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Subaru Forester, Outback, Legacy No Longer Cars Most Likely to Reach 200,000 Miles

What happened to Subaru’s status as a brand with high-mileage vehicles?


Subaru was recently known as an automaker that made cars going more miles than most others, but that has changed. The Japanese automaker had all-wheel-drive cars reaching 200,000 plus miles plus and the Subaru Legacy has been known as the longest lasting sedan in America as recently as 2016. But recent studies say things are changing.

As recently as 2016, Subaru had three cars on the iSeeCars “Longest Lasting Vehicles Over 200,000 Miles” list. The 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 in 2018. No Subaru vehicles ranked on the top-10 list. Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by Toyota and Honda, and Ford and Chevy also have two cars on the list.

This year iSeeCars did the study again, analyzed over 13.8 million cars sold in 2018 to determine which models have the highest percentage of cars that reached 200,000 miles. Subaru scores zero vehicles on any of the lists two years in-a-row.

The Subaru brand does not show up until number 8 on the Cars Most Likely to Reach 200,000 Miles by Make list. Subaru ranks 0.6 percent of their vehicles reaching the 200K mile mark which is below the average of all auto brands at 0.8 percent. Japanese rival Toyota ranks number one at 1.7 percent followed by Honda at 1.5 percent. American automakers GMC, Chevrolet, Ram, and Ford are also all above the average for all models.

What happened to Subaru?

Subaru of America has experienced tremendous growth over the last 10 years and with success has also come problems for the Japanese automaker. Subaru Corporation has struggled to keep their all-wheel-drive cars moving off their assembly lines in Japan without problems because of the record number of vehicles being sold in the U.S. The Japanese automaker had to shut down the Subaru plant in Gunma, Japan because of a power steering component defect in January.

2019 Subaru Forester

In 2017 Subaru was also hit with improper vehicle inspections scandal in Japan, massive global recall for a faulty engine valve spring last year, and 1.3 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. over a faulty brake light switch malfunction in March.

Dealer concerns

Last year, Subaru dealers in the U.S. expressed concern about how the Japanese automaker’s overall product line is slipping in quality. The board wrote, “Unfortunately, customers continue to have many issues with their Subarus, and the brand continues to slip in IQS and other industry metrics related to product quality. This is unacceptable and contradictory to what Subaru continues to tell the board and retailers about improvements being made thru quality initiatives.”

With its impressive growth, Subaru Corporation is having growing pains in Japan and the U.S. market. Subaru Corp has recently announced they have a new "Quality Policy" in order to realize "quality reform" which is one of the themes of the medium-term management vision "STEP" announced in July 2018. The first statement on the policy says “We will deliver products that can be used with confidence for a long time.”

Subaru Corp knows they have issues and they are making changes to fix them. Subaru customers are loyal, but they will lose confidence in the Forester, Outback, and Legacy if they don’t get it fixed soon.

Also Watch 8 Outdoor Accessories For Subaru SUV Campers: Forester, Outback and Crosstrek Owners and Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Subaru and Automotive Analysis.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Revises “Quality” Policy After 25 Years: Why Not Sooner?

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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Subaru Corp


Steve (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 11:09AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have a 13 Crosstrek with 125k miles on it. This was my first Subaru ever and my first brand new car I ever bought too. At 78k miles my lovely CVT went out on me (and I mean lovely sarcastically btw) just after the warranty expired and had to buy another one for 6 thousand dollars. I’ve had wheel bearings go soon after the warranty as well as my car’s thirst for oil. It drinks oil faster than a drunk at an open bar. It’s averaging two quarts between changes and Subaru said this is normal after testing it. Will I buy another brand new car again in the future, yes. A Subaru, no.

Jay Lewis (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 11:19AM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

Our Subaru uses oil just about as much as gas. I did research online and Subaru has an issue with several of them using oil. They won't do a recall but if you confront them about it then they'll admit it and do an oil consumption test and replace the motor. (Lower half) until you pass 100,000 miles but they had put bad rings in the motor and had hoped no one would notice I guess.

Emmanuel (not verified)    June 18, 2019 - 11:04PM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

You should call Subaru of America about getting a refund on your transmission replacement. They extended the transmission warranty to 100k mi. So since you got it replaced before that, you should be entitled to a refund. Also there's a technical service bulletin for oil consumption. If the car consumes a quart of oil every 1k mi, they will fix the problem by providing a new short block. But the oil consumption test had to be performed under 100k mi.

CURTIS GREEN (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 2:20PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have a 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium at 202,000 miles and still going strong. Purchased in Feb 2015 with 1,800 miles. Total issues include rear wheel bearings going bad under warranty @ 87,000 miles and a window switch died 2 days ago. Love my Subaru.

Earthgirl17 (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 2:30PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have one Forester with 236,000 and one with 127,000. The '09 is having the power steering return line fixed when the part comes in (had to order it thru Subaru). My '06 is the best little trooper ever, but it's starting to have electrical issues. I won't buy anything over '09 since they changed to CVT. They have major issues and won't recall them.

Deb (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 5:14PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have a 2001 Outback wagon with 196,000+ miles on it. Rust is my problem. Rear wheel wells have spreading bubbles under the paint. At some point, it gets impractical to spend money on repairs to the body even though mechanical and interior are still good. I have the NWS radio with cassette tape and CD player even! Great dog car due to height of the back seat, and ground clearance to get up my driveway in the winter snow. Nervous about quality questions with the new Subarus.

Shawn E Ryan (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 5:18PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have a 2017 outback with 75k on it and it has been amazing. My prior car was a 2006 Mercedes benz r350 that got 275k miles on it before I replaced it in 17 . all my research contradicts your findings. I hope your findings are wrong

John W Fischer (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 2:38PM

In reply to by Barbara (not verified)

I have a Subaru Outback touring vehicle 2018. In the last year and two months I put on 30000 miles. I love my Subaru and I love the service I get from Bay Ridge Subaru in Brooklyn New York. I hope I get all the miles I want on it I hope it goes many many hundreds of thousands of miles because it is a pleasure to drive that car. I believe most likely I will get another Subaru. Only this time I hope they actually put on the car that it is a Subaru Outback touring vehicle

John Bolingbroke (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 9:46PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I own a 2005 legacy gt w/190k miles (fully rebuilt engine at 160k miles myself), I had a 2008 outback from mile 0 to mile 140,000, owned two 1996 legacy's, one wagon, one sedan; I've built motors and done suspension and trans work on dozens more.

Subarus are crap.
They are the cheapest car with AWD.
They all have oil leaks FROM DAY ONE.
They all have leaky head gaskets by 60k miles.
They all need wheel bearings changed regularly.
I've had several with serious wiring faults directly attributed to the manufacturer not using enough wire, not using enough solder.
Just look up any of these issues on NASIOC forum. Look at YouTube videos of ppl repairing the solder on the passenger AirBag light above the rearview mirror. Manufacturer cheaped out on the solder, so your airbag doesn't deploy and NO that is not the Takata airbag recall.
I thought it was weird my radio reception sucked after 20k miles, turns out the wires were too short and severed under normal use.

We're taking about problems the dealerships can't diagnose or fix.

Subaru as a brand has done so well in America because their clientele is ignorant.
These ppl ignored the roaring wheel bearings, they ignored the obvious oil leaking from their head gaskets...I mean it still runs right?
So a bunch of them pushed past 200k miles, and we are all less safe because of it, thank gawd they are grenading themselves off the road sooner.

Sunere (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 9:18AM

In reply to by John Bolingbroke (not verified)

I'm just curious......if Subaru is "crap", why have you continued to buy so many? I'm not for or against Sabaru and I have personally never owned one or known anyone that has. But I do know that if i buy a car brand and figure out that it is crap, i would never buy that brand again.

John Bolingbroke (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 10:44AM

In reply to by Sunere (not verified)

The design is not crap. The execution is crap. Horizontally opposed turbocharged all-wheel drive on a tight multi-link suspension kicks ass.

What is crap is the factory bushings the factory wheel bearings the stock head gaskets the wiring that is too short, the displays that don't have enough solder on the boards and fail.
And crappiest of all: the owners whom are oblivious to the ticking time bombs they're driving around. All the while claiming an eco friendliness while leaking oil at every stop light.

The first two legacies I bought for under $600 each. The 2008 was a graduation gift and I definitely should have gone with a Toyota because I would still be driving it. And the 2005 Turbo Legacy was purchased for $2,000 low miles and with a blown motor. I built the motor& rebuilt the chassis so you can hardly call it a Subaru anymore.

Deb (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 1:03PM

In reply to by John Bolingbroke (not verified)

My 2001 outback wagon with v6 was at 160,000 miles without any problems ever..and since my father is a master mechanic we are not to stupid to notice any mechanical issues. Unfortunately in 2013 I was hit by a dodge 2500 doing about 60 mph. The Subaru was totaled but I credit the car with also saving our lives by holding up so well in the incident. I bought an Acura MDX (2013) to replace the Subaru only because of friends having many issues with newer Subaru's. I would buy a Subaru again tomorrow if it equaled my 2001

Marcia A Peterson (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 11:08AM

In reply to by Sunere (not verified)

I've had only Subarus since 1991. I started with Legacys, went up to Outbacks and now have a Forester. The Forester is a 2015 and only has 150,000 on it so far. I do a rural mail route and rack up miles like crazy. All of my old Subies have had at least 300,000 miles on them. One went over 500,000. A snowmobile took it out or it'd probably still be going! The 1998 model had issues. The others were all great. No serious problems or major expenses. Just good maintenance.

Notsojdmgc4 (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 1:12PM

In reply to by John Bolingbroke (not verified)

This is spot on. Subarus are made from the cheapest of the cheapest material. Their rear suspension design is a front wheel drive design, they only recently started to use what Nissan has been since the 90s.

Agreed, the vast majority of Subaru owners are quite ignorant when it comes to vehicles.

Greg (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 10:56PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

2010 Outback, 2.5 , 6 speed manual transmission. 231K miles. 1 clutch, cv boots, 2 timing belts, numerous head lamp bulbs, and check engine has been on for about 6 months because of the cat. I am in the market for a new car, and all Subaru has to offer in the new Outback is a crappy CVT. So my alternative will be a RAV 4 with the 8sp auto. I absolutely love my Outback- wish I could buy it again new.

Ransom Ackerman Jr (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 5:22AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have a 2007 Forester that just passed 290k, I'm beginning to feel like it's going to be time to move on to a newer one soon... I find the news of the quality of Subaru quality slipping very disheartening. It seems like that until I hear of actual improvement being made, I'll continue to research and look for used ones, rather than investing all the money in a new one.

Steve (not verified)    July 21, 2019 - 12:33PM

In reply to by Gerald Austin (not verified)

That's amazing. I had a 1992 Legacy. The 2.2 engine was great. Too bad the 2.5 wasn't based on the 2.2, only larger. New designs certainly aren't necessarily improvements.

Lisa (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 9:13AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

We have a 2016 Forrester with 155,000 miles. Nothing but issues from first 50,000 and local dealership is shady! The ac went out at 100,000 and dealership refused to let us see part or part numbers. Charge was over $3500! Subaru corporate agreed that was wrong of dealership and sent us a refund for $2000 but the vehicle always has issue after issue...wish we had bought the Toyota

Stuart Campbell (not verified)    June 17, 2019 - 3:48PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have a 2011 Outback, which is the fifth Subaru that I have owned. 2 days ago at 150,000 miles, my CVT seized up just one year after the notice of warranty extension for this problem has expired. 7 grand to make it right. Subaru: you should fix problem parts like this one irregardless of timing if you want to keep loyal customers.