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Subaru Again Scores Below Average In The New J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

How does Subaru rank in initial vehicle quality compared with other automakers? Check out the new 2022 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study results and how other mainstream auto brands performed.


How does the 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, 2022 Crosstrek, and 2022 Ascent SUV quality rank with other car brands? According to the new J.D. Power 2022 Initial Quality Study (IQS), Subaru scores below average and drops lower than last year. It's no surprise because historically, Subaru has never scored well on the J.D. Power IQS scorecard.

Subaru isn't the only automaker to drop from last year. The new 2022 study reveals overall car brand quality sinks to a new low and is 18 percent worse than the 2021 study. Infotainment systems remain the most problematic area, driving assistance issues grow, and electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles experience more problems.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Among mainstream brands, Buick is the highest-ranking in overall initial quality with a score of 139 PP100. Dodge (143 PP100) ranks second, and Chevrolet (147 PP100) ranks third.

Where does Subaru rank?

Power's Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Subaru drops from last year's 182/PP100 to 191/PP100 in 2022. Subaru is again below the industry average of 180/PP100.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

"Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it's somewhat surprising that initial quality didn't fall even more dramatically," said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power.

J.D. Power asked owners a staggering 223 questions based on nine vehicle categories, infotainment, features, controls and displays, exterior, driving assistance, interior, powertrain, seats, driving experience, and climate control.

How did Subaru score in past studies?

In the 2019 study, Subaru scored well below the industry average and was ranked sixth from the bottom. In the 2020 Power survey, Subaru moved up one spot and ranked seventh from the bottom scoring a 187/PP100, well below the industry average of 166PP/100.

In 2021, Subaru improved and was ranked ninth from the bottom. To put it in perspective, Honda, Hyundai, Ram, and Mercedes-Benz also ranked below the industry average. Acura, Land Rover, Jeep, Porsche, and Infiniti were some of the car brands that scored below Subaru.

Subaru does not score any of its models in J.D. Powers' top three models per segment. The Chevrolet Equinox scores highest in the compact SUV segment where the 2022 Subaru Forester resides, Nissan Murano where the midsize SUV 2022 Subaru Outback is scored, and Buick Encore scores the best small SUV where the 2022 Subaru Crosstrek is the top-selling model.

Are the below-average 2022 J.D. Power IQS automakers producing cars with poor quality? The J.D. Power IQS study only considers the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. The Power study focuses on infotainment and new technologies that new owners aren't familiar with the automaker's features. The IQS is not a long-term study of quality issues with the automakers and their specific models.

How does Subaru's quality and customer satisfaction rank in other studies?

According to a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) study, Subaru scored highest in overall quality, safety technology, and dependability with customers. The ACSI study asked owners to evaluate their recent experiences with their car brand for one year between July 6, 2020, and June 28, 2021.

In the ACSI report, Subaru customers are most satisfied with the vehicle's safety technology, and next is dependability (engine, parts, breakdowns). Satisfaction also depends on customers who experienced a recall. Subaru has had zero recalls in 2022.

The new J.D. Power IQS and past studies reveal Subaru’s below-average ranking shouldn't be a concern for customers looking to buy a new 2022 Forester, 2023 Outback, 2023 Ascent, or 2023 Crosstrek.

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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: main image Subaru West Palm Beach