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CR Says Subaru Is Now Mediocre In The Most, Least Liked Car Brands Report

In an updated Consumer Reports, Least And Most Liked Car Brands list, Subaru dropped significantly in its ranking. See why Subaru fell from 5th to 14th.


Is there anything worse than being mediocre? Out of 29 car brands, Consumer Reports just dropped Subaru to the middle of the pack. They aren’t all that good, and they are not the worst in owner satisfaction.

We recently reported Subaru was ranked 5th in the Consumer Reports Most and Least Like Car Brands rankings. But CR failed to put up the new list and just updated the report this week.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback
photo credit: Giles Subaru

Last year’s CR report ranked Subaru number five overall and the third-highest mainstream automaker behind Ram pickups and Chrysler. Subaru, with a score of 75, outranked Hyundai (75), Porsche (74), Dodge (74), Mazda (72), and Toyota 71).

In the updated ranking from Consumer Reports, Subaru, now scoring 68, drops to 14th overall. Subaru scores behind mainstream brands like Chrysler (74), Dodge (74), Ram (73), Ford (71), Mazda (70), Hyundai (70 ), and Toyota (69).

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

What are Subaru’s strengths and areas to improve?

In CR’s updated owner satisfaction scores, Subaru’s seven models score well in driving (4/5), comfort (4/5), style (4/5), and value (3/5). Where can Subaru improve? Subaru owner satisfaction for in-car electronics scores a 1/5. In-car electronics refers to the ease of using infotainment systems and Bluetooth.

Which Subaru models rank high and low?

The 2022 Outback is Subaru’s highest-ranked model by CR and is one of the most satisfying midsize 2-Row SUVs with an owner satisfaction of 4/5. Forester 4/5, Crosstrek 4/5, Ascent 4/5, WRX and WRX STI 4/5, BRZ (4/5) all score well above average in owner satisfaction. The Subaru Impreza is the only model with lower owner satisfaction (2/5).

The rankings are all owner-based from the Consumer Reports satisfaction surveys. CR says the least-satisfying models or brands aren’t necessarily the worst on the market. "Rather, they didn’t match the customers’ expectations."

CR says owner satisfaction is just one factor in its overall score for each tested model they rate. Models and brands are also rated for safety, reliability, and road-test scores.

But CR says, “The owner satisfaction score is based on the percentage of owners who responded definitely yes to the question of whether they would buy the same vehicle if they had it to do all over again (considering price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.). Factor ratings and scores were determined based on the percentage of owners who said they were very satisfied.”

Why would one model (Impreza) lower Subaru from 5th last year to the middle of the pack in the most recent study? We reached out to CR but have not received a reply.

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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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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Arlene Rentler (not verified)    February 3, 2022 - 10:51PM

Apparently, Subaru dropped their advertising level in Consumer Reports. Who reads that rag anymore anyway?

NMK (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 1:22AM

I cant that that is shocking. The impreza is the cheapest car in the lineup. People these days expect to spend cheap car money but get luxury car quality. This is the same mentality that brings us the new age goofballs that think fast food workers should be paid enough to buy a new house, car, vacation home and support a family.
Then these people are unhappy when reality strikes and they find out their cheap car is just a cheap car.

Carol King (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 7:06AM

Subaru owners are the most brand loyal for good reason. Will drive my third Subaru until I'm driving my fourth Subaru.

ImprezaOwner (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 9:47AM

Regarding Impreza's lessor lower owner satisfaction. Maybe its because of its lessor reliability in comparison with other Subaru models. What kills me is that the Crosstrek and Impreza are very similar cars. Yet the Crosstrek has above average reliability and the Impreza has only average reliability. If anything, the Impreza is a simpler car and should be easier to make reliable.

Two possible explanations...
- The Scotty Kilmer windbag explanation - All Crosstrek is built in Japan, some Imprezas are built in the US. I am guessing a great majority sold in the US are made in the US, but I haven't been able a stat to confirm that.

- Crosstrek is a far better selling car, so Subaru puts more money into quality control ensuring better reliability

I'm guessing the latter explanation

Peter Clark (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 10:53AM

I have owned an 02 Outback and a 09 Legacy wagon two of the best cars I have owned (except for the bad head gaskets.) Then in 2010 the Outback went from a small fun to drive wagon to a really ugly Suv with a boring CVT and they made the Legacy sedan only and we all know how well they sell. When it came time for a new ride I bought a VW Sportwagen. Fun to drive, efficient, 4-motion, 6-speed manual trans. everything my Subaru's used to be

Peter Clark (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 11:05AM

I owned an 02 Outback and an 09 Legacy wagon and I loved them both, except for the bad headgaskets. In 2010 the new Outback became an ugly SUV with a CVT and the Legacy went sedan only and we all know how well they are selling. When it came time for a new car I purchased a VW Sportwagen, 6-speed, 4-motion and fun to drive, what Subarus used to be.

jaime (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 11:55AM

My 2021 Outback is a great handling car. However, it has some of the worst software. Lane centering loses lane recognition often. The map misses streets that have been around over 5 years. I had to buy a Garmin gps.

Kf (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 4:57PM

In reply to by jaime (not verified)

I don't use in car maps. That's why I have google maps on my phone. I find the in car electronics just fine on my 20 impreza. I can connect the phone using android auto. Maps muisc podcasts etc. What else do ya need?

Vladin (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 1:35PM

Subaru cars are reliable but their infotainment system gets worse every year. I'm at my fifth Outback. I would rather drive a reliable 4wd car with a poor infotainment than the other way around.

Gord mickey (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 2:31PM

I have owned my Subaru Forester since 2016. I have 2 complaints about this vehicle. # 1 the spare tire compartment should be made to fit the size of a regular one from the car. #2 when the sun is low on the horizon and shining through the front windshield the Guage is impossible to read. The fix for this would be to have a white Guage cluster with a red dial. Otherwise I am completely satisfied with the the product.

Darryl (not verified)    February 6, 2022 - 4:16PM

In reply to by Gord mickey (not verified)

I have a 2016 Forester which came with a full size matching spare, so it will fit. In Australia the boot floor is lifted as many people will not buy a car without a full sized spare.

Jeff (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 2:40PM

I bought a 2021 Legacy Touring XT and have been disappointed with the rattles and buzzes all over the cabin after just a few thousand miles. Not what I was expecting from the top trim level. Plus the infotainment screen and safety suite are an irritating p.i.t.a.. First and last Subaru.

John Green (not verified)    February 4, 2022 - 3:59PM

Never ever have I bought a car the same brand or model to follow a new purchase. My 2017 XT FORESTER is a hoot to drive 0-60 in 5.5 but slightly cramped for the big guy I am and now need a truck. Still, I recommend it to anyone

Jeff (not verified)    February 5, 2022 - 1:01AM

Apparently, subaru tends to have more than just electronic issue. Premature parts damage such as radiator leak, lower arm wore, a/c compressor issue etc. Nice n comfortable car but not that perfect at all as there alot of issue appear before 3years old drive in Singapore.

CurtNorth (not verified)    February 5, 2022 - 11:40AM

I'm not shocked they scored so low on electronics. The move to the giant screens, and every function going through those screens, it's one of the worst things I've seen in modern automotive design, and it's really disappointed to see Subaru follow that trend like sheep.

If you look at some of the negatives about Tesla, one of the largest is that everything goes through their giant screens. I test drove an Outback two years ago when the first big screens were coming out, and it was such a gawdy turn-off I wouldn't even consider the car, but it drive like a dream. Ended up going with a different brand. Hopefully Subaru can see this, learn their lessons, and fix this going forward.

We want normal infotainment screens, not large screen TVs mounted in the middle of our dashboards. And if I want to turn my heat up or down a speed, I just want a simple button please.

Ridahoan (not verified)    February 5, 2022 - 11:50AM

My family has owned subarus since the 1970s. The biggest loss was no longer selling vehicles with low range dedicated 4WD in the US market, which allowed the ability to crawl over steep 2 tracks. Still, love gen2 and gen3 Outbacks -- though head gaskets real problem. After 2009 they became increasingly soccer parent SUVish and not as great for the backcountry. Can't even change a headlight in the 2013.

JR (not verified)    February 15, 2022 - 10:33PM

I wanted to go with the latest Outback.

Why would you move the air controls to a giant touch screen? I am trying to adjust the air while driving. I am not flying a falcon 9. I don’t have enough time to safely stare at the screen and run through a checklist to make sure I got it right. I need to be able to feel the controls and have to, at most, make a quick glance down and back up. There’s 3 knobs in my cross trek and this hasn’t changed for 2022 it seems. It works fine.

And what’s with the outback sun visor? It doesn’t fit with the eyesight camera. I can’t see the road without ducking. I’m barely 6 foot and the seat’s all the way down. I’m not a giant. The cross trek visor fits and has an extender instead for when you need it on the window side. Works fine.

Who designed it? Sticking with cross trek. If new models follow the outback controls and visor design, I can’t do it. I literally had to turn down a more expensive car with the space I want because of the sun visor. You’d think if it’s right in front of your face you might take a little more care.

Jim zellman (not verified)    April 17, 2022 - 1:17PM

apparently Subaru should focus on building and vehicles ..not about planting trees or sharing the love . I can do that myself .if I want to buy a vehicle I want to get something for my money .not a piece of salvage .with bad head gaskets again and again .