Subaru Outback isn’t your average station wagon. It offers plenty of cargo space, has a nicely equipped cabin with standard tech features, and comes with an excellent AWD system that provides it with light off-road capabilities. Plus, a turbocharged engine gives you plenty of power.
However, all these features make choosing the best tires for Subaru Outback a difficult task, especially if you are not sure what you want from your Outback. That is, whether you intend to use this station wagon for light off-roading or are mainly going to use it for everyday driving.
If you mostly drive on the highway, and only hit the trail once in a while, standard touring all-season tires are worth a shot. But if you are looking for a reliable off-road solution, all-terrain tires are your best bet. Their rugged construction will complement the Outback’s off-road ability.
What about those who intend to test their Outback at the speed limit? Such drivers would do well with summer or performance all-season tires. As for those living in areas which receive more than their fair share of snow, a set of winter tires can keep their Outback steady.
#1. Michelin Defender LTX M/S – Best Overall
The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is capable of handling whatever you can throw at it. The successor of the LTX M/S2, one of Michelin’s best-selling tires, the LTX M/S boasts multiple features that make it one of the best tires for Subaru Outback.
The LTX M/S comes with a chip-resistant EverTread compound. The compound is the main reason behind its excellent all-season traction and grip. Were it not for the tread compound, the LTX M/S couldn’t perform as well as it does in warm and cold conditions.
Circumferential grooves in its tread area minimize the risk of hydroplaning. They manage that by effectively eliminating water from beneath this tire’s footprint. Aside from that, multiple 3D Active Sipes enable this tire to reliably grip the road, even in light snow.
Ride quality is one area where this tire copies its predecessor. Which is excellent news, given that the LTX M/S2 was virtually noise-free on the highway. What’s more, Michelin backs this tire’s T-, H-, and V-speed rated models with a commendable 70,000-mile treadwear warranty.
However, despite all these features, the LTX M/S is not recommended to be used in harsh wintry conditions. It lacks the biting edges that help dedicated winter tires plough throw snow and ice. For this reason, this tire should only be used in warm, wet and mildly cold conditions.
- 70,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Offers year-round traction
- Quiet and comfortable ride
- Not designed for deep snow driving
#2. Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady – Best Touring
Goodyear tires aren’t as expensive as their counterparts from Michelin or Bridgestone. Yet they are every bit as reliable on the road. Need proof? The Assurance WeatherReady offers plenty of them to show that sometimes in life, you get more than what you paid for.
The Assurance WeatherReady is one of three tires in this review that have been awarded the three peak mountain snowflake emblem, or 3PMSF, certification. The symbol is an indication that relevant authorities have deemed this tire safe for driving in harsh wintry conditions.
A soy-based tread compound is the reason behind this tire’s excellent snow performance. This unique compound has the ability to stay flexible year round. This enables it to adapt to road conditions, keeping your Outback stable even when the road is littered with ice and snow.
Traction is another area where this tire shines. It comes with specially-designed grooves that expand as the tire wears. As a result, even when a tire has lost percentage of its tread depth, you’d continue to get reliable traction on the road.
Keep in mind, though, that this tire isn’t as silent as some of its competitors out there. That isn’t to say that its road noise will force you to roll up the windows and put in earphones. Still, when compared with other tires in this review, the Assurance WeatherReady isn’t exactly quiet.
- Excellent treadwear warranty for an all-weather tire
- Great winter traction
- Supreme wet performance
- Makes a fair bit of noise
#3. Michelin CrossClimate 2 – Best for Light Snow
What is the main reason behind Outback’s popularity? This station wagon comes with a reliable all-wheel drive system that enables it to offer reliable traction year round. The last part – reliable year round traction – is precisely what the CrossClimate 2 offers.
Dry handling is one area where this tire pulls out all the stops. The CrossClimate 2’s lateral grip is an outstanding riposte to anyone who complaints about its high price. Sure, this tire doesn’t come cheap. But no cheap tire out there can offer the sort of lateral grip it offers.
Similar is the case with traction in slippery conditions. In contrast to the CrossClimate+, its predecessor which struggled a bit in the rain, this tire’s braking is excellent. Handling also feels solid with a good grip, with the stopping distances among the shortest in the class.
But the best thing about the CrossClimate 2 is how it handles light snow. No all-season/all weather tire can compete with this tire’s stopping distances in mild wintry conditions. This explains why, unlike most tires in this category, this model feels balanced on snow.
All of this isn’t to say that the CrossClimate 2 doesn’t have any drawbacks. For one, this tires 60,000-mile treadwear warranty leaves customers asking for more. In addition, its premium rivals offer better composure when going over bumps (though it’s noise-free).
- Outstanding lateral grip
- Braking distances are among the shortest in the category
- Reliable on light snow
- Not as comfortable as its premium rivals
#4. Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS – Best Performance All-Season
The Bridgestone Dueler H/P AS isn’t the automatic first choice of most Outback drivers. Most popular retailers don’t rate it as a high-performance tire. Yet, if you want to change the way your Outback drives (for the better), there aren’t many better options out there.
A high-silica tread compound has managed to reduce the weight and rolling resistance of this tire. The result, as you might guess, is improved fuel economy. The tread compound has also improved this model’s grip and traction over wet, icy or snowy pavements.
While most all-season tires don’t care much about steering responsiveness, the Dueler H/P is an exception. Its high-stiffness closed shoulders improve this model’s steering feel. They also positively impact its handling, braking and cornering.
A combination of high-angle lateral grooves and deep circumferential grooves helps channel water away from the contact patch. You can thus count on this tire to minimize the risk of hydroplaning.
Unfortunately, there are two areas in which this tire could have done better. At a time when most all-season tires are offering 80,000-mile or higher treadwear warranties, the Dueler H/P Sport wants you to settle for half that figure. Plus, we have heard complaints about early wear with this tire.
- Outstanding steering responsiveness
- Relatively low fuel consumption
- Impressive dry and wet performance
- Low treadwear warranty
#5. Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 – Best Mid-Priced Tire
Yokohama tires are renowned for three things. Super-affordable asking prices that the majority can afford paying. Long treadwear warranties that you don’t get from other mid-range brands. And impressive tread lives. The Geolandar G015 boasts all three.
Start with the asking price. The Geolandar G015 isn’t a dirt-cheap tire, mind that. But it is nowhere near as expensive as some of the tires we discussed above. To give you an example of how affordable this tire is, you can buy two of these for the price of one Dueler H/P Sport.
Luckily, its reduced asking price has minimal effect on this tire’s performance. Thanks to its all-season tread compound that features unique high-tech polymers and orange oil, it offers increased traction in both on- and off-road conditions, with long lasting treadwear as a bonus.
As for traction on snow, the AT G015 comes with a snowflake/mountain emblem. This is an indication that the tire meets the rater’s severe weather requirements. It can handle light as well as deep snow without giving you a whiff of how terrible the road conditions are.
Warranty is another area where this tire outshines its meager asking price. Depending on the size you’d choose, you’d either find a 50K or 60K mile tread warranty. Plus, since it’s available in 15-20 inch sizes, this tire covers all the models of the Outback.
- Carries the mountain/snowflake emblem
- Backed with 50,000 or 60,000 mile tread warranty
- Offers reliable on- and off-road traction
- Don’t have the aggressive sidewall look
#6. Vredestein Quatrac Pro – Best All-Weather
The Vredestein Quatrac Pro shares two similarities with the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady. Both tires come with the three-peak mountain/snowflake symbol, meaning they perform reliably in light snow. And both are affordably priced for the category.
The only area where it can’t compete with the WeatherReady is dry performance. Its traction and grip levels on dry tarmac aren’t as good as those of its counterpart. Still, unless you have driven the WeatherReady before, you won’t notice the downgrade in dry handling.
But the area where this tire really shines is outstanding light-snow traction – thanks to the 3D sipes, the Quatrac Pro can stop and accelerate on snow better than the majority of all-season tires. Its handling in the cornering is also excellent, especially for a tire that doesn’t cost much.
While other tires could have used the aggressive tread pattern as an excuse to get loud on the highway, the Quatrac Pro is different. Vredestein has done a commendable job of making it quiet and comfortable on the road, allowing you to drive with the windows rolled all the way down.
The only glaring issue with this tire is the 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is nowhere near enough when you compare it with other tires in this category.
- Comes with the three peak mountain/snowflake symbol
- Very comfortable and quiet on the highway
- Excellent overall performance in light snow
- Lower treadwear warranty than the competition
#7. General Altimax RT43 – Best All-Season
The General Altimax RT43 is one of the best all-season tires for your Subaru Outback. Its Sound Suppression Technology, twin-cushion silica tread compound and low surface abrasion technology makes it suitable for most weather conditions except snow.
This tire’s twin cushion silica tread compound features two layers. The upper layer is the high-density one and is responsible for providing this tire with year-round traction. The lower-layer, meanwhile, absorbs vibrations coming off the road.
General has supplemented this model’s dual-tread compound with a Sound Wave Suppression technology. Together with the independent tread blocks, the technology deflects road noise before it can reach the cabin, allowing you to enjoy a noise-free ride.
As if the abovementioned characteristics weren’t enough to help you make your mind in favor of this tire, General provided it with two features you don’t normally see in budget tires.
A Replacement Tire Monitor (RTM) provides you with the status of the tire. If the inscription “Replacement Tire Monitor” shows three time on the circumferential of the rib, it means the tire is new. Otherwise, it’s time to install a new set of tires.
A Visual Alignment Indicator (VAI) lets you check wheel alignment. It is represented by two sipes on opposite shoulder blocks of the tire. If both the sipes of the VAI are wearing the same, it means your wheels are perfectly aligned.
- Comes with two handy tire indicators
- Has Sound Wave Suppression technology
- Twin cushion silica tread compound absorbs road vibrations
- Lower treadwear warranty than the competition
#8.Michelin Primacy MXM4 – Best Touring All-Season
Michelin has made use of cutting-edge technologies in the Primacy MXM4’s design. A Sunflower Oil Helio technology takes advantage of a special compound called Helio, enriched with sunflower oil, to improve this tire’s traction in all-weather conditions.
The ‘Filament At Zero Degrees’ technology places the nylon filaments inside the MXM4’s tread at a zero degree individual angle. This intricate arrangement is the reason why the MXM4 can retain its original shape for long and offers enhanced steering responsiveness.
You can also count on this tire to perform exceedingly well in heavy rain. Even in deep puddles of water, you won’t have any qualms about its hydroplaning resistance. The traction will be outstanding in slippery conditions, and the handling will feel sure-footed.
Then comes the 3D Variable Thickness Sipe Technology. It provides the outer shoulder of the tire with a fair few number of sipes to help it dig through snow and ice before it lands on hard tarmac, effectively ensuring excellent performance in harsh wintry conditions.
Having said that, there are two areas where this tire disappointed us. The first of which, an astronomical price tag most people cannot afford paying, was expected. The second underwhelming thing about this tire, a relatively average treadwear warranty of 55,000 miles, was unexpected.
- Green-X certification for fuel efficiency
- Sunflower Oil Helio Technology for added grip on wet surfaces
- Comfortable and noise-free driving experience
- Astronomically expensive for a touring all-season tire
#9. Michelin Latitude Tour HP – Best Touring All-Season
The main reason all-season tires have become almost every driver’s favorite choice of late is that their traction and grip is unrivaled on most surfaces. Models like the Latitude Tour HP take things one step further with their durable construction and high-end cornering and braking abilities.
Michelin has opted to provide this tire with three of its exclusive technologies. The first, titled ‘Comfort Contact Technology’, won’t let the Tour HP’s contact with the road break come what may, ensuring that the passengers sitting in the cabin aren’t exposed to vibrations.
Then comes the ‘Filament At Zero Degrees Technology’, whose merits we have already discussed above. The last of the three technologies is called Green X, which increases this tire’s fuel efficiency without degrading key metrics such as tread wear and traction.
A wide groove tread pattern ensures brilliant precision and steering responsiveness at high speeds. An effective distribution of the tread pattern along the tire, made possible by the Comfort Contact Technology, provides you with a superior grip.
Unfortunately, this tire’s traction on snow and ice is non-existent. Even on light snow this tire’s handling didn’t inspire any confidence in its ability to carry us from point A to point B. So you shouldn’t count on this tire to keep your vehicle stable in harsh wintry conditions.
- Green-X certification for fuel efficiency
- Ensures steering responsiveness at high speeds
- Keeps vibrations at bay
- Lack luster performance on snow and ice
#10. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Best Winter
No matter which SUV, CUV or even car you are talking about, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 is currently the best winter tire on the market. The reason why we’re so bullish about this tire’s prospects has to do with a) stiffened tread compound, b) biting edges and b) Multicell technology.
The stiffened tread compound, combined with this tire’s tread blocks and interlocking 3D sipe design, enhance this tire’s handling response. The combination also reduces this tire’s wear, enabling it to last multiple seasons with proper care.
The biting edges help this tire dig through snow and ice and keep on going until it comes into contact with a solid surface. They are the reason why, despite being studless (most dedicated winter tires are studdable), this tire can conquer the harshest wintry conditions.
Then comes the Multicell technology.
This technology works by removing water from the tire’s tread area, thereby enabling the snow and ice on the stiffened tread compound come into contact with the snow and ice on the road. The resulting snow-on-snow contact generates enough friction to keep this tire rolling.
A couple of tread wear indicators (TWIs) are also on offer. These narrow rubber bars are positioned inside this tire’s wide circumferential grooves. Their visibility increases as the tire wears before getting completely flush with the surface as the 2/32’’-inch tread depth landmark is reached.
- 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating
- Offer excellent traction on snow and ice
- Comes with tread wear indicators and winter wear bars
- Doesn’t come with a treadwear warranty
#11. Continental TrueContact Tour
Many people think that Continental tires are super-expensive. Many people, as it turns out, haven’t heard of the TrueContact Tour. Here is a premium touring all-season tire that you can afford without blowing a hole in your pocket.
The second good news is that no corners have been cut to keep this tire’s price competitive. Had that been the case, it wouldn’t have been equipped with Continental’s EcoPlus Technology.
On the one end, it decreases the tire’s weight, reducing rolling resistance and, by extension, fuel consumption. On the other end, the EcoPlus Technology helps this model wear evenly. So not only you’ll save money on fuel. You’ll also save money by not spending it on a replacement.
Continental’s own tests confirm this. Data released by the company shows that this model has a 27% longer tread life than the one it replaced. The savings brought about by fuel economy aren’t shown in numbers, but you’d experience it first-hand upon driving this tire.
Yet another excellent thing about this tire is that it is available in almost all the most popular sizes. Continental offers the TrueContact Tour in all sizes from 15- to 19-inches, with the tire’s dimensions letting it cover coupes, compact cars, mid-size sedans, and even some minivans.
Nothing about this tire’s internal construction raises any eyebrows. A single-ply polyester casing is standard for tires in this category. Similar is the case with dual steel belts, reinforced by spirally-wound nylon for increased high-speed capability and durability.
- Comes with QuickView maintenance indicators
- Short braking distances for a tire in this category
- 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on some models
- Braking distances aren’t short on icy roads
Factors to Consider When Buying Tires for Subaru Outback
Type of the Tire
As stated above, four types of tires are mostly preferred by Outback drivers:
All-season tires are the first choice of most Outback owners. They provide excellent traction and grip in dry conditions. Their handling and lateral stability are also excellent. These tires also come with extended warranties, ensuring you that if something goes wrong with the tire, you’ll be covered.
Since it comes with an all-wheel-drive system, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some Outback owners opt for all-terrain tires. These tires have a tough sidewall and tread compound to minimize the risk of cuts, punctures, and chips. As you might guess, AT tires perform much better off-road than on the highway.
Not many Outback owners want to ride this station wagon at breakneck speeds. But for the minority that does, high-performance tires are worth a shot. These tires’ soft rubber compounds, durable construction and excellent responsiveness help you stay in control of your vehicle at high speeds.
Winter tires can be divided into two categories: studless and studdable. The latter have grown in number over the past few years, thanks to innovative technologies which doesn’t require you to insert metal studs in your tire to go from point A to point B on snow-laden roads.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tires come standard on Subaru Outback?
The Yokohama Avid GT come standard on all Outback models, including Base, Premium, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT, and Touring XT.
What is the quietest tire for Subaru Outback?
The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is the quietest tire for Subaru Outback. This tire is virtually noise-free on the highway, even at high speeds. It does an excellent job of absorbing road vibrations and helps the passengers stay a quiet ride, even with windows rolled all the way down.
When should Subaru tires be replaced?
According to a rule of thumb, Subaru tires or that of any other vehicle should be replaced when the tread depth reaches between 3/32 and 4/32 of an inch. Tires with inadequate tread are a safety hazard as they won’t grip the road when driving in the rain, snow and ice.
Do you have to replace all 4 tires on Subaru Outback?
Subaru recommends replacing all 4 tires on the Outback at once. However, if one tire has suffered damage and the other three are in relatively brand new condition, you could replace the damaged tire with the same size, model, and brand.
What pressure should Subaru tires be?
According to a rule of thumb, tire pressure should range from 32 to 36 psi.
Subaru Outback’s tough-looking exterior, lifted ride height and station wagon body allow this vehicle to offer added practicality to drivers. Sure, its acceleration could be better (blame the CVT transmission for that), but this model costs thousands less than its luxury competitors.
If you want to make the most out of this drive, all you need to do is to install the right set of tires under your Outback. That means installing the set of tires that are made for the conditions you intend to drive them on. Do that, and this vehicle won’t give you any reason for complaint.