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Subaru Forester And Outback Get Shut Out In Most Recent Longest Lasting Cars List

Should car shoppers be concerned about where the Subaru Forester and Outback rank with the longest-lasting vehicles? See where Subaru stacks up with all other brands.

With the average cost of a new car about $37,000, consumers want a car that will last the longest. Subaru has been known as an automaker that made cars that last longer than many others, but is that changing? The Japanese automaker had its Forester, Outback, and Legacy models on the iSeeCars Top 10 ranked longest-lasting cars list as recently as 2016.

In the 2016 iSeeCars list, Subaru Legacy was number 6, Outback number 9 and Forester number 10. In 2017 the Subaru Legacy ranked 6th on the Top 16 Longest-Lasting Cars list, Outback was 7th, and Forester ranked 8th overall. But something changed two years ago. No Subaru vehicles made in the top-10 longest-lasting cars list in 2018 and 2019. Should car shoppers be concerned about buying a Subaru vehicle?

Watch Subaru's Problem and how to make it go beyond 200,000 miles and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news reports.

This year iSeeCars conducted the study again, analyzed over 15.8 million cars sold in 2019 to determine which models have the highest percentage of cars that reached 200,000 miles. The Subaru Forester and Outback aren’t found on any of the lists, making it three years in-a-row. Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by Toyota and Honda, and Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Lincoln, also make the list.

Subaru ranks in the top one-third of all brands

In the iSeeCars Most Likely to Reach 200,000 Miles by Make, Subaru is number 7 out of 18 automakers on the list, putting them in the top one-third of all automobile brands. Subaru ranks 0.6 percent of their vehicles reaching the 200K mile mark which is below the average at 1.0 percent, but the Japanese automaker ranks only behind Japanese rivals Toyota at 1.8 percent followed by Honda at 1.6 percent. American automakers GMC (1.4), Chevrolet 1.4), and Ford 1.1) are the other brands ahead of Subaru.

2020 Subaru OutbackSubaru can’t build the 2020 Outback fast enough

Subaru’s problem is they are too successful. Subaru of America has experienced tremendous growth over the last 11 years and this has led to a number of production problems for the Japanese automaker. They can’t build the new 2020 Forester, and Outback fast enough. The main factory in Gunma Japan that makes Forester was shut down in January over a power steering component defect and Subaru’s plant in the U.S. is running at full capacity making the new 2020 Outback and Ascent models.

Subaru Corporation is aware of the problems and is working hard to get them fixed. A recent Subaru report from Japan reveals they revised their Quality Policy in April 2019 and they are committed to improving quality in its two manufacturing plants.

Should I be concerned about buying a new 2020 Subaru Forester or Outback?

Subaru is making quality vehicles and they scored ahead of Jeep, Dodge, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Kia, Audi, and Porsche. Are luxury car buyers staying away from Toyota’s premium brand, Lexus because they are number 13 on the iSeeCars list with 0.3 percent of their models likely to last over 200,000 miles?

As pointed out by an iSeeCars spokesperson, “With the right maintenance and care, all vehicles today have the potential to reach 200,000 miles.” If you buy a new 2020 Subaru Forester compact SUV or 2020 Outback wagon they will go well over 200,000 miles if you show them a little love. Change the oil often, have all major drivetrain comments serviced at recommended intervals, and don’t abuse your all-wheel-drive vehicle.

2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Outback, 2020 CrosstrekSubaru’s lineup of all-wheel-drive vehicles

You Might Also Like: Who Makes The Best Cars? Subaru Is Consumer Reports Top Mainstream Brand

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru


T (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 5:14AM

I disagree with your article! I have owned an Outback for many years! No issues other than normal wear and year. You guys have your head in the sand! Thanks

mjs (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 6:53PM

In reply to by Brandon Gittelman (not verified)

I beg to differ. Subaru's still have a head gasket problem. Look at the used car listings with vehicles with over 100K miles...a large quantity of them say...timing belt service performed and head gaskets replace.

geotrouveout67 (not verified)    March 3, 2020 - 12:07PM

In reply to by mjs (not verified)

I had a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 on which I replaced the head gasket several times, mostly because the mechanic was pushy but when I changed mechanic I never did it again for the last 6 years of it and it never created any problem. I had the car for 16 years until it died from rust, not bad for a price tag of $12,000. I have a 2013 Outback (year model 2014) with 99,000 miles on it and have zero issues, all I do is regular maintenance.

Len Savignano (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 12:56PM

In reply to by Robert M Gary (not verified)

The head gasket problem has diminished greatly since GM sold its stake in Subaru.This according to mechanic I dealt with when I worked in the aftermarket car warranty business.

gearhead4 (not verified)    March 6, 2022 - 9:15PM

In reply to by Len Savignano (not verified)

The timerframe is roughly correct, but it has nothing to do with GMs parttial ownership of Fiji Heavy Industries (Subaru parent company back then,). Their was no design, engineering or production impact from GM.

crankypaul (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 7:25PM

In reply to by T (not verified)

I agree with that assessment. I'm driving an '11 OB (bought new) that is making 109K with no issues, just maintenance. I plan on having it when it crosses 200K and beyond. And that is with the 2.5 and the CVT.

Ignacio (not verified)    March 3, 2020 - 1:51PM

In reply to by T (not verified)

Happy for your good experience, however mine hasn't been the best. 80k CVT problems, the whole transmission had to be changed (KUDOS to Subaru for honoring/extending my drivetrain warranty). Every 20k my engine alert lights will go off, first 4 times I took it to the dealer and they change the catalytic converter, some sensors, etc every time the same problem will happen. I stop taking my car to the dealer and took it to an old subaru mechanic who owns his own shop. He told me exactly what was happening and how to resolve the issue: It can not be fixed. Anyway... I love my car, it has 168k on it and every time the warning lights go off I just disconnect the battery and let it reset.

Vlad (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 8:37AM

I wonder, what constitutes as "abuse of all weel drive vehicle" ?
I mean, is vehicle usage inline with it's capabilities and pourpouse it was build for , may be seen as abuse?
I drive a 2010 Forester, anew. That is 10 years so far. I am at 157k. now. All major components are original. That is all of the cars drive train components went 10years,157k miles without any major service and issues.

I change oil at regular intervals. 3-3.5k first 2 years and 4.5-5k there after. Car gets inspected at every services. No issues so far.
But I am lucky. I have a good and trustworthy dealer nearby.

Robert M Gary (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 11:32AM

Changing two head gaskets every 100,000 miles and CVT transmission its a wonder Subaru is on the list at all.

Robert Sutton (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 12:21PM

As a family we have had 8 Subaru’s over the past 25 years. Our most recent new Subaru is a 2019 Outback which my wife drives. My daily driver is a 2001 Legacy Outback Limited which currently has over 221000 miles on the clock. It has not been without problems, but none were killer issues. I anticipate the car will achieve 300,000 miles with just continued routine maintenance. I will likely buy a new Subaru to use for my travels in my retirement. Overall they all have been great cars.

homer ogle (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 12:23PM

For years subaru was number 1 then they got greedy and now the quality is suffering. next they will fire a bunch.same pattern as all the greedy businesses.

abe bubush (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 12:29PM

How do you put 200k miles on a 2019 car without abusing the crap out of it?
"...analyzed over 15.8 million cars sold in 2019 to determine which models have the highest percentage of cars that reached 200,000 miles..."
I call bullshit. Or at least highly ignorant.

xcalibre5 (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 3:20PM

In reply to by abe bubush (not verified)

Subaru BRZ MY 2013. 131,xxx. Oil Changed every 6-8k intervals, Using Only Eneos Full Synthetic Oil. With Quality oil filters. Manual Trans oil Changed every 20-25k. Using Motul or Pentosin Full Synth Gear Oils, And Change Rear diff Oil at the same intervals Using Motul or Amsoil full Synth. Spark Plugs Changed with OEM. Clutch/Flywheel Changed with OEM. I still did not do the Valve Spring recall. I love this sporty car, only thing better is a porsche cayman.

P Rose (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 1:17PM

In order to support their 31mpg claim, Subaru reduced engine internal friction by icreasing clearances for bearings, rings, pistons, and valve guides to the point of 100,000 miles of wear that dramaticly increases oil consumption. End result is the new Foresters and Outback engines are already in their 2nd 100,000 miles on the dealer lot. Subaru is already replacing enines at 50,000 miles in their 60,000 mile warranty.
BTW, other manufacturers are doing the same to achieve mileage claims so they can remain competative.
I'm certainly not buying any new Subaru, so spending $ on reapirs to my '03 instead

Lancedny (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 8:18PM

In reply to by P Rose (not verified)

Interesting, my 2015 Legacy with 115k miles runs low on oil at almost exactly 5000 miles now since it hit about 80k miles. For several years the temperature gauge runs at the 50% mark, which I've never seen that high previously with any other car I've owned or rented for work (many, many).

ls3some (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 1:18PM

Can I see the data pointing to subaru beating lexus in long term quality?? lexus has been consitent in being in the top 3 for long term quality. Also how many 200K+ mile subaru models are out there for sale? contrast that with used and running LS400 ES 350s Rx350s etc (not mentioning toyota products based on the same drivetrains of which there are tens of thousands still on the road)
Than there is the Million Mile Lexus
Sorry Subaru but your Quality control and product engineering doesn't hold a match. Yes you have cute dog commercials and all the hipsters like your cars..

Drew510 (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 6:07PM

We are on our 4th and LAST Subaru. Yes, they fixed the head gasket issue, but the next one to crop up was oil consumption. That resulted in our 2012 Forester engine going BAM at just under 70k miles. Had I not just bought a 2017 Outback three months prior, the Forester would have been our last. I don't believe the oil consumption issue has been resolved and the used replacement engine in our Forester drinks 1-1.5 quarts per thousand miles. FYI - Subaru denied our warranty claim even though they had extended it. The reason? I do the maintenance and didn't keep detailed records (honestly, understandable, but VERY frustrating at the time. Lesson learned.).

jimfockler (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 7:31PM

I have a 2001 Forester with 186000 miles that is having the 3rd transmission installed and my mechanic found a service bulletin that caused to you lose all faith in Sudbury. Come to find out an engineering problem causes the rear bearing to fail. The bulletin states it exists in forester manual. Transmission from 2000 to 2014 and they engineered a fix but the parts cost over 500.00 and the labor over $1000.00. why haven't they issued a recall?

Sobaboy (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 7:40PM

Loved my 2015 legacy, until it hit 100,000 miles. Started to leak and burn oil, $1200 for leaks. Exhaust started to rattle, Cat started to leak, $2600, started to be very noisy - rear differential started to leak $$$$$, front drivers shaft boot $$$.
What really disturbed me besides the issues was the cost to repair, it seemed like everything was 2-3 more than any other car I’ve owned. I sold it and went back to an accord. My last one my daughter is driving strong with 230k, never anything wrong.

Mark Brown (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 8:38PM

Not at all surprised! I've been a staunch Subaru supporter/owner for well over 10 years. I'm directly responsible for several others buying Subaru vehicles. Well no more! Due to Subaru's outright denial to fix a paint issue on an Outback that was under the original factory warranty, I'm done with them. The owner of the Outback in question (who I recommended by a Subaru) has purchased a Honda CRV as their 2nd vehicle and I just sold my 2017 Outback and bought a Lexus.

Chan (not verified)    March 2, 2020 - 10:58PM

The problem is statistics and growth. Over 50% of all Subarus on the road today were built in the past 4? 5? years, so the percentage of old Subarus is low. Compare that to declining Honda which adds a rapidly decreasingly small percentage to its installed base each year.