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Subaru Vs Jeep - 3 Reasons Why Subaru Is Now The Best Off-Road Brand

The 2021 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, and Outback are more rugged than ever. Is this how Subaru outperforms Jeep? See why it’s not about all-wheel-drive performance. It’s about lifestyle.

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What is the best off-road vehicle, Subaru or Jeep? When you think of going off-road, everyone thinks of Jeep, but what about Subaru? Do Subaru owners use their SUVs for extreme off-roading, or is it something the automaker uses to market its 2021 Forester, Crosstrek, and Outback? While many owners won’t take their SUV off-road, the Subaru brand attracts a different breed who do take their SUVs off-pavement.

It’s not about all-wheel-drive performance. It’s about lifestyle. Subaru says around 33 percent of Subaru Crosstrek owners will use their subcompact SUV for off-pavement recreation. One look at Instagram reveals Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback customers are passionate about getting away. It’s not that Subaru has better all-wheel-drive models; it’s how they connect with buyers with active lifestyles.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Subaru is the best off-road brand in three ways. It’s because they connect with active customers where they live, play, and socialize. A new report from ranks Subaru the number two mainstream brand regarding visibility, sentiment, and engagement of its customers. Subaru knows who its customers are and connects with them better than other automakers, including Jeep. ranked all automotive brands on a scale of 0 to 1,000 based on the three customer experiences. The scores are measured using online data reviews, listings, search results, social media, and customer engagement on Google and other online platforms.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Subaru is second overall among mainstream brands with a reputation score of 669, up from 2019 when it scored 647. Out of the eighteen automakers, Jeep scored thirteenth on the list with a reputation score of 602. Subaru scored second overall at 78 percent for customer engagement, while Jeep is near the bottom with a score of 63 percent, just ahead of the last place Mitsubishi at 61 percent.

Why is Subaru’s customer engagement high?

Subaru keeps its competitive edge by giving customers an extra level of connectedness. Not in the area of technology, but connected to what its customers want and where they live. Subaru’s customers live for the weekends and use their all-wheel-drive models to getaway. It’s not something new; Subaru connects with its active customer base for decades.

In the last ten years, The Camden, N.J. automaker does it best with its social media outreach. Subaru knows the generation purchasing the Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback for outdoor recreation uses social media to connect with their friends and find out information on purchases they will be making. Subaru uses Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to communicate with potential active customers.

Why is Subaru the best off-road brand? Subaru builds the 2021 Subaru Forster, Crosstrek, and Outback for outdoor recreation, but they know who its customers are and connects best in three ways; where they live, play, and socialize. You will see them playing in the dirt on weekends.

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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, LP Aventure, Warn

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Chupacabra (not verified)    November 4, 2020 - 8:28AM

For the most part Subaru makes some good cars. But if you're really into off-roading, or want a Wrangler, there's no competition yet. Being able to take off the doors, or the top is a unique experience that no other vehicle can match. That's why I just bought one. Probably will be more of a pain in the ass than a Subaru over time but it puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. To each his own though...

Cog357 (not verified)    November 5, 2020 - 1:45AM

In reply to by Chupacabra (not verified)

I have to agree, doors and top off going through three feet of water playing Van Halen’s Eruption is something you can’t do in a Subaru or any other vehicle

JEREMY MOORE (not verified)    November 4, 2020 - 9:43AM

Too bad their CVTs destroy their rugged trail ability and they're putting it in everything. You know the car can totally make it up an obstacle... until the rubber band transmission protects itself and says no.

Genevive McDonald (not verified)    November 4, 2020 - 12:36PM

AweSome!!. I Would ❤ to Own One. I'm working my ass off. I did go trade with Subaru. No Dice?. 2017 ford fiesta 20,000 miles plus 4,000 in Cash. Subaru Said No Dice. So I'm Saving plus return taxes throw down I WANT one 2021 Cross Trek!!. HELP ME?!

Aaron (not verified)    November 4, 2020 - 1:05PM

I own a 2019 Subaru Crosstrek with the manual transmission and it shocks me how well it does on trails. Its no rock climber, but with the few things I've done to it (skid plates, AT tires) it handles the rough Wyoming and Colorado trails excellently, and still gets 25MPG.

dano (not verified)    November 4, 2020 - 4:20PM

i had both i know when i turn the key my subie will start . jeep is junk . say prayers before u turn the key .on a jeep nothing like being stranded in the woods . pos ..

TheWors (not verified)    November 4, 2020 - 11:21PM

While I was going to write a long statement of why Subaru doesn't compare to the Jeep Wrangler, I actually chose not to. Reason? Not worth a discussion as the 2 vehicles aren't even remotely in the same category. Subaru makes a great car no doubt, but hey Subaru, why don't you stay in your weight class for a change. Your preaching of off road capability is going, oh wait already has, gotten rookie drivers killed being in places their car and their skill is not capable. Just like COVID Subaru, Stay Home and Save Lives.

Masubie (not verified)    November 5, 2020 - 12:46AM

Sure, my outback is capable for soft-roading or some overlanding, but I got to give it to the Jeep’s and 4x4 vehicles for off-roading.

Josh (not verified)    November 5, 2020 - 7:59AM

If Subaru had a vehicle that can reach any type of relatable ground clearance you would be right. So once I see a Subaru that matches the capacity to traverse obstacles that requires higher than 2 inches of clearance. We can talk about this.. Nothing a Subaru has can compare to a jeep. Especially the wrangler. Not to mention the ease of replacing an swapping parts. Jeep is miles ahead.

Chupacabra (not verified)    November 5, 2020 - 9:49PM

In reply to by Josh (not verified)

To be fair, most Subie's have 8"+ of ground clearance stock, which isn't a whole lot less than a stock Wrangler. Even with that clearance though I'd never try taking an Outback places I take my stock Wrangler. I don't do anything extreme but 4L is pretty necessary in some of them, not sure how well an Outback with a CVT would work under those conditions.

Jesse Bartunek (not verified)    November 7, 2020 - 3:47AM

Poor title. Subaru does not make a single vehicle with a low range transfer case. If it does not have a transfer case then it's ability to "off-road" is essentially limited to dirt roads. Don't get me wrong, a good driver can do crazy things with a Subaru, but honestly, pick the right tool for the job. No person that is seriously planning on actually going "off-road" would consider an all-wheel-drive vehicle for such a task. Please be smart, if you don't want a Jeep, get some other 4×4 and make sure it has a transfer case or you are only getting AWD.

Dan Zarlenga (not verified)    October 6, 2021 - 7:07PM

OK, we get it.....Subaru connects with their customers. Now what about the OTHER 2 reasons??? Didn't the headline and intro say 3 reasons? Did I miss something?

B Curtis (not verified)    November 7, 2021 - 6:21PM

So, Subaru is the best off-road brand because Subaru SAYS it's the best off-road brand. Ok, got it. Thanks.