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Subaru Scores Low Again In New J.D. Power Dependability Study

Subaru did not do well again in the 2022 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. And no Subaru models win any individual segment awards.


It’s not a surprise that Subaru scores poorly again in the latest 2022 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. Subaru vehicles like the Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, and other all-wheel-drive models have not scored well the past six years, and this makes six years in a row they score below the industry average.

Last year, the Subaru Forester scored one of the top three models in dependability in the competitive compact SUV segment, but this year, no Subaru models are singled out for an award.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback
photo credit: J.D. Power

Powers says it covers 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories; climate, driving assistance (new in 2022), driving experience, exterior, features/controls/ displays, infotainment, interior, powertrain, and seats.

The study also now measures satisfaction with the vehicle’s condition after three years of usage, whether owners find their vehicle as appealing now as when they first bought it, and what software updates have been made to the vehicle.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

This could be one of the reasons Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other models score low. David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power says, automakers have to keep up with software updates to keep car owners satisfied.

“For instance, cellphones update all the time with over-the-air software releases and, increasingly, automakers must take advantage of this approach to fix problems, improve features and add capabilities to keep owners satisfied,” says Amodeo.

What does the Power study measure?

The J.D. Power study measures the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of their three-year-old vehicles. The lowest scores are the best in the rankings. Of the 32 automakers in the study, Subaru ranks 22nd and below the industry average with a score of PP/226. The industry average is PP/192.

Kia (PP/145), Buick (PP/147), Hyundai (PP/148), Genesis (PP/155), and Toyota (PP/158), and are the top five automakers in dependability, according to J.D. Power.

In 2016, Subaru achieved a total VDS ranking of 166 (Problems per 100 Vehicles). In 2017, the Japanese automaker ranked 164 PP100, well below the industry average of 156. Subaru slipped into the bottom quarter of automakers in 2018 with a 167 PP100 while the overall industry average improved 9 percent to 142.

Subaru has not had any models score a mention in the past six years except for the Forester in the 2021 study.

Why does Subaru score well below the industry average in this study?

Keep in mind that the J.D. Power information was accurate with cars people bought new in 2019. One complaint with customers is because of Subaru's Starlink infotainment system.

Some owners experienced several problems that include backup camera freezing/or shutdowns, loss of audio functions, complete system lockup, display shutoff, inability to shut radio/audio off or turn high volume level down when backing up, radio comes on at high volume when the car is turned on, smartphone favorites aren't saved, audio/radio functioning is erratic, touchscreen controls are unresponsive, and Bluetooth connectivity issues.

You can read more here: Having Problems With Subaru Starlink? What Owners Can Do

A story in the New York Times reports it’s not just Subaru owners that are experiencing software issues as automakers are having problems making the transition to the digital age “and struggle to integrate the latest technology into vehicles, which must meet safety requirements that smartphones and other electronics do not.”

Subaru, one of the smallest automakers in the U.S., is now dealing with technology and how to keep up with the software updates. The problems customers are having with the Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other all-wheel-drive models are now with the infotainment system and technology.

You Might Also Like: The Car Brands Americans Consider First - Subaru Now Scores In The Top 5

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: Subaru USA


Lori Scriven (not verified)    February 11, 2022 - 11:05PM

I have a 2005 Baja Love it,! No problems at all .Safe and Dependable!! This year was first mechanical problem. All fixed... Hate the speakers they never did work right..

Daniel Mongeau (not verified)    February 12, 2022 - 3:11PM

This is whack, they ranked Kia super high, but the 2021/22 Sorento is having HUGE issues with transmission fails at 5k miles. Forester is ranked low by them but Consumer Reports ranks them well.

Subaru owner (not verified)    February 12, 2022 - 6:42PM

Google wheel bearing, control arm bushing, air conditioner issues on the newer ones
This is not right when you pay 30k + for a car

brian (not verified)    July 12, 2022 - 8:25PM

2017 wrx issues:
20k miles battery died
20k miles throwout bearing replacement
30k miles ac condenser goes
40k miles can't pass emissions inspection because O2 sensor test won't complete test. Dealership wants money to complete test.

Subaru got really big, really fast, and quality has suffered.

NMK (not verified)    February 23, 2023 - 7:04AM

Any study that ranks Kia and Hyundai at the top is clearly a waste of time to even look at. The criteria they rank this stuff on in incredibly stupid. The korean cars blow engines like crazy, have serious knock sensor problems, can be stolen by a 10 year old in under a minute, and ride like a tin can with wagon wheels. Give me a break. JD Power needs to lose funding over this kind of stuff.