Subaru Reliability [Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, WRX, Impreza, CVT]

Subaru was the 21st largest automobile manufacturer by production worldwide in 2017. Subaru cars are famous for their signature design, rough-road capabilities, and performance. But what about Subaru reliability?

According to RepairPal, Subaru reliability is rated 3.5 out of 5.0. The Subaru also placed 14th for reliability out of 32 different car brands. So Subarus are above average when it comes to the reliability of their performance, safety, and overall longevity.

In terms of annual repair cost, the Subaru will cost an average of $617 per year, which means that it has above-average ownership costs.

Read on to learn more about how Subaru reliability, including the reliability of the Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, WRX, Impreza; also, the reliability of the Subaru CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).

How Reliable Are They?

Subaru reliability

RepairPal gave Subaru a 3.5 out of 5 when it comes to reliability. Subaru also placed 14th out of 32 car brands for reliability. Subaru’s annual ownership repair cost is around $617, which is above average. [1]

Subaru offers a wide range of vehicles, and each model has a different reliability rating. Overall, Subaru cars have an above-average reliability rating compared to other brands. 

If you consider buying a new Subaru, below are some vehicles to choose from. Aside from the reliability score, look also into the features and overall performance of each model:

1. Subaru Forester Reliability

The Subaru Forester is a versatile SUV that comes with advanced technology and safety features. Moreover, it has a reliability score of 3.5 out of 5 and ranks 21st out of 26 cars in its class.


The Subaru Forester has been around since 1997, and it shares its platform with the Impreza. Under the hood is the 2.5L flat-four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and has a towing capacity of 1500lbs.

Furthermore, the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) routes the engine’s power to Subaru’s trademark AWD system. 

The Subaru Forester has no sporting intentions but offers competent handling. It runs smoothly even over rough terrain. It has accurate steering, and the brakes are strong enough for emergency stops. 

Fuel Economy

The Forester has an EPA fuel-economy rating of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Given these ratings, the Subaru Forester will likely satisfy those looking for efficiency. 


The Subaru Forester won’t disappoint when it comes to safety and driver-assistance features. It gained a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it received the Top Safety Pick title from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Some safety features include:

  • Standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
  • Automated emergency braking
  • Standard adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Subaru DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System (Touring)

2. Subaru Outback Reliability

The Subaru Outback has an above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0. The Outback ranks 10th out of 26 models for the midsize SUV category. 

Also, the Subaru Outback has been around since 1994. And Subaru manufacturers stopped production in 2012. Both models are all-wheel-drive. 


Under the Subaru Outback’s hood is a pair of flat-four-cylinder engines that produce 182 horsepower for the 2.5L engine and 260 horsepower for the optional 2.4L version. Both engines are paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that mimics an eight-speed gearbox.

The Outback line has standard powertrains. It can go through inclement weather. It has nice ride quality, accurate steering, and is easy to manage on the highway. The Outback also has a towing capacity from 2,700 to 3,500lbs.

Fuel Economy

Based on EPA estimates, the Subaru Outback has a fuel-efficiency rating of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The turbocharged model comes with ratings of 23 mpg and 30 mpg on the city and highway, respectively.

The Outback base engine is expected to have 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. 


The Subaru Outback comes with the the standard Subaru’s EyeSight Suite.

Key features of this driver-assistance technology include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Standard adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist

The Subaru Outback is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top safety pick and the National Traffic Safety Administration’s five-star Subaru.

3. Subaru Crosstrek Reliability

How reliable are Subarus

The Subaru Crosstrek has an excellent reliability rating. In fact, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0. The Crosstrek ranks 1st out of the 26 vehicles in its segment. 

This compact SUV from Subaru comes in a neatly sized body and impressive technology. It has been around since 2012.


The base engine of the Subaru Crosstrek is a 2.0L four-cylinder that is 152 horsepower with 145 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, the optional engine is a 2.5L four-cylinder that is182 horsepower with 176 lb-ft of torque.

Lastly, the engines are paired either with the standard six-speed manual or the continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic.

Fuel Economy

Indeed, the Crosstrek is a very efficient car. The 2.0L four-cylinder engine paired with CVT is 28 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The variant with a 2.5L engine has 27 mpg and 29 mpg for the city and highway, respectively.


Based on the National Highway Traffic Administration crash tests, the Subaru Crosstrek received the highest five-star rating.

Some features available for this reliable Subaru include:

  • Automated emergency braking
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Adaptive cruise control

4. Subaru WRX Reliability

The Subaru WRX has an above-average reliability rating. Just like the other Subaru vehicles, it has a rating of 3.5 out of 5.0. Moreover, the WRX ranks 32nd out of the 36 models in the compact car category. 

This car has been around since 1992. It shared the same platform with the Impreza until the 2014 year model when it was first launched. Since 2014, a new standalone model has been introduced.


The Subaru WRX has a turbocharged 2.4L flat-four-cylinder engine that is 260 horsepower with 277 lb-ft of torque. It has either a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a 6-speed manual transmission.

The STI version is rumored to have as much as 400 horsepower with 361 lb-ft. of torque, delivering much higher performance.

Fuel Economy

The Subaru WRX has a fuel efficiency rating of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Thus, the WRX is not as efficient compared to other Subaru vehicles.


The WRX comes with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver-Assistance technology. Some features include:

  • Forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert

5. Subaru Impreza Reliability

The Subaru Impreza has an above-average rating in terms of reliability. In fact, it has a score of 3.5 out of 5.0. The Impreza ranks 33rd out of the 36 compact cars.

This compact car from Subaru has been manufactured since 1992. It is offered in either a four-door sedan or five-door body variants. The Impreza delivers good value for the money because of its practicality, performance, and features.


The Subaru Impreza is equipped with a four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, it comes standard with the AWD system with manual and continuously variable automatic transmission options.

The Impreza delivers great handling with quick and accurate steering, and the body doesn’t lean in turns.

Fuel Economy

Compared to the manual transmission, the Subaru Impreza with the continuously variable automatic transmission is more efficient. The most efficient variant gained the EPA ratings of 28 mpg and 36 mpg in the city and highway, respectively.

Lastly, the manual transmission is at 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The manual Impreza Sport has a combined rating of 30 mpg.


The Subaru Impreza earns top marks in the crash tests facilitated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And this is thanks to the brand’s EyeSight Suite that delivers impressive driver-assistance features.

The key safety features of the Impreza include:

  • Forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking;
  • Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert; and
  • Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist.

So, in general, how reliable are Subarus? According to RepairPal, out of 5.0, Subaru has a reliability score of 3.5. Also, out of 32 brands, Subaru placed 14th. In terms of repair cost, you’ll likely spend $617 per year, which is an above-average ownership cost.

Subaru CVT Reliability

Subaru is popular because of its boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. Aside from these features, the Subaru brand is also known for its drivetrain technology that goes well with its engine and AWD – the CVT.

CVT stands for continuously variable transmission. With Subaru’s CVT, the vehicle is getting two fluctuating hydraulically actuated pulleys and a chain-link instead of traditional automatic transmission.

The chain link is connected to the input and output shafts, and as the pulleys change, the drive ratios are also changed. This gives a smoother driving experience and better fuel efficiency.

How Reliable Are Subaru CVTs?

For the past many years, hundreds of Subaru owners have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the different issues relating to the CVTs.

Subaru doesn’t correlate the two, but it has announced extended warranties for some 2010-2018 CVT-equipped Subarus from 5 years/60,000 miles to 10 years/100,000 miles.

These include the following:

  • Forester,
  • Crosstrek,
  • Legacy,
  • WRX,
  • Impreza, and
  • Cutback.

Common Subaru CVT Issues

Some of the issues that could be sourced to the CVT are the following:

  • The vehicle came to jarring stops or stalled;
  • Malfunctioned CVT belt or pulley that creates shuddering and shaking sensations;
  • Malfunctioned CVT that causes the vehicle to pause when pressing the gas; and
  • Fluid seeping out of the CVT housing

Why Should You Choose Subaru?

Subaru is a well-known car brand known for its quality, safety, and capability. In fact, it is one of the best car brands you should consider. But what exactly makes the Subaru brand reliable?

Here are some of the things that backs up the reliability of Subaru:

1. Commitment to Safety

Subaru has an impressive commitment to safety, always pushing safety technologies forward. Moreover, all Subaru vehicles earn the Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Some of the safety features that will keep you and your cargo safe are the following:

  • Subaru EyeSight is a safety feature that gives you an extra set of eyes on the road;
  • Subaru Starlink Safety and Security give you peace of mind with a wide range of features, including the SOS Emergency Assistance, Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, and many more;
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control is a system that automatically determines steering and braking inputs to keep you in your intended direction; and
  • Protective System will protect you and your passengers during an accident. This includes an advanced airbag system and rollover sensor.

2. Subaru Boxer Engine

The Boxer engine is unique. Moreover, it is a well-designed engine that is strategically placed to work well with the drivetrain for maximum power, better handling, and efficiency.

Furthermore, this type of engine is originally designed for aircraft use, making the Subaru Boxer engine reliable and light.

3. Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive

Subaru’s AWD system allows you to enjoy maximum traction and limit the chance of sliding off the road, especially in poor conditions.

What makes the Subaru’s symmetrical AWD drive is it delivers enough power to each wheel of your Subaru. Because the power is distributed evenly, the wheels will have greater response time and efficiency.

Subaru – Staying Ahead in the Competition

Subaru is tough to beat in so many aspects. In fact, for the past several years, Subaru has made the best-selling AWD cars in America. Also, about 96% of the Subaru vehicles sold in the last 10 years are still functional and still on the road today.

Subaru is a well-respected brand in the car industry. In fact, Subaru is Kelley Blue Book’s “Most Trusted Brand,” “2016 Best Overall Brand,” and “Best Resale Value.” Lastly, according to ALG, Subaru is the “2017 Top Mainstream Brand for Residual Value.”

In Closing

Subaru has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0, according to RepairPal. If you look into several Subaru car models, each has a rating of at least 3.5, which is above average. The Subaru Crosstrek is the most reliable, with a score of 4.5 out of 5.0.

Again, here are the reasons why you should choose Subaru:

  1. Commitment to Safety
  2. Subaru Boxer Engine
  3. Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive

Take note of each Subaru models’ features and issues, then decide while having those in mind.

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