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You Can Lift Your New Subaru Vehicle And Not Risk A High-Speed Rollover

The new 2020 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback and Ascent are off-road ready and even more capable with a lift kit. See how lifting your vehicle affects rollover safety.

The new Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, and Ascent all-wheel-drive models have a “go-anywhere” attitude and many owners lift their vehicles for more extreme adventures. You can improve the look and ground clearance with a lift kit, and won’t need to worry about scraping the lower body while traveling through scrub brush, a river or a rocky trail.

Choosing a certain height increase, offset top plate design and the final geometry in suspension is crucial not only for ride comfort but for safety as well. Your new Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, and Ascent come equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) system as standard equipment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires it on all passenger vehicles under 10,000 lbs GVWR to help reduce the risk of rollover crashes.

Lifted 2020 Subaru Outback XT Onyx Edition

How does lifting your vehicle affect its rollover safety?

Lifting your all-wheel-drive vehicle can change the dynamics of the ESC and increase the risk of a rollover crash if the driver engages in an evasive lane-change maneuver at highway speeds and can lose control. How do you know if your lifted vehicle still complies with the integrity of the original design from the factory?

One company that sells lift kits and off-road accessories for Subaru vehicles, LP Aventure, tests their packages to make sure they are compliant with the NHTSA and it's FMVSS126 Federal Motor Vehicle safety standard. LP Aventure collaborates with PMG at its test and research center testing its lift kit packages on various Subaru models.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek is tested for safety

They put the lifted vehicles through rigorous testing that involves the installation of a custom testing robot and computer system in the vehicle along with extensive data logging equipment. The vehicle is run through the test track performing a series of ever-growing steering adjustments and corrections. The robot can calculate all of the forces and check whether the vehicle is performing within the test requirements.

2020 Subaru Forester is in full compliance with NHTSA

Lifting your new 2020 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, or Ascent vehicle can be done in combination with the proper wheel and tire package to improve your vehicle’s off-road prowess and still be in full compliance with the NHTSA standard. If you are putting a lift kit on your new Subaru, check with the supplier to make sure it meets the FMVSS126 Federal Motor Vehicle safety standard. If not, you could be at risk of a high-speed rollover.

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Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagramSubaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: LP Aventure


KEVIN MARTY (not verified)    April 26, 2022 - 12:15PM

hi, a question for you when you have time. i am looking at purchasing either a Subara outback (or forester) 'wilderness' which offers about 9.5 inches ground clearance...i'm wondering if I save money on the outback (for example, the non-wilderness outback) and then install a lift kit (add one or two inches; i believe they start at 8.7 inches of clearance) if that is just a good for off-roading? (instead of spending the extra $10k on a wilderness). not sure how much a good lift kit costs to buy/install and if this would offer about the same off-road capabilities and purchasing a 'wilderness' instead...thanks for your help on this!!

Kevin Marty