What is the difference between camping and overlanding? Overlanding is a fairly new term in the U.S., but four-wheel-drive enthusiasts have been combining a road trip and taking their vehicle to less-explored locations for decades. Many enthusiasts take it to the next level and modify their all-wheel-drive vehicles with lift kits, underbody protection, and larger wheels and tires.
Can you take a Subaru SUV overlanding with no vehicle modifications? Subaru is perfectly positioned for the adventure and the 2020 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, and Ascent all come standard with all-wheel-drive, and 8.7-inches of ground clearance without any modifications. Which Subaru SUV is best for overlanding and exploring less-explored locations?
How adventurous are you going to be on your overlanding trip? The more adventurous the locale, the more important it is that you have a vehicle that fits your off-pavement needs. Know your vehicle’s approach, departure, and ramp-over angles.
What is a vehicle’s approach, departure, and ramp-over angles?
The departure angle is the maximum angle a vehicle can descend without the tail dragging, and the approach angle is the maximum angle a vehicle can crawl up without the front of the vehicle dragging. The ramp-over angle refers to the angle between your tires and the center of your vehicle's underbody.
The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek is plenty capable with an 18-degree approach angle, a 29-degree departure angle and a 19.7-degree breakover angle. The Outback has an 18.6-degree approach angle, a 21.7-degree departure angle and a 19.4-degree breakover angle.
The 2020 Subaru Ascent has a 17.6-degree approach angle, a 21.8-degree departure angle and an 18.2-degree breakover angle. The 2020 Forester comes with a 22.9-degree approach angle, a 24.6-degree departure angle and a 19.6-degree breakover angle.
The bigger the number, the better the vehicle is suited for more extreme off-pavement adventure. As you can see by the numbers, the Subaru Forester is the best Subaru SUV to handle more extreme off-road trails without any vehicle modifications. The Subaru Crosstrek is a close second.
Other considerations include the SUVs other off-road capabilities which Subaru includes as standard equipment on Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, and Ascent. It’s called X-Mode. But the 2020 Forester Sport, new 2021 Crosstrek Sport, and 2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT all come with the upgraded dual function X-Mode for more extreme off-pavement capability. You can read about it here.
How much cargo room does the Subaru Forester have?
Forester comes with 35.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 76.1 cubes with the rear seats down. The maximum load length of the floor is 73.1 inches which is big enough for two people to sleep inside. The Forester’s roof rails can support a roof top tent and occupants with a total weight of 700 pounds.
Our recommendation for the best Subaru vehicle for overlanding, without any modifications other than all-terrain tires, would be the 2020 Subaru Forester Sport trim ($30,005). The new Forester compact SUV is ideally suited for your overlanding adventure right off the showroom floor.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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