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Subaru Reliability - 2 Models Are Best In The Lineup It's Not New Forester Or Outback

Two Subaru models have the best reliability ratings, better than the top-selling 2020 Forester and Outback. One is the 2020 Crosstrek subcompact SUV, but the second model will surprise you.


A vehicle’s reliability is high on all car shopper’s list and Subaru has two models in its lineup that score a 5/5 in Consumer Reports rankings. One model is the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek which was all-new in 2018 and has a good track record of reliability. The other model with a 5/5 rating may be a surprise. It’s the 2020 Subaru BRZ sports coupe, a twin to the Toyota 86, and a joint venture between the two Japanese automakers.

Subaru’s two most popular all-wheel-drive SUVs don’t fare as well in CR’s rankings. The red hot model in Subaru’s lineup is the 2020 Subaru Forester compact SUV and scores a 3/5 in reliability. The next most popular Subaru is the 2020 Outback wagon which is redesigned for 2020 and scores a 4/5. The Legacy sedan shares many of the same components as Outback and also scores a 4/5 in reliability. The Impreza sedan and 5-Door hatch compact are also rated 4/5.

2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2020 Subaru Ascent is all-new and with many new models, it takes time for automakers to work out the bugs and gets a 3/5 in reliability. The worst model in the Subaru stable is the 2020 Subaru WRX and WRX STI performance sedans with a score of 2/5. The WRX has had clutch issues and the STI has had some issues with its 2.5-liter turbocharged Boxer engine.

If you’ve wondered why one car in an automaker’s lineup is more reliable than another, you aren’t alone. There are no easy answers as automakers constantly update their cars with mid-cycle refreshes, new engines, new technology, and some are getting complete remodels. And some are all-new models like the Ascent 3-Row family hauler. The automakers’ suppliers also play a role in reliability.

2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

Overall, the Subaru brand makes reliable cars but has had growing pains in the past few years. Subaru has experienced an industry best 11 years of uninterrupted sales growth. This has put a strain on the small automaker’s two manufacturing plants and also its suppliers. In the latest CR car brand reliability rankings, With the fast growth, Subaru is still one of the top 10 automakers scoring number 7 on the list.

The Japanese automakers dominate the list with Lexus, Mazda, and Toyota, taking the first 7 spots. Porsche, Genesis, and Hyundai are just ahead of Subaru at number 7. The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek and BRZ top the reliability list with the least amount of problems for the Japanese automaker. Look for the number one selling 2020 Subaru Forester to improve as Subaru Corporation gets its plant issues in Japan fixed.

You Might Also Like: Did Subaru Miss With The All-New Subaru Outback? Sales Continue To Drop

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


SubaruOwner (not verified)    June 6, 2020 - 9:07AM

"If you’ve wondered why one car in an automaker’s lineup is more reliable than another, you aren’t alone"

I'm wondering specifically about the Impreza given that its so similar to the Crosstrek. Isn't the Crosstrek just an Impreza lifted higher off the ground with extra cladding and x-mode? How is the Impreza not as reliable as the Crosstrek?

Didi Mulyadi (not verified)    June 6, 2020 - 9:32AM

The answer is easy the low volume BRZ the owners are loyalist so they always defend their car. While STi and WRX it's because those owner drove then really hard because they think they drive rally cars. On the other side of the fence forester outback and legacy owners are those buyers who expect alot from their purchase so they complain every single imperfections. Crosstrek owners from what I see on the roads mostly are new car owners who don't know what to expect in their new car or those who just move from another brand who had more problems than Subaru that's why they really happy with their cars. Just my opinion using simple common sense.

Steve Bator (not verified)    June 6, 2020 - 10:39AM

Subaru really missed the mark with the new 2020 Outback. Why do I want to upgrade from my 2015 when there are no exterior changes other than platform and info screen? On a test drive the 2020 drove the same as my 2015!

Lori Arnold-Mann (not verified)    July 30, 2020 - 6:21PM

I had my 2016 Crosstrek for 10 al.ost 11 months, it was totalled by a collision. It saved my life, airbags deployed. I wasn't injured except for bruises on my right shin. My knee airbag deployed, I didnt know I had airbags by my knees. I don't feel comfortable driving another brand of car. I transported my 102 year old father to his VA medical appointments in my Crosstrek and in my 2009 Impreza. My Crosstrek was helping me earn a paycheck by Doordashing. Without it I'm going to have to go on unemployment.
My Crosstrek was great on mileage and I had no issues with it. Issues with my paperwork at the dealership left me without my Gap insurance. I want another Crosstrek any year from 2016. I'm still hoping. I am sitting home hoping I can go back to Doordashing. But I know I will only feel safe in a Subaru. Here's hoping I can find one.