Those who constantly take their vehicles off the beaten path know for sure that big and small damages happen from time to time even when you stay away from difficult trails. If you don’t want to deal with chips, scratches, dents, and bigger repairs on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to protect the front end of your Subaru Crosstrek with an off-road bumper, bull bar, or at least a rally-style light bar.
In this article, we will review the most common solutions to protect the front end of your crossover and help you to decide which one of them will be the best to satisfy your needs.
Why Do You Need an Off Road Bumper or a Guard?
Even though a Subaru Crosstrek has some of the shortest rear bumper overhangs, the front bumper sticks out quite a bit, limiting the approach angles and getting in the way of obstacles. With that being said, some of the biggest disadvantages of stock bumpers is their vulnerability and clearance.
Plastic bumpers are easy to damage while wheeling, so if you don’t want to deal with costly repairs every time you hit the trails, it may be a good idea to think about an off-road bumper or a bumper guard to protect the front end of your Subaru.
What Off road bumpers & Protectors are available for a Crosstrek?
There are various front-end protection solutions available for these compact crossovers, starting from simple universal-fit rally-style light bars and push bars up to custom tubular and full off-road bumpers made of sheet metal. They are priced accordingly, so you can pay somewhere around $100 for a small rally-style light bar and up to a couple of thousand for a custom-fabricated bumper.
- Rally-style light bars $
- Push bars & Bumper protectors $$
- Custom Off-road bumpers $$$
Universal Light Bars
Rally-style lightbars, provide minimal protection from debris on your way, yet barely protect your bumper. These products will be perfect for light offroading and adding that 4×4-style to your Crosstrek.
Bull bars, Push bars & Guards
A bumper guard is a great option if you don’t want to replace your entire bumper. These universal and model-specific add-ons can be found for relatively cheap online or at a local auto parts store.
Bumper guards are generally made from steel or aluminum tubing which noticeably improves the protection for the middle portion of the bumper, yet may decrease the ground clearance in some cases. They come in a variety of different styles including bull bars and brush guards with integrated skid plates. Generally speaking, these guards will look good on a Crosstrek and can really add to the overall off-road car aesthetic.
“Off-road bumpers and bumper guards provide protection to your vehicle while you’re out on the trails. They are made of durable materials that can withstand the abuse of off-roading. This means that you won’t have to worry about expensive repairs if you accidentally damage your bumper”.
Off-road bumpers: Tubular & Solid
Off-road bumpers are also a great option for those who want extra protection, as they generally offer more coverage and can withstand more abuse than stock bumpers. They also tend to look better and provide better off-roading capabilities as well, but due to the low popularity there aren’t many shops specializing on producing custom-fit bumpers for a Subaru Crosstrek
There are three main types of offroad bumpers that may be used on a Subaru Crosstrek – tubular, solid sheet metal and custom cut plasti bumpers.
- Tubular bumpers are a popular choice for many Crosstrek owners because they’re lightweight and provide good protection against obstacles on the trail. They can also be customized with spotlights, winches, and other accessories to make your off-road experience even more enjoyable. Low-profile tubular bumpers are often called Pre-runner style bumpers.
- Solid sheet metal bumpers are heavier than tubular bumpers, but they offer the most thorough protection. They’re also great for mountain roads and off-road trails that require extra strength and durability.
- Custom-cut bumpers are basically stock bumpers with recessed overhangs that allow you to improve the approach & departure angles without the need to install aftermarket upgrades. It’s a more challenging task than it may appear because you will have to relocate numerous brackets and hidden components.
“With the low center of mass of the boxer engine and the nearly perfect weight distribution of the drivetrain, it wouldn’t be a good idea to overload the front end of your Crosstrek with a heavy steel bumper that would cause a nose dive, so a simple bumper cut or a light-weight, low profile bumper would be a perfect choice for this vehicle”.
- GP 1st gen production years: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017;
- GT 2nd gen production years: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023;
Off-road bumpers and guards are a great way to protect your car while you’re out on the trails. They are made of durable materials that can withstand the abuse of off-roading. This means that you won’t have to worry about expensive repairs if you accidentally damage your bumper.
Off-road bumpers come in three main types: tubular, solid sheet metal, and custom-cut plastic. Tubular bumpers are a popular choice for many Crosstrek owners because they’re lightweight and provide good protection against obstacles on the trail. Solid sheet metal bumpers are heavier than tubular bumpers, but they offer the most thorough protection. Custom-cut bumpers are basically stock bumpers with recessed overhangs that allow you to improve the approach & departure angles without the need to install aftermarket upgrades.
Buying Advice from Offroadium
If you are on a budget and simply looking to add that off-road flavor to your Trekky, it makes sense to stick with a rally-style light bar or a bull bar (push bar). These products look great, allow the installation of driving lights or LED lightbars, and offer easy installation. They don’t require serious modifications and aren’t expensive.
- SSD Performance Rally Light Bar For LEDs or Round Lights – 2013-2017 Subaru Crosstrek
- SSD Performance Rally Light Bar For LEDs or Round Lights – 2018-2020 Subaru Crosstrek
- VANGUARD Black Powdercoat Wide Bull Bar – 19-22 Subaru Crosstrek
If you’re not only concerned with the looks and searching for additional protection and functionality, yet don’t want to cut up the front bumper and weld stuff you may want to check out this winch bumper:
In case you want to push the limits of your Subaru Crosstrek – a custom off-road bumper will be a good investment because it will provide additional functionality and durability to keep up with the big dogs and attack some serious 4×4 trails. You can fabricate one DIY or contact one of the custom shops to get it.
Related Parts & Mods
- Anderson Design & Fabrication 1.5″ Lift Kit – For 2018-2020 Subaru Crosstrek
- Rough Country 2″ Lift Kit – For 2018-2020 Subaru Crosstrek
- LP Aventure Rear Differential Skid Plate – For 2013-2021 Subaru Crosstrek
- WARN Semi-Hidden Winch Mounting Kit – For 2018-2020 Subaru Crosstrek
- Front Runner Slimline II Rack Kit (Attaches to roof rails) – 2012 – 2017 Crosstrek
- Front Runner Slimsport Roof Rack Kit for Crosstrek – 2018 & Up Crosstrek
*Before ordering any part or accessory, it is recommended that you verify its fitment with a qualified professional and/or seller. We are not responsible for fitment or other issues that may arise from using the products featured on our website.
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Matt brings over a decade of automotive expertise to his role as staff writer and editor at Offroadium.com. With an enduring passion for the off-road vehicles and adventures, he is devoted to creating interesting content that equips 4x4 enthusiasts with the knowledge to improve their rigs.