Best Tires for Subaru Outback

Introduction

Since its launch in 1995, the Subaru Outback has become an icon. It may have begun as a wagon hawked by Crocodile Dundee, but now it’s a best seller.

Favored by commuters and campers alike, the Outback practically begs for capable all season tires. The great news is that when considering the best tires for Subaru Outback, several outstanding choices exist.

The Michelin Defender LTX is our best overall, and the Milestar MS932 Sport Radial is the best value for the money. However, every tire we reviewed is recommended and worthy of your consideration.


Best Tires for Subaru Outback 2019

best tires for subaru outback pirelli

The best tires for a Subaru Outback in 2019 across all categories are:

  1. Michelin Defender LTX (all season)
  2. Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady (all season)
  3. Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus (all terrain)
  4. Milestar MS932 Sport Radial (budget)
  5. BF GoodRich Advantage T/A Sport (all season)
  6. General AltiMAX RT 43 Radial (all season)
  7. Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 (snow and ice).

Let’s dive into the detailed reviews.


Detailed Subaru Outback Tire Reviews 

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Michelin is the most well known premium tire brand in the world today. The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is absolutely worthy of the name. In fact, it may be the best all season tire available for Subaru Outback drivers today.

Michelin Defender LTX
Size: 225/65R17. PSI: 44. Max load: 1,874 lbs. Tire weight: 29 lbs. 6-Year, 70,000 mile warranty.

There are a few different sub-models. The M/S is designed primarily for year-round driving in light trucks and SUVs. The internal structure consists of two steel belts to support heavier loads and help extend the useful life. These tires feature the new Evertread Compound which is made for driving in tough conditions.

The tread design is symmetric with with four wide channels and multiple lateral grooves. This helps move water laterally away from the tire, which in turn, helps traction on wet roads and stopping performance. Resistance to hydroplaning is outstanding.

best tires for subaru outback Michelin defender

The Defender gets rave reviews across the board. Ride comfort and road noise are about as good as it gets for a Subaru Outback tire. Cornering and traction are very stable even at higher speeds.

Reasons to Buy

  • Premium brand
  • Best tire for wet climates
  • Driver friendly (grips the road and stable when cornering)
  • Comfortable ride and with minimal road noise
  • Strong all-season performance
  • Country of origin: U.S.A.
  • 6-year, 70,000 mile guarantee

Reasons to Not Buy

  • Traction on deep snow and ice lags purpose-made winter tires.

The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is a worthy top pick.

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Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady

The Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady is a grand touring all-season tire with broad capabilities.

Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady
Size: 225/65R17. PSI: 51. Max load: 1,874 lbs. Tire weight: 30 lbs. 6-Year, 60,000 mile warranty.

The Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady is an excellent “all arounder” and on par with the Michelin Defender. While not the best in every category, it scores well on all dimensions. Ride noise is good, comfort is very good and traction is great. That’s a really strong performance profile.

Construction includes two steel belts supporting the tread and standard polyester casing. A polyamide reinforcement allows for better handling, especially at high speeds.

The tread design features four channels with asymmetric grooves.  One very noticeable Sweeping Tread Groove (see right-hand side of tire tread below) displaces water and prevents hydroplaning. This design also makes great snow and ice performance in an all-season tire. In fact, it is one of the best Outback snow tires available.

Goodyear Assurance tire tread

The Goodyear WeatherReady receives excellent reviews in every tire category, including comfort and wet-dry-winter traction.

Reasons to Buy

  • Best snow performance for a general touring tire
  • Excellent traction in all conditions
  • Comfortable and quiet
  • Really great reviews
  • ~ 10% cheaper than Michelins
  • 6-year, 60,000 mile guarantee

Reasons to Not Buy

  • Slightly shorter warranty.

The Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady is a great all season tire especially for snowy climates.

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Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus

The Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain is one of the best all-terrain tires for a Subaru Outback.

Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus
Size: 225/65R17. PSI: 51. Max load: 1,874 lbs. Tire weight: 29 lbs. Unlimited time, 50,000 mile warranty.

While the Scorpion All Terrain does have good manners on the highway, it shines in off-road conditions. Driving on rocks, mud, grass and sand presents few problems for Scorpion tires.

Pirelli uses the finest materials in all its tires. Internal construction consists of two steel belts to support and stabilize the footprint. Multiple plies improve both durability and high-speed handling. Like other tires we reviewed, the casing is polyester.

The tread pattern is aggressive as you might expect for an all terrain tire.  The symmetric, high-void pattern effectively moves water, digs mud, and ejects stones from the grooves.

Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Tread

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Premium brand on par with Michelin
  • Very light handling for an all-terrain tire
  • Confident off road traction (mud, sand, rocks, grass)
  • Great in snow, good on ice (one of two 3PMSF rated tires in our review)
  • Very striking, aggressive look
  • 50,000 mile, unlimited time warranty

Reasons to Not Buy

  • May be overkill for some drivers (e.g., non-campers, live in moderate climates)
  • Some tread noise
  • Wet traction doesn’t match snow and off-road performance (still good though)
  • Premium price.

The Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain are among the best for any off-road conditions. Also, we have to admit, it’s just kind of cool to have the Pirelli name on the side of our tires.

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Milestar MS932 Sport Radial

The Milestar MS932 Sport Radial is a budget tire that offers good performance at a fantastic price.

Milestar MS932 Sport
Size: 225/65R17. Max load: 1,874 lbs. Tire weight: 27 lbs. 5-Year, 50,000 mile warranty for the MS932.

Ride comfort and handling are solid. While there is some noticeable road noise, very few drivers report it being a distraction. In fact, most don’t even notice it after a while. Traction on wet roads is the Milestar’s strongest feature. As a deep budget tire, it performs much better than its price would indicate.

The Milestar is a 6-ply all-season tire. Construction quality is good, and the tire feels solid in the hand.

The tread pattern is nice looking. The design is pretty standard with four channels and wide circumferential grooves to move water away from the tire surface.

Milestar ms932 tread

The Milestar gets excellent customer feedback. One could be forgiven for assuming this was a much more expensive tire after reading the reviews. The only real downside is durability. You should expect to replace these tires 10,000 to 20,000 miles earlier than Michelins or Goodyears.

Reasons to Buy

  • By far the best price for a quality tire
  • Good traction in wet weather
  • Solid ride comfort
  • Excellent customer feedback
  • 5-year, 50,000 mile guarantee

Reasons to Not Buy

  • Shorter useful life (10k – 20k less miles than leading brands)
  • Shorter warranty.

If value for the money is important to you, give the Milestar MS932 Sport Radials a close look. They are the best value Subaru Outback tires available.


BF GoodRich Advantage T/A Sport

The BF GoodRich Advantage gets great customer reviews and is in the same league as the Michelin Defender and Goodyear WeatherReady.

BF GoodRich Advantage T/A Sport
Size: 225/65R17. PSI: 44. Max load: 1,874 lbs. Tire weight: 30 lbs. 6-Year, 65,000 mile warranty.

The Advantage is one of the most frequently recommended all-season tires available for the Subaru Outback. Known for providing a soft and comfortable ride and excellent dry traction, the Advantage gets very good reviews. Wet traction and road noise are good but a notch below the best performers.

The tread on the GoodRich Advantage is a bit different. It has a continuous center rib and only two channels vs. the more common four.

bfgoodrich advantage tire tread

Construction consists of a two-ply polyester body casing, two steel belts for tread reinforcement and a sidewall stabilizer. In plain English, it’s all pretty standard stuff.

Reasons to Buy

  • Solid traction in snow
  • Soft comfortable ride
  • ~ 25% cheaper than Michelins
  • Country of origin: U.S.A.
  • 6-year, 65,000 mile guarantee

Reasons to Not Buy

  • Wet traction, while good, lags top performers
  • Slight road noise.

The BF GoodRich Advantage is a great value for the money for a name brand tire.

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General AltiMAX RT 43 Radial

The General AltiMAX RT 43 is a road touring tire and part of General’s flagship line. It’s a great all-season tire, especially if you live in dry climates.

General AltiMAX RT 43 Radial
Size: 225/65R17. PSI: 51. Max load: 1,874 lbs. Tire weight: 25 lbs. 6-Year, 75,000 mile warranty for the 102T and 65000 miles for the 102H.

Designed for even tread wear and long useful life, the AltiMAX offers a 6-year, 75,000 mile warranty for the 102T or 6-year, 65,000 mile warranty for H rated tires. Note: the T or H refer to the vehicle speed rating. The T has a top speed of 118 mph while the H is rated for 130 mpg.

The tread compound consists of a “Twin Cushion Silica Tread Compound.” Basically, this means there are two layers. The first is a high-density compound on top for traction and long wear. The second is a low-density foundation that helps minimize driving vibrations and promote a smoother ride. To strengthen the tread area, the AltiMAX uses twin steel belts.

General AltiMAX tire

Overall, this Outback tire gets excellent marks for comfort and handling. Road noise is negligible. Traction on snow and ice is good by regular tire standards, but lags top performers, especially dedicated winter and snow tires (those that have a 3PMSF symbol).

Reasons to Buy

  • Great price
  • Comfortable ride
  • Minimal road noise
  • Good traction on dry roads
  • Country of origin: U.S.A.
  • Best warranty in our roundup (6-year, 75,000 miles)

Reasons to Not Buy

  • Traction on snow and ice lags top all-season touring tires.

The General AltiMAX RT 43 represents excellent value for the money.

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Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2

The Michelin Latitude X-Ice is a top notch studless ice and snow tire designed for winter.

Sale
Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2
Size: 225/65R17. PSI: 44. Max load: 1,874 lbs. Tire weight: 29 lbs. 6-Year, 40,000 mile warranty.

The Latitudes may be the best snow tires for a Subaru Outback. Their best feature is that while they are great snow tires, they also have great road manners when driving in normal weather. If you have used snow tires before, you will know how important that is.

Construction is geared toward winter performance. The silica based winter tread rubber compound has two main functions. It stays firm at higher temperatures for wet and dry control. It remains flexible and pliable at lower temperatures for better traction on snow and ice.

As befitting a Subaru outback snow tire, the tread pattern is aggressive. The directional tread design helps evacuate water and slush to improve traction and prevent hydroplaning. The prominent Cross Z-sipes provide grip and stability on snowy and icy roads.

 

Michelin Latitude X-ICE tread

 

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Made for snow and ice (3PMSF rated)
  • Outstanding road manners for a snow tire
  • Has “snow wear bars” that show when tread no longer offers reliable snow and ice traction
  • Premium brand known for highest quality
  • 6-year, 40,000 mile guarantee

Reasons to Not Buy

  • May be overkill for light snow climates
  • All snow tires have shorter warranties (40,000 miles).

The Michelin Latitude X-Ice are amazing snow tires and worthy of checking out.

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Subaru Outback Tire Size Guide

Subaru Outback tire size specifications have remained unchanged since the 2015 year model. See table below for factory recommended sizes.

As always check your owner’s manual to confirm the correct tire size before making any purchases. Many vehicles will accommodate multiple sizes if you prefer taller, narrower, etc., tires.


Outback Tire Size Guide (2015 – 2019)

Recommended sizes have been unchanged over the past 5 years. All seven Subaru Outback sub-models use either 225/65R17 or 225/60R18 tires.

Outback ModelTire Size
2.5i225/65R17
2.5i Limited225/60R18
2.5i Premium225/65R17
2.5i Touring225/60R18
3.6R (2014-2015)225/65R17
3.6R Limited225/60R18
3.6 R Touring225/60R18

Outback Tire Size Guide (2010 – 2014)

For the period 2010 to 2014, specifications stayed consistent with only two recommended tire sizes across six sub-models.

Outback ModelTire Size
2.5i215/70R16
2.5i Limited225/60R17
2.5i Premium225/60R17
3.6R225/60R17
3.6R Limited225/60R17
3.6R Premium225/60R17

Speed and Load Index

After the tire sizes listed above, you will often see another number followed by a letter, such as 102H. The number refers to the maximum load rating for the tire. 102 is a common spec for a Subaru Outback tire and indicates a max load of 1,874 pounds.

The letter following the number refers to the speed index.  S and H are common symbols and refer to max speeds of 112 and 130 mph respectively.

Complete vehicle speed and load index charts can be found here.


Buyer’s Guide for Subaru Outback Tires

Main Types of Tires

While there are many different types (and sub-types) of tires, we focus on the four that are most relevant for Subaru Outback owners. Out of these, touring tires are by far the most common.

Touring. These tires are what most people think of when they hear “vehicle or passenger tires.” Touring tires are designed for smooth, comfortable rides, good all-season traction, and longer lives. Includes several different types including Grand Touring, All-Season Touring and Grand Touring Summer just to name a few.

Performance. These tires are for sports cars and/or more aggressive drivers. Performance tires are designed for very responsive handling and great traction. The tradeoffs are a less comfortable ride and shorter tread life. This segment includes special tires for summer and trucks.

All-Terrain. Great off-road traction is the main focus with these tires. Known for their knobby, aggressive tread designs, all-terrain tires provide a louder and firmer ride on highways. Winter traction is very good, and in some cases is close to purpose-made winter tires.

Winter and Snow. These tires are winter specialists and are usually removed in spring and summer months. They are outstanding ice, heavy snow and slush specialists. The best ones have good “road manners” even in dry conditions. Generally, winter tires have shorter warranties, usually no more than 50,000 miles.


Purchase Considerations When Buying Tires

Tires are big ticket purchases that most drivers use every day. Here are the key things to consider when buying Subaru Outback tires.

Climate. It goes without saying that climatic diversity is extremely high in the U.S. Rain, snow, deserts, winds all exist, often in very close proximity to each other. Major tire brands have unique approaches to construction and tread design. Some tires are just better in terms of wet traction, while others excel in terms of dry handling. Think about the climate where you live and be sure to match to the relative strengths of any tires you are considering purchasing.

Driving Habits. Many people buy tires based on their intentions versus how they actually drive. If you go camping once a year, you probably don’t need all-terrain tires, no matter how cool they look! For most people, all-season tires are the way to go. They are good enough for occasional off-roading and inclement weather.

Comfort. Tires have a moderate effect on comfort. Touring tires are made to balance comfort and handling. Some sports tires are softer and focused primarily on getting a strong grip. They sacrifice comfort for traction and handling. The good news is that finding “comfortable” tires is not that difficult. People are quick to call out tires with poor ride comfort in reviews.

Durability. Useful life clearly depends on where and how you drive. Really aggressive drivers will wear out tires much faster. That caveat aside, most quality budget tires (like Milestar) should last 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Better quality tires should easily get 60,000 miles and many will reach 80,000. One easy way to assess durability is to check the warranty.

Price.  Budget tires run from $60 t0 $70 per tire before installation, mid-tier from $90 to $130, and premium tires can approach $200. The good news is there are high-quality tires available for almost every budget. Budget tires are good value. While they may have 60% of the useful life of premium tires, they only cost one-third as much. Of course, you must go through the added hassle of buying and changing tires more frequently.


Conclusion

The Subaru Outback has been wildly successful over the past 25 years. Attractive prices, fuel efficiency and great on- and off-road performance is a value proposition that is hard to beat.

The Outback deserves a great tire. All of the tires we reviewed are highly recommended. Choosing the right one for you, depends on your budget, where and how you drive, and your local climate.

The Michelin Defender LTX is an excellent tire and about as low-risk of a purchase as you can find. For those on a budget, the Milestar MS932 is the best value for the money available.

The good news is that Subaru Outback owners have several great options.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the correct tire pressure?

This depends solely on the specific tire you’re using. For factory tires, the minimum PSI is usually around 32. For the all-season tires we covered in this review, the recommended PSI ranged from 44 to 51. Always check the manual/instructions included with your tires. If you have lost the paperwork, don’t worry! All the information you need is right there on the side of your tires.

How do I find tire sizes for older Outback models (1995-2009)?

Most older models use 225/55R17, 225/60R16 or 225/60R17. To get the correct size for your make and model, it is always best to check the owner’s manual. If that’s unavailable, the following site has a comprehensive list of factory recommended Subaru Outback tire sizes. We also recommend double checking with the seller before purchasing.

Is is worth spending extra money on the best tires for Subaru Outback?

Everyone’s situation is unique. From our perspective, tires are one automotive accessory that people feel the extra investment is worth it. The “pros” of buying Michelin or Goodyear all-season tires is very compelling: longer useful lives, designed for better stopping performance, safer in inclement weather, etc.

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