The 4 Current Subaru Models That Top CR’s Used Cars That Burn Oil List
Do some Subaru models burn excessive oil? Consumer Reports recently expanded its list of used cars that burn oil, and it includes four popular Subaru models. CR says you should be aware of the 2010-2015 Subaru Forester, 2010-2015 Subaru Outback, 2012-2013 Subaru Impreza, 2010-2015 Subaru Legacy, and 2010-2014 Subaru Tribeca.
Some older Subaru Boxer engines burn oil between changes. While it's not normal, some engines have had excessive oil consumption issues, and owners report adding a quart of oil every 1000-2000 miles.
2010-2015 Subaru Forester and 2010-2015 Subaru Outback
The Forester compact SUV and Outback midsize SUV are the automaker's two top-selling models. Some owners have reported to the NHTSA problems with head gasket failure. According to Consumer Reports, reliability data, and the NHTSA, oil consumption is also a potential problem you could face if you buy a used Forester or Outback with the 2.5-liter engine.
In 2016, Subaru initiating a program to extend the original new car powertrain limited warranty coverage for excessive engine oil consumption on some vehicles to 8 years / 100,000 miles from the original warranty start date.
Those models were the 2013-2014 Legacy and Outback models with 2.5-liter FB engines 2011-2014 Forester with 2.5-liter FB Engine, 2015 Forester (manual transmissions only) with 2.5-liter FB engines, 2012-2013 Impreza and XV Crosstrek with 2.0-liter FB engines, 2014-2015 Impreza and XV Crosstrek (manual transmissions only) with 2.0-liter FB engines.
In an earlier report, CR says the 2010-2012 Subaru Outback 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine is also listed to burn excessive oil. Subaru discontinued the 3.6R model in the Outback and Legacy for the 2020 model year and introduced the all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine. There have been no problems with the new engine.
2012-2013 Subaru Impreza
According to CR, the Impreza sedan and hatchback compact car is also plagued by poor reliability and says the 2.0-liter engine "has a propensity for oil consumption." The Impreza was included in the extended warranty program listed above, but all affected models will now be out of warranty.
2010-2015 Subaru Legacy
The Subaru Legacy sedan used the same 2.5-liter engine as Forester and Outback and was the only engine option in Legacy models of this vintage that tended to burn oil. The worst of them are now out of warranty.
2010-2014 Subaru Tribeca
Subaru discontinued the Tribeca SUV after the 2014 model year. The Tribeca also used a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine available in some Outback trims with oil consumption issues listed above. CR's reliability data shows that about a quarter of Tribeca owners complained of oil consumption for a few years.
Why do some Subaru engines burn excessive oil?
An earlier CR report says oil consumption issues surfaced after federal fuel-economy standards became more demanding. The mandates forced automakers to make trade-offs in engine design that would increase fuel efficiency but, in some cases, had an adverse effect on durability.
Has Subaru corrected the oil consumption issue?
According to Consumer Reports, there were significant improvements in the four Subaru models listed above after the 2014 model year. Owners reported they were not adding oil between regular service appointments in 2015 and newer models. You can see the chart below how Subaru engines have improved after the 2015 model year.
photo credit: Consumer Reports - the percentage of owners reporting adding at least a quart of oil between oil changes
Reports say the Japanese automaker redesigned the 2.5-liter engine in the Forester and Outback in 2012. Some 2012-2015 Subaru Forester models could still have the older engine design before the automaker completely changed to the next-generation 2.5-liter Boxer engine used in current models.
In Consumer Reports annual surveys, owners now report zero problems in 2019 and newer Subaru models. New car shoppers will find the 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5-liter engine, and Crosstrek and Impreza 2.0-liter engines fuel-efficient and reliable.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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