Skip to main content

New Subaru Model Reliability - The Brand Makes Significant Improvements In 2020

Are Subaru vehicles reliable? Here is what customers can expect for 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, and other model reliability and quality.

Join us...    

As the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent arrive at retailers, is quality improving? There is an indicator consumers can look at to check an automaker's quality. The number of recalls in its entire lineup of vehicles.

In 2019, Subaru of America issued eighteen recalls. The Forester had two recalls, Outback (2), Crosstrek (5), Ascent (5), Legacy (2), and Impreza (2). The 2019 Subaru WRX, WRX STI, and BRZ were the only models with zero recalls.

2021 Subaru Ascnet
Photo credit: Competition Subaru

The 2019 Subaru Ascent family hauler had the most recalls and put on the Consumer Reports 10 Least Reliable Cars list. But Subaru quality has improved significantly for the 2020 model year.

Subaru has issued only two recalls for the 2020 model year. The 2020 Subaru Outback, and the 2020 Legacy sedan. The first recall for the two models was over a year ago, on September 27, 2019. A brake pedal mounting bracket may have had an insufficiently tightened or missing bolt.

2021 Subaru Outback
Photo credit: Competition Subaru

One Subaru recall in 2020

Subaru of America and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a second recall for the 2020 Subaru Outback wagon and 2020 Legacy sedan this month. The recall notice says the car's rearview camera may shut down, reducing the driver's ability to see cars or people behind the vehicle when it's backing up.

What did Subaru do differently for the 2020 model year?

In January, Torque News reported that Subaru Corporation would spend more than $1 billion over the next five years to improve quality in their vehicles. "The fix partly called for slowing production and implementing new quality measures and training procedures," the report from Automotive News (by subscription) said.

Subaru Corporation also made organizational changes by establishing a new Quality Assurance Management Office that was operational on April 1, 2020. The new Quality Assurance office is under the direct control of the Executive Vice President, Atsushi Osaki (Chief Quality Officer). Osaki oversees group-wide quality assurance and develops and manages the Subaru Group's organizational structure and systems to assure quality, maintain their effectiveness, and continually improve them.

2021 Subaru Outback quality

Is the Subaru plan to improve quality working?

According to a new study from Consumer Reports, out of twenty-six automakers in the U.S. market, Subaru scores number eight overall, putting them at the top of the reliable category. Subaru dropped one spot from number seven previously because of the new Ascent transmission issues.

Overall, the Subaru brand has significantly improved reliability in its all-wheel-drive vehicles. The Subaru Crosstrek has the highest scores, and the Forester has improved the most from last year's scores.

As the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent arrive at retailers, is quality improving? Subaru had one recall in 2020, compared with eighteen recalls in 2019.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Boss Says How They Fix Past Quality Issues And Improve New Models Now

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.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Competition Subaru

Join us...    


Barry Giller (not verified)    December 24, 2020 - 4:48PM

As septugerian. Need comfort and confidence that the parasitic drain and technology electronics operate flawlessly. Where and how do I find that level of confidence. I have been strong supporter of the brand and need to restore level of confidence before buying next Ascent

Mark (not verified)    December 24, 2020 - 4:52PM

Too early to tell about real reliability. Initial quality is one thing. Durability over the long term is another.
Subaru has generally been good in this regard but I do note that there is a lot of commentary by owners who have had head gasket failures. Considering the the decades of experience in design and manufacturing one would think this is would be the one thing of unassailable quality.

Jeremy Moore (not verified)    December 24, 2020 - 7:23PM

I love my Forester but I can't imagine why their CVTs aren't mentioned here. The updated CVT is totally unproven while the original CVT has proven to be problematic for a significant number of people
*I also have an AWD hybrid Ford Escape with a CVT that's problem free at 230,000 miles. Some are fine.

Chris (not verified)    December 25, 2020 - 1:04AM

In reply to by Jeremy Moore (not verified)

Came here to say this. If Subarus didn't have CVT issues, I would have bought an Outback long ago. But it seems they're *still* having issues. It's hit or miss, so my theory is that the towing capacity is set too high. It would put them in a very sticky situation -- they can't recall them without fixing the problem, and they can't lower the capacity without taking a big hit on their trustworthiness, plus they would get hit with lawsuits, I'm sure. So they extend the warranties and hope for the best. I won't be buying a used one, that's for sure, and can't afford a new one. [I almost bought a 2017 last year and checked the Carfax (2nd time) the day I test drove it, only to find out the CVT was replaced the day before with another used one. Nope.]

Frank (not verified)    December 25, 2020 - 3:37PM

Until they address and fix that outdated and trouble prone piece of crap engine that has nothng but head gasket and craked head issues, anything else they do would be a moot point, it's like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to address, this motor has been nothing but an inherent issue with this car brand since its Inception and until in which it's fixed properly it's nothing but junk!