Jump to content

Off-road Outback?

Recommended Posts

I recently went hunting, and at the ranch the "roads" were little more than off-road trails in many sections. Deeply rutted in spots, rocky, gravel, sometimes dips in the rocky sections, etc. We were in a 2WD Nissan Titan (V8, limited slip and a pretty decent amount of ground clearance thanks to the P265/70R18 tires), and it did pretty well. There were only a couple of sections that required a judicious use of throttle (as in just enough to move the truck but not to much to spin the tires or go to fast so as to lose control) to climb up over a ledge or through a dip.


I saw a thread or two about off-roading in the outback, but all I really saw was a video that showed yeah you could do it but it would require some modifications. Is it a fair statement that the vehicle is really just for dirt roads, fire-roads and poor weather conditions (pavement or dirt road) and anything that might even give a tiny bit of trouble to a 2WD truck with a lot of torque and a pretty decent amount of ground clearance would be horror to an Outback or Forrester? Or could the Outback handle it? I realize that for pure off-roading it would not be a 1st choice but as a do everything vehicle it would be nice to have the ability to at least tackle some not too difficult trails.


I wish I had pictures of the area to help illustrate what I am talking about. Think Texas ranch trail. I think my 2WD Ranger (think, I really don't know) could have made it through since it has decent tires on it, but might have required the use of some momentum which runs the risk of damage or losing control, and I am positive the Ranger would have bottomed out more than once since the Titan did bottom out twice.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as traction, the OB is gonna beat any pickup truck. AWD with limited slip rear...no traction problems.


I had a 99 jeep cherokee before my OBXT. The only things the Jeep had over the OB were Approach, Departure, and Breakover angles. Everything else, the OB owns. well, that and I didn't care about bumping up against stuff in the jeep. i'd cry if I bumped up my OB. The OB actaully has more ground clearence than most SUV's.....the lowest part on the OB is hihger than the lowest part on most SUV's.


I'd say the OB is fine for light to moderate off roading. Anything serious and you need a jeep or a 4x4 truck. But, the OB wasn't desinged for off roading. It was designed to get you out of a jam if you had to go off road.

(Updated 8/22/17)

2005 Outback FMT

Running on Electrons

Link to comment
Share on other sites



If the Titan is a recent one, they have 9.9" of clearance, which beats the OXT's 8.7" quite nicely. However, if a 2WD truck can make it up something, then unless the extra inch of clearance was the critical matter, the OXT would make it up just fine.


I've offroaded in cars and trucks for many years and I find 4WD-Anything to be better than just about any 2WD. My STi scrambles up deeply rutted snow trails better than a RWD Tacoma, though it does take momentum to get past the wall of snow it ends up pushing :p The OXT is much better.


That said, I wouldn't use the OXT and its lack of a low range for rock / boulder fields. The OXT's clutch sucks and really sends up a stink cloud if you crawl under 4 mph. In fact, that lack of a low range pretty much kills the OXT for any kind of crawling, which really dissappoints me: I guess I'll still have to get a truck back in the garage. Thinking that new Toyota FJ.


But for the most part, OXT versus 2WD Nissan Titan, unless you're hauling heavy payloads or towing, the OXT will be better on and off-road in just about every way.



Joel, whose OXT is covered in scratches from brush, rocks, etc. And does the 1/4 mile in 14.0 at 3000 ft elevation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, the truck had about 10" of ground clearance as you said Joel. The 4x4 version I think has even an extra inch. If I was to do off-roading often, and in conditions from dry to mud and year I would consider buying a dedicated vehicle such a Wrangler or 4x4 pickup, lift it, and slap some real tires on them.


Sounds like the OB could probably handle this trail, but the extra 1" of ground clearance, extra 4" of diameter of the Titan tires and extra 130 lb.-ft. of torque of the Titan engine would have made it much easier and safer (less likely to get hung up, easier to get up over an uneven part if the wheel gets in a rut due to the large wheels and more torque) than in the Outback. Since the conditions were so dry, 4WD was never a factor.


In a year or two my wife is going to need a new car and I would really prefer to get an Outback over an SUV or truck (mainly for mpg and handling) and would like to get rid of my truck to get down to 2 cars (with the possiblity of a third, but not necessary. My Ranger now is necessary if I want to get anything big).


I think it would be an interesting experiment to try, but I would want to have someone with a truck along with just in case. It would be nice to have something that could handle these ranch trails and be useful for the ohter 300 days that I am on the road.


Thanks for the comments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use