris. Then there are the shoulder patterns. Your shoulder patterns should be quite pronounced to offer the maximum amount of traction when weight is shifted during cornering.
Wheel Size/Tire Size
It’s essential to know your wheel size before purchasing a new tire.
You need your new tire to match your current set up. Keep in mind that with different wheel sizes, different tire specs work best. For instance, the bigger the wheel, the bigger the aspect ratio should be.
This isn’t particularly important because you’ll never have to go fast enough to have any problems. That said, we still think it makes sense to get a tire that is safe to use at your car’s max speed.
The Outback’s max speed is 125mph which means a speed rating of U or above would match up well. Don’t worry if you find the perfect tire and it has a low speed rating, although we do recommend not going any lower than an R rating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Subaru good in snow?
It depends on the model and the tires, but they are known to be highly functional in the snow because of their center differential. Center differential between the front and rear axles keeps the motion of the wheels locked together so they turn at exactly the same time.
This teamwork stops any wheels from spinning out. It spreads the burden equally between all four wheels giving you the best possible chance to gain traction. This is why Subarus are so popular in snowy states such as Colorado and Minnesota.
Are Walmart tires any good?
Not really, no. Walmart only stocks the very low end products of any company it works with. As we said in the buyer’s guide, it’s best not to skimp on tires.
They’ll save you money in the long term because they’ll last longer and be more suited to your applications. A good tire could even save your life in certain situations.
So, there you have it, five quality tires that would suit the Subaru Outback and help it live up to its potential. Hopefully, there’s something on our list for you, but, if not, use our buyer’s guide to help you continue your search.
A car is only really as good as the tires beneath it. Spend some time finding the right tiers and you’ll fall in love with your Subaru all over again.