Skip to main content

Subaru’s Safest New Cars And Why Its Most Popular Model Is Not

The 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, Ascent, and Legacy are Subaru's safest vehicles. Why is its most popular model, the 2021 Crosstrek, not on the safest models list?


Why are the 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, Ascent, and Legacy the automaker's safest new cars? They all come standard with Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist safety technology. The safety technology gives the all-wheel-drive models the best safety scores with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

These models have forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot warning. But the refreshed 2021 Subaru Crosstrek does not come standard with the safety technology on all trim levels.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

The advantage of having Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology is it can help avoid a rear-end collision. The pre-collision braking system available on Forester, Outback, Ascent, and Legacy is designed to provide automatic braking that either prevents a crash or reduces the severity of a frontal impact. The IIHS gives top scores to models that have the technology.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

All 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, 2022 Subaru Ascent, and 2022 Legacy trim levels come standard with EyeSight driver-assist safety technology because the models only offer a Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission (CVT). But models with a manual transmission do not come with the safety technology and do not get the highest safety scores.

Not all Subaru models offer EyeSight as a standard feature

2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

The popular 2021 Subaru Crosstrek in base and Premium offer EyeSight as an option because it's unavailable on 6-speed standard transmission models. The 2021 Crosstrek Sport, Limited and Hybrid trims all come standard with EyeSight safety technology because they only come with a CVT.

Subaru Impreza gets left off the safest new cars list

The 2022 Subaru Impreza Premium sedan and hatchback and Impreza Sport sedan all come standard with EyeSight safety technology because they only come with CVT. The 2022 Subaru Impreza Limited sedan and hatchback also come standard with EyeSight driver assist.

The 2022 Subaru Impreza base sedan, hatchback, and Impreza Sport hatchback offer EyeSight as an option because it's not available on models with a 5-speed standard transmission.

Why does Subaru not offer EyeSight on manual transmission models?

Subaru's manual transmission models do not have EyeSight because Subaru Corporation doesn't want to spend their research money on figuring out how to make it work with a standard gearbox.

Subaru will likely drop the manual transmission in the Crosstrek and Impreza next-generation models coming in 2023. These models will then offer EyeSight as standard on all trims and get the highest IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus scores.

Not all of Subaru's performance cars come standard with EyeSight

The 2021 Subaru WRX base does not come with EyeSight as it only offers a 6-speed manual gearbox. The WRX Premium and Limited with a Sport Lineartronic CVT automatic come standard with EyeSight; the 6-speed manual trims do not.

The 2021 Subaru WRX STI does not offer EyeSight on the base and Limited trims because they only come with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission.

The next-generation 2022 Subaru BRZ gets standard EyeSight for the first time on the new Premium and 2022 Limited trim with a CVT automatic transmission. The Premium and Limited trims with 6-speed standard gearbox do not.

Subaru will continue to offer both a standard transmission and a CVT automatic in the future on WRX and BRZ sports cars. The next-generation performance-tuned WRX STI will only come with a 6-speed manual gearbox and will be the only model without EyeSight starting with the 2022 models.

The 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV, 2022 Outback midsize SUV, 2022 Ascent 3-Row SUV, and 2022 Legacy sedan do not offer a 6-speed manual transmission and only a CVT automatic transmission. All earn the highest Top Safety Pick Plus scores equipped with EyeSight. The popular Crosstrek subcompact SUV and Impreza compact will follow soon.

You Might Also Like: The 8 Best SUVs Under $30,000 - Why the New Forester and Outback Just Moved Up to the Top

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: Subaru USA