Should You Take the Subaru WRX Off-Road?

The Subaru WRX is a flashy sports car that’s fun to drive, but it’s best to keep it on the pavement.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The Subaru WRX is a great choice when you’re looking for a sports car fast enough to launch you into the stratosphere. If you’re looking for a car suitable for off-roading though, it’s best to steer clear.
When you’re faced with a giant mud puddle, how do you feel? If you’re excited and ready to tear through it, off-roading is right for you—and you’ll need a vehicle that can keep up with the demands of life off the road. What aspects should you be looking for in a great off-road vehicle though?
Check out this great guide on off-roading vehicle specs by the
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with the latest scoop on how the Subaru WRX stacks up against the best off-roading stats, and the final decision on whether or not you should take your Subaru WRX off-road. 
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Can the Subaru WRX go off-road?

No, it would be a major mistake to take your Subaru WRX off-road. While you might have assumed all Subarus are great for off-roading thanks to the outdoorsy reputation of vehicles like the
Subaru Outback
Subaru Forester
, don’t forget that Subaru also makes sports cars—like the WRX. 
Purchasing a new Subaru WRX is affordable—they start at $29,605. This is a great price for a car that can handle high speeds and provide a great driving experience. If you’re a speed demon, the Subaru WRX is a contender.
Let’s talk about what factors a vehicle needs to handle off-roading and how the Subaru WRX compares.

Ground clearance

A crucial aspect of off-roading is the vehicle’s ground clearance. This is the measurement between the lowest point of the chassis and the ground. The ground clearance of the Subaru WRX is 5.3 inches.
The best ground clearance range for off-roading is between 8.8 and 10.8 inches—it’s clear the Subaru WRX doesn’t have what it takes in this regard. You want a high ground clearance to keep your car’s sensitive undercarriage high above any hazards off-roading can bring. 
The bare minimum ground clearance measurement for off-roading is 8.5 inches. Since the Subaru WRX is over three inches too short to meet this minimum, it’s obvious why taking your Subaru WRX off-road is a bad idea.


Another aspect needed by off-roading vehicles is lots of power at low speeds. This means you should look for a vehicle with high low-end torque—this means lots of torque at low RPMs. This determines how much turning power your vehicle has, which is more important in off-roading than the capacity for speed. 
The Subaru WRX has a turbocharged 2-liter flat-four-cylinder engine that provides 258 lb-ft @ 5700 RPM. Unfortunately, this level of torque is only accessible at high speeds, making it unsuitable for off-roading.


The Subaru WRX either comes with P235/45R17 tires or P245/40R18 tires if you upgrade your trim level. These are performance tires best suited for increased handling and cars that like to go fast—like the Subaru WRX. 
Performance tires wear out quickly and aren’t durable enough for off-roading. The best type of tire for off-roading is an
all-terrain tire


If you’re going off-roading, you want AWD or 4WD for your drivetrain. Either one of these enables your tires to gain traction independently of one another, which is crucial in case one or more tires aren’t making contact with the ground. 
Surprisingly, the Subaru WRX has AWD, which means its drivetrain could theoretically handle off-roading! But in combination with other off-roading factors, it’s best to give off-roading in your Subaru WRX a second thought,


Important angles in off-roading are the approach angle and the departure angle:
  • Approach angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
Subaru hasn’t provided an official measurement of the WRX’s approach and departure angles, but some enthusiasts have estimated these angles to be less than 15 degrees
The minimum angle you’d want to see for even light off-roading is at least 20 degrees. As the terrain becomes rougher, that angle would ideally increase. The Subaru WRX doesn’t come close to the minimum angle—as such, it’s best to keep it on the road.

Off-road rating: Don’t Try It

We’ve rated the Subaru WRX using
super-technical DIRT rating system, broken down in the table below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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The Subaru WRX sadly earns a D rating for off-roading. While this racy sports car is at home on the highway or at a race track, it would flounder and fail if taken off-road. If you’re dead-set on off-roading and want to keep it in the Subaru family, consider one of their vehicles that’s better suited for off-roading, like the
Subaru Outback
Subaru Forester

The best alternatives to the Subaru WRX

If off-roading doesn’t interest you, you might be curious about what some alternatives to the Subaru WRX are. Jerry has some suggestions for sporty sedans that are comparable to the Subaru WRX.
These are the best alternatives to the Subaru WRX:
Best economy alternative
Honda Civic Si
Despite not providing AWD, the Honda Civic Si matches the 0-60 speed of the Subaru WRX within 0.3 seconds.
Best unusual option
Hyundai Veloster Turbo
True enthusiasts can opt for a six-speed manual transmission.
Best upscale option
Audi A3
The Audi A3’s specs are almost a complete match to the Subaru WRX, with the benefit of German engineering and luxury.
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How to find affordable car insurance for your Subaru WRX

It’s expensive to insure a vehicle for off-roading due to the risk off-roading poses, but it’s expensive to insure a sports car, too! Why isn’t there an easy way to find affordable car insurance no matter what kind of car you drive?
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