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New Subaru Forester, Outback Score Low In J.D. Power Most Appealing New Vehicles

When it comes to having the most appealing vehicles, J.D. Power study says the new 2019 Subaru Forester and Outback are near the bottom. Why are customers so loyal to the brand?

The annual J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study is out and Subaru scores poorly again. The top three models, 2019 Outback, Forester and Crosstrek models all fall short. In spite of Subaru of America setting records for ten consecutive years, the study says Subaru vehicles aren’t all that appealing for owners.

In a report from CNBC, The APEAL study looks at the things consumers love about their vehicles, according to Power’s automotive chief Dave Sargent, including good design, great performance, and new technology. “The more stuff the better,” he said, especially safety and infotainment technology.

2019 Subaru Outback2019 Subaru Outback

It’s interesting because the Subaru brand has more top safety picks from the IIHS than any automaker, and safety is what J.D. Powers says is what customers love about their new vehicles. Other studies reveal safety technology is one of the things consumers want most in a new vehicle.

2019 Subaru Forester

J.D. Power APEAL Study measures owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle based on responses gathered from nearly 68,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2019 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study follows on the heels of the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study which Subaru also scored poorly on.

Subaru Brand Loyalty

Subaru has never fared well in many of the J.D. Power studies, but in one study they ranked number one. According to their new Brand Loyalty Study, Subaru is #1 in brand loyalty among all mainstream automakers. Subaru beats Toyota and Honda who rank #2 and #3 in the new study.

2019 Subaru Forester

Subaru’s low ranking in the APEAL Study shouldn’t be a concern for customers looking to buy a new Forester, Outback, Ascent, or Crosstrek. If trends continue, Subaru of America will set their 11th sales record in-a-row in 2019, and they seem to be doing more right than wrong. The 2019 Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek all-wheel-drive models are popular and seem to be appealing to American customers.

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You Might Also Like: What It Means For You That Subaru Is Still Far Behind In J.D. Power Quality Scorecard

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Digitaldoc (not verified)    July 28, 2019 - 11:23AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Safety and AWD do create loyalty for the brand, along with the previous reliability, that has been decreasing as of late with multiple recalls.

The current Outback always looked like an updated AMC Eagle, the "family trickster look that looks disproportioned.

Nate (not verified)    July 27, 2019 - 5:51PM

The same JD Power owned by XIO Group? The same JD Power influenced by millions of General Motors' dollars? Are we talking about the very JD Power that contributes those fine awards to dependable vehicles such as the Cruze and Equinox? They really know their stuff, so we should base our purchases on what they say...

Dolly S Jewell (not verified)    July 27, 2019 - 6:35PM

We bought a used 6 cyl Subaru Outback last year. It's top of the line.
The awd is fantastic whether the pavement is snow covered or dry. The Eyesight Driving is out of this world and has saved my bacon several times. Ours is a stock 6 cylinder. No turbo. Plenty of pick up but the milage in town is not like our old 4 cylinder. Averages about 16.5 mpg. We do have traffic lights every block and they are long lights but our old car got 20mph. Highway averages 26 mpg. The car is rated at 22 and 29. Not happening on ours. But other than that we love the car. Hint Subaru, put some charging ports in the rear. We have 3 up front.

Rachel (not verified)    July 27, 2019 - 6:55PM

We just bought a 2019 subaru forester sport edition from servco subaru on Maui and it has been such a disappointment. 2,995 miles in the check engine light came on and the eyesight started mishandling (braking when it wasn't supposed to, over correcting when we weren't even near the road lines). The service department told us the thermostat was bad and just shut off the eye sight feature saying they couldn't fix it until they fixed the thermostat. It has been almost a month and they still have not received the part to fix it despite repeatedly calling, showing up, and asking for reassurance that it is in fact safe to drive the car in the interim. A failed thermostat this early on doesn't make me optimistic for the future handling of this vehicle, do yourself a favor and go with a different brand. We should have bought a toyota or honda.

Bob (not verified)    July 29, 2019 - 11:59PM

In reply to by Rachel (not verified)

WOW REALLY??!! You slag a car because of one small glitch? Yes when the idiot light comes on it effects other systems within the ECM that's to be expected. Turning off the "eye sight" should be a it safe to drive the car with it off?? SERIOUSLY??? What did you do before (idiot electronics for those who cant drive) this feature was available? Do the world a favor ….burn your licence and take the city bus!

RdLowe (not verified)    July 27, 2019 - 8:38PM

Let me tell you something, J.D. Power doesn't know what they are talking about. Subaru has one of the best safety records of any brand, and also more tech now than most ! My new Outback in white gets a lot of attention ! It is a beautiful wagon/small SUV or what ever you want to call it. Just because Subaru might not have quite the lines as some others, it is a solid vehicle, and very safe, and has one of the best AWD in the market. I personally like the Outback because it doesn't look like every other car out there on the road, accept you see one on every corner now days ! I pay little attention to J.D. Power, and quite frankly, i think they get paid to bad mouth Subaru just as Motor week does. Very bias towards the brand, and that's fine. I for one ignore.....I have had four Subaru's, and none have given me any major problems. The first month I owned a brand new Lexus, I had to have the differential replaced ! The first month I had a new Highlander, the nav, radio, went out, and never worked well, and the JBL system was horrible. Yep, people can gripe all they want, I'm proud to own a Subaru, and will buy another in the next few years. I'll keep on smiling when others are in the ditch in the winter, and I keep moving along :)

Tony (not verified)    July 27, 2019 - 8:47PM

I would never buy another Subaru The company his the fact that many of their cars burned oil and they knew why but didn't admit to it until they were sued.Also it was poor quality body parts and didn't hold it's value

George (not verified)    July 28, 2019 - 4:03PM

All your opinions and anecdotal
evidence aside, Subaru’s following is there because they have a fantastic marketing campaign.

Most Subaru owners truly believe their car is something unique and next level, instead of just “quirky”. In reality, a Subaru isn’t much different from any other brand on the market. They have poor ethics, they cheat owners and hide mistakes like everyone else. AWD isn’t a novelty and theirs, frankly, isn’t as great anymore. They’re difficult to work on if you’re used non-H engines and traditional transmissions and they’re less fuel efficient. Most owners think cars don’t change much over time, but oh they do... a lot. They go up and down in quality, performance and subsequently, reputation every few years. Good marketing keeps the reputation up, even when it shouldn’t be. Subaru succeeds at that.