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Is EyeSight Defective? A Second Lawsuit Is Now Filed Against Subaru

Subaru of America is accused of selling 2021 Forester, 2022 Outback, 2021 Crosstrek, and other new models with faulty safety technology. Is Subaru's EyeSight defective?

Subaru of America is hit with a second class-action lawsuit involving 2013-2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other models equipped with the brand's EyeSight driver assist technology. The new Subaru lawsuit says the Camden, N.J. automaker knowingly sold vehicles with faulty safety technology.

A new report from Law360 (by subscription) says the recent class-action lawsuit was filed against Subaru of America in New Jersey federal court last week. Subaru Eyesight is standard equipment on the 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, 2022 Subaru Ascent, and 2022 Subaru Legacy models.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Eyesight includes technology like autonomous braking and lane-keeping systems. The new class-action says Subaru concealed the defects to boost profits on its most popular models.

Several named plaintiffs from half a dozen states filed the class-action lawsuit last week claiming their vehicle's autonomous emergency braking system (AEB) either failed to stop their Subaru vehicle when it was needed or was "erroneously triggered by a shadow, rain or something that was not an actual object in the road."

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Subaru says, "EyeSight is like having an extra set of eyes on the road and, if need be, an extra foot on the brake when you drive." EyeSight uses stereo cameras mounted at the top of the windshield to monitor traffic movement, optimize the cruise control, and warn the driver if the vehicle sways outside the lane. Subaru says EyeSight has been found to reduce the rate of rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85 percent.

Torque News has reported the advantages of the Subaru EyeSight safety technology and its many benefits. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other models a 'Superior' rating in front crash prevention when equipped with EyeSight driver assist technology.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Should customers and shoppers be concerned about EyeSight?

There are thousands of Subaru vehicles with EyeSight safety technology on the road today without any reported problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not report any defective Subaru EyeSight recalls.

Subaru located the EyeSight cameras inside the vehicle at the top of the windshield to avoid dirt, ice, snow, and debris from abstracting the cameras. Subaru offers one of the best driver-assist safety systems available. Still, no system is perfect all the time because it's impossible to keep the windshield clean 100 percent of the time.

Many new Subaru all-wheel-drive vehicles now come standard with EyeSight driver assist technology. The new lawsuit alleges defects in EyeSights make the safety technology useless and dangerous and that Subaru increases its profits by inflating the prices of its most popular models.

The 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, most 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, and other models are the most affordable vehicles with standard safety technology available for SUV shoppers. Torque News via Subaru Report will bring updates on the two Subaru lawsuits as they become available.

You Might Also Like: Will The Refreshed 2022 Forester Be Self-Driving? Subaru Says An Emphatic No

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


Don Levin (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 3:25PM

Comparing this to the earlier lawsuit in May, linked to at the start, I don’t see any difference. Also no accidents or damage mentioned. What do they want from Subaru? Eyesight in wife’s 2016 Outback and my 2021 Crosstrek worked perfectly. In very heavy rain or snow they temporarily indicate it has shut off. Reproducing problems like the alleged ones may be very difficult, costly and dangerous. Subaru, a very small company, introduced autonomous braking very early, ahead of almost others, esp luxury brands. They took years to catch up. I want the new Eyesight with additional cameras at the front and rear corners for enhanced visibility. I hope it can avoid side swiping objects like when entering a garage.

NMK (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 6:03PM

So eyesight causes dead batteries and doesnt even serve its intended purpose. Yet another reason to avoid subarus with the CVT...!!

Fred Meyers (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 10:30AM

In reply to by NMK (not verified)

Had a 2016 outback 3.6r for 6 years before our daughter took it over. Eyesight works fine; it is a safety tool to mitigate or help reduce the severity of an accident. I have benefitted from it.

SubieTech (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 6:25PM

I work on Subarus for a living, and what I can say from profession experience is that Eyesight WILL NOT work all the time. There are certain instances that will temporarily halt system operation, or if the vehicle experiences a fault set in pretty much any module, ECM, TCM, VDC, etc., the system will not operate. This is a stereo-optic camera system that needs both cameras within operating parameters to function.

Also, in professional experience, people don’t tend to look at their owners manuals, most take them out and store them at home for whatever reason. Most questions about any of these systems can be answered in those books and I’m willing to bet that people just don’t understand how these systems behave, what their limitations are and what their operating parameters are.

I own a 2021 Outback Touring XT, does the eyesight system do stuff I think is pretty stupid like start braking when the car in front of me is taking an off ramp? Yeah, it’s frustrating, but as long as I increase the following distance in adaptive cruise to match vehicle speed, it doesn’t happen at all.

Tmab (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 11:51PM

In reply to by SubieTech (not verified)

I work on them too. It literally says in the eyesight manual that the system can have trouble seeing in certain circumstances. I've seen dust on a lense cause and issue. I've seen aftermarket windsheilds cause issues. People dont understand that to have that good of a system it needs to be very picky. Your not supposed to rely on it at all. Its supposed to just be that system that makes small corrections for you. Literally if lane lines are different colors it can throw the system off. I feel like this lawsuit is not going to go anywhere.

Hans Erdman (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 12:24PM

In reply to by SubieTech (not verified)

Eyesight on my 2016 Forester doesn't like driving into the setting sun, but I have to drive west to get home in the evening. Today was the first time we've driven in heavy rain, and it did go on and off at times. What drives me crazy (I've only had it two months.) is on a narrow, one-lane dirt road, it tells me I'm out of the lane. There is only one lane, and I'm in it! And those trees aren't obstacles; the road turns there! (I did learn how to turn it off.)

Richard Campbell (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 3:30PM

In reply to by SubieTech (not verified)

I have the same car, '21 outback touring XT. I have also owned '15 and '18 outbacks. You have to get used to the eyesight system, if anything it discourages risky behavior. But it works. I avoided a rear end collision (my fault) a couple of months back and can attest to it. I've found that there have been incremental changes to each one, improvements that were needed- the stereo for instance, it needed work- I'm pretty satisfied with the '21.
My third one, and I dont lease, I buy. Call it owner loyalty. Unless something changes I'll be getting another.

Kasper (not verified)    February 28, 2023 - 7:59PM

In reply to by SubieTech (not verified)

I can tell you why people take the bulky manuals out and store them at home. Some genius at Subaru reduced the size of the glove box on 2023 Outbacks so that it's now only big enough for one glove. No, the Eyesight function doesn't merely fail in poor weather. Ours fails All The Time. It's a rare trip when we don't get the White icon warning that Eyesight is now inoperative. It has now been in the shop three times to try to fix the problem. The first time in, Subaru tried to convince me that the problem is all in my head. The second time in, I went with video recordings of the vehicle in motion, in clear weather, facing away from the sun, with the Eyesight failure warning illuminated. At this writing, the '23 Outback has been in shop for five weeks whilst the mechanics attempt to diagnose and repair the problem. If Eyesight fails again, without due cause, this will be reason enough to invoke the Lemon Law and ask for a refund. Advice you didn't ask for: Eyesight isn't ready for prime time yet. Until the engineers at Subaru can get it right, consider another vehicle.

John Martin (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 8:45PM

Come on. English is not that difficult of a language. And dictionaries are online. Or maybe I’m wrong and snow and ice and and debris have a hidden abstracting capability.

Larry Simmons (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 9:10PM

Heavy rain blinds Eye Sight on my 2018 Forester. That is easy to handle. Just go back into Manual control until the screen says that Eye Sight is operating again.
No technology is perfect. Stay aware of how the technology is functioning.

Jenny (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 9:43PM

The eye sight on my 2020 forester could definitely use some adjustment. It often tells me my vehicle has left the lane when I am in fact right in the middle. Last week it deployed the emergency pre-collision breaking twice when there was nothing in front of me at all and scared me pretty bad. Sometimes it breaks for mailboxes or trees that are just on the side of the road.

Kurt Kaufman (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 8:46AM

In reply to by Jenny (not verified)

Jenny, I also have a 2020 Forester, but have not encountered any such problems. I think you probably need to take it in to make sure that the system is working properly, and that there isn't a defective component somewhere.

Nelisile Pram (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 12:14AM

So far in my XV SUBARU the eyesight is good no accident and the best RECOMMENDED safety system.

Nelisile in South Africa

S Roth (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 5:06AM

About two weeks ago, I was cut off at high speed by a driver making a right turn from the left lane. If not for my Forester's Eyesight and its braking, I would have hit him. The Forester responded faster than I could have.

Kurt Kaufman (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 8:42AM

I cannot comment on the lawsuit, as I have no knowledge of the details, but here are a few observations:
In general I have found the eyesight system audible warning works well, but as others have mentioned, it can be fooled by certain street elements, such as the shadows of utility lines running parallel to the street. One thing I do have disabled is the physical steering wheel correction, as I have found it to be distracting, and it is a nuisance every time the system warns me that it is disabled due to a drop below a certain speed. A similar system in use in a rented Hyundai Santa Fe was much more aggressive in frequent small corrections, and I felt it was actually hazardous to use!
I don't expect perfection from these camera systems, and the manuals clearly state that one should not rely upon the eyesight safety system to drive the car (!) and to work correctly in all situations.

Donald E. Glasure (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 8:51AM

Having owned four Subarus before purchasing my new 2021 Forester, I am thoroughly proud to be an owner.
Eyesight is NOT intended to be flawless. If you read the manual, you will understand that it is only to be used as an aid ito normal driving. You should never depend on the tech to keep you safe. Nothing can replace attentive driving.
This lawsuit is going to fail!

Tom U. (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 9:31AM

When one is behind the steering wheel-you then are called the DRIVER. As such, you are still in/must be, in Control of your vehicle and be aware of its capabilities & limitations at all times & be ready to act in a split second to keep your vehicle in Control at all times.

Cyndy Daniel (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 11:34AM

Subaru is an awesome company. We all have choices. Obviously adults being able to buy a car. Stop the childish bad comments. NOTHING is perfect! It doesn't bother me if the lights flash for a minute when it rains really heavy. I appreciate the brakes before my normal braking. I had an accident that caused partial permanent disability. Hence why I chose my 2021 Subaru Forester Sport. My boyfriend went with me and was extremely pleased and surprised with the dealership staff and car! Subaru isn't for everyone. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it is wrong. Nothing is ever going to be perfect with anything in life. Be Nice. We all have choices.

Kaushik (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 1:59PM

In reply to by Cyndy Daniel (not verified)

I don't like lane assist as it's more of a pain how it adjusts itself, hence I drive around with the lane assist feature off. I am satisfied with the EyeSight feature knowing that there will always be some limitations with the technology.

jerre fedor (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 11:46AM

As a owner of a 15 outback with eye site we have the system very reliable. The alert part has worked numerious times on cars stopping and turning. Last week we had it alert and stop on a car with no brake lights. What more can you ask?

Nathan (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 12:25PM

I have a 2021 Forester Sport and occasionally manholes will trigger the braking system. Overall I am happy with the Eyesight technology, but like all technology it is not without it's bugs.

Kaushik (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 1:49PM

I have a 2014 Outback touring model. In my experience the EyeSight safety feature has worked almost flawlessly. Once I got into an accident at 30 mile speed when it didn't recognize a load extension on a pickup. Pickup had stopped and Subaru didn’t react to the extended load. Understand that this is a technology and not same as what Tesla offers and over the period I have learnt some of the weaknesses and how to react to certain situations with cruise activated. My only gripe is that when on cruise mode Eyesight reaction time is slow to changing traffic pattern which sometime gets into a situation where I have to take over and apply brake. Wish the system was little fast and also Subaru had those ultrasonic sensors on the front bumper to enhance Eyesight feature as well in situation when pulling inside a garage where there are obstructions not quite visible to the cameras.

Clay Smith (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 1:59PM

I have driver assist technology in my Volvo that has worked pretty flawlessly for over 3 years and was given a Subaru Outback as a loaner car from my dealership a few months ago. I noticed the Subaru system seemed way more aggressive than the one in my Volvo. I confirmed this was the case when I switched it on as I was getting on the highway and ended up slamming into the car in front of me who had to brake suddenly to avoid someone swerving in front of him. I've been in way more perilous situations in my Volvo and never came close to an impact!

Lee (not verified)    August 24, 2021 - 2:26PM

I consider myself to be primarily responsible for control of the car, and consider Eye Sight to be a safety net. It is not an excuse to depend on being inattentive. That said, my 2014 Outback will always throw on the brakes when the car in front makes a right hand turn in slow traffic. It will indicate lane departure when there are tar strips on the road way that are parallel to the lane. I know of these, and am always ready for them. But there have been a couple of times I have missed something and the system caught it and prevented something really bad from happening. It may not be perfect, but I feel it is better than not having it.

solutions (not verified)    August 25, 2021 - 11:07AM

All the problems described are when using cruise control or eye sight in the city... why the hell do you need to use cruise control or lane assistance when driving in the city? I think the system is designed to work better for highways and long trips and help make the ride more comfortable, not for your every day ride to the store... you should be 100% in control and focused when doing that!