The Subaru WRX is a popular vehicle known for its customizability and versatility. Subaru WRX has become one of the most sought-after street cars. You may see these cars driving around backstreets or participating in friendly drag racing at a track. Subaru designed these cars to do whatever you want them to. With that being the case, how can they handle the unpaved trails while off-roading?
Can you take a WRX off-road? Subaru WRXs are not suitable for challenging off-roading trails with ruts and boulders, they are, however, suitable for dirt rally courses, which is a different type of off-roading. WRXs do not come from the factory with the suspension and tires necessary for offroad rally racing, but suitable aftermarket components can be found everywhere online.
Many people like taking the WRX off-road because the engine and raw power of the WRX can make it fun. You have to be very particular about what type of off-roading you do in this vehicle because there is no way it can handle some of the intense rock crawling that a Jeep or truck can handle. Before you go out to find somewhere to get your WRX dirty, let’s talk about what the WRX can and can’t handle when it comes to off-roading.
WRX Specs And Its Suitability For Off-road
The 2022 Subaru WRX has a four-cylinder, 2.4-liter engine with a turbo. This engine muscles out 271 horsepower at 5,600 RPM. That’s plenty of power to get through most terrain. Torque is also an important factor when off-roading. At 2,000 RPM the WRX produces 258 ft-lbs of torque. In comparison, a Jeep Wrangler produces 295 ft-lbs of torque but weighs a significant amount more. 258 ft-lbs is going to be plenty of force to get you up inclines and through mud and sand.
The ground clearance on a standard Subaru WRX is 5.3 inches. Usually, on an off-roading vehicle, you want a minimum of 7 to 8 inches of ground clearance to do moderate trails. You can add a lift kit to the WRX to give it that extra needed clearance, but even without the lift, the WRX will better handle off-roading trails that are more smooth and don’t have large rocks. Subaru WRXs also come standard with an AWD system, which is certainly better than trying to offroad in 2WD.
Having AWD allows every wheel on the car to receive power from the engine. This can be a big game changer when off-roading. AWD gives the car a greater ability to get through slick areas. When off-roading the different wheels on the car have different amounts of traction. At times the back wheels may have much more traction than the front tires and if the back tires don’t have any power then the car will end up getting stuck. AWD is going to allow the WRX to get through some tough terrain.
All current models of the WRXs come standard with AWD. AWD vehicles are often a little more expensive than the same car without AWD, but if you are trying to go off-road or driving in slick terrain like snow, it is going to be well worth the extra money.
WRXs have decanted shocks but you are most likely going to want to get improved shocks and suspension systems that are specially made for off-roading. A good suspension system not only helps give you a smoother ride but helps keep your tires on the ground when going over bumps and rocks. New suspension systems can be decently expensive so don’t rush into a decision of which ones to buy.
Which Type Of Off Roading Is The WRX Best For?
The WRX is a powerful car with low clearance compared to other off-road vehicles, this means that it is going to be the best for off-roading in mud and sand on a rally-type offroading trail. Terrain with large rocks or boulders is going to take a lot of work for the WRX to handle. Trying to off-road through trails with many rocks will most likely lead to undercarriage damage and a lot of scraping. The scrappy nature of the WRX however allows it to power it’s way through mud and sand a lot faster than larger vehicles could do it.
As I mentioned earlier, the WRX isn’t a stranger to the rally car scene. Rally races usually take place on tracks made of dirt, sand, and mud. These tracks are also full of turns and hills. This means that the WRX is going to need torque and good traction to be able to effectively drive and maneuver the terrain. This is very different from the big rock crawls you see done by Jeeps in Moab, but it is still considered off-roading and is still incredibly fun. The WRX is a great car to take out and make a splash in some mud puddles with.
Tips For Taking A WRX Off Road
If you plan on taking your WRX off-roading often, then you should consider getting a lift kit on your WRX and ditching those street tires for some meaty all-terrains. A lift kit and appropriate tires will increase the type of terrain that your WRX is going to be able to cover. The engine and torque of the WRX should be enough to get you to most places, but what stops the WRX from off-roading in most places is the ground clearance. Once you increase the ground clearance of the WRX, you will be able to go on a larger number of off-roading trails.
You don’t need a big increase either; Even lifting a WRX by one or two inches is going to be enough to make it better suited for off-roading. Some other things that would be great to have on a WRX are adding off-roading gear. When I talk about off-roading gear, I am talking about things like shovels, winches, saws, and other emergency gear. Emergency gear is going to be things like basic survival equipment and maybe even a tent or tarp. You want to have the bare essentials with you so you can survive a night if a situation interrupts your plans.
Going off-roading in a WRX will likely lead to you getting stuck at some point in time. If you do end up getting stuck, you are going to want to have a plan for getting out. It is important to have a friend who knows where you are going and they can be available to come to help you. Another option for when you get stuck is having a satellite phone. Satellite phones can give you the ability to call tow trucks or other emergency services even when you might have no cell service. They can be life savers depending on how stranded you are.
Which Subaru Is Best Off-road Compared To The WRX?
There are quite a few Subarus that are considered to be better for off-roading than the WRX. The first car on this list is the Subaru Crosstrek. The Subaru Crosstrek features a four-cylinder engine and AWD that allows it to handle off-road terrain very well. The Crosstrek also has more ground clearance than the WRX. The Subaru Forester has similar specs to the Subaru Crosstrek and is better equipped for off-roading than the WRX.
In many cases, people don’t even put the Subaru WRX on the top 5 list for off-roading Subaru vehicles. Following the Forester, most people will put the Subaru Outback. The Outback has a very similar style to both the Crosstrek and the Forester but is a little smaller. When people think of off-roading Subaru vehicles, it is usually one of these three that they are going to think of. The WRX doesn’t usually make the list, but this doesn’t mean that the WRX is useless when it comes to off-roading.
The truth is that Subaru doesn’t have any vehicles that excel at off-roading (besides rally driving) and to have a Subaru that can off-road well comes down to the owner customizing it. By doing things like adding better tires, more lift, and better suspension, you will increase the off-roading ability of any of these vehicles. As mentioned earlier with the WRX, Subarus can often be made into impressive rally cars.