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Subaru WRX STI Makes "10 Cars You Should Avoid Buying” List

According to Forbes, the 2019 Subaru WRX STI performance car is one of 10 cars you don't want to buy.


Forbes says there are 10 cars in 2019 that you do not want to buy and should avoid at all costs. The sport-tuned 2019 Subaru WRX and performance tuned WRX STI make the top cars to avoid list 2019 at number 10. Forbes says they wouldn’t recommend these cars to their friends or relatives so that means you don’t want them either.

Forbes based most of its ranking on the most-recent new-vehicle reports from Consumer Reports and dependability and initial quality scores from J.D. Power’s owner surveys. They also put weight on a number of other reviews and their own test drives.

What’s wrong with the WRX/STI?

According to Forbes, the WRX and WRX STI is basically a rally car version of the Impreza compact and you need to be a “certain disposition” to enjoy it. They say it has a “skittish demeanor” that feels underdeveloped when held up against “more sophisticated performance-minded models.”

They also say the WRX ($27,195) and WRX STI ($36,595) are too pricey compared with other models. They cite Consumer Reports giving it a low overall rating among sports cars, and poor ratings for reliability from CR and J.D. Power, ranking it below average for initial quality. Forbes says you are better off buying a Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86, or a Honda Civic Si or Type R.

Forbes top ten cars to avoid

Forbes says the new cars, trucks, and SUVs to avoid for 2019 are as follows in order of ranking from one to ten. Number one is the Alfa Romeo Giulia, followed by the Dodge Journey, Fiat 500L, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Titan XD, Smart EQ ForTwo, and number 10, the Subaru WRX and WRX STI.

We do agree Subaru needs to get a handle on the reliability factor and quality issues the WRX STI has had. We couldn’t disagree more with Forbes on the WRX and WRX STI performance handling and overall driving dynamics. The car is for those who want a dynamic driving experience, not a refined ride. Its rally-inspired all-wheel-drive technology and Subaru turbo Boxer engine that sits low in the chassis is what sets the car apart. The 2019 Subaru WRX/STI does have some issues, but they are still the most affordable fun sports cars in the world.

You May Also Like: Is Subaru The New Extreme AWD Off-Road Brand?

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Gerard Simon (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 9:00AM

I never put much stock in these ratings. They are probably over-reacting to the reports of engine problems that are often caused by customers modding their cars poorly, trying to get them fixed under warranty, then complaining when Subaru says no. As for being over-priced, we all know that the WRX and STI prices are right in line with their competition. If it's a tick higher, you're paying for one of the best all-wheel drive systems on the planet. The ride is also comparable with the competition. Ride quality is very subjective and dependant on road conditions. Even with their adjustable suspensions, I've heard my share of complaints about the RS and Type R rides. The Golf R seems to be the cruiser in the hot-hatch group.

Jon (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 11:50AM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

I owned two WRXs, a 2004 and a 2011. I had rod knock on both caused by crappy oil pickup tubes, i.e. bad designed parts by Subaru. Sold the first for half what I could have gotten. I still own the second, but it cost me $7000 to fix. I still love driving the car most of the time, though the ride is too harsh on Chicago streets. But there's nothing else on the market I want. I was going to get an RS, but once those motors started failing, I decided to steer clear.

Dennis (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 3:59PM

In reply to by Jon (not verified)

Again if you look at the history of issues it's from being modded without going to a tuner. If you look at the ones bot modded you really don't hear of issues just throwing out facts.

Marcb (not verified)    May 23, 2019 - 8:19AM

In reply to by Dennis (not verified)

Actually most problems are with factory tunes and pro tunes when they blow up on the dyno...There is so much hype about pro tunes being so much better which for the most part is nonsense...Tuners change knock detection parameters so it appears the tune is better...I have 2 pro tune maps and when I run at the track I use my ots ethanol tune because it has the most power and smoothest delivery...Poor driving habits are also a cause of many engine failures as well...Bottom line though is there have been engine failures due to poor factory tunes like on the 2015 wrx, and other issues related to insufficient oiling...Not exactly common, but they have occurred..

Timothy A Mackey (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 8:24PM

In reply to by Timothy Demerjian (not verified)

I love the comment I had a 2003 Wrx and ran it to 206,000 before I traded it in for the 2018 STI. I never had any issues at all. If you keep up on maintenance when your supposed to they will run forever. One last thing for all you haters out there Subaru's hold there value a lot better than most.

Andrew Lanutti (not verified)    March 17, 2020 - 9:15AM

In reply to by Timothy A Mackey (not verified)

I never have had any major problems with my WRX's and I just bought a 2020 Sti. fantastic car. I have driven my cousins 911 and the Sti handles better and quite frankly faster.? Gear ratios make all the difference. keep up on maintenance and you are golden.

Matt M (not verified)    May 6, 2019 - 11:35AM

In reply to by Jon (not verified)

It's well known that cornering while throttling hard can cause temporary oil loss to the motor causing the exact conditions you described. I haven't heard of any other oiling issues. But hot places get bad heat soak at the lights with TMIC and can blow the motor stock on S# just leaving the lights. Sounds like u needed a water meth system. Anyways can always reengineer things to work. Besides any factory made car gonna have some lemons. Know what issue might happen and don't blame the engineeri g if u know your an aggressive driver. You drive it hard things brake. That's just life. Otherwise buy a car that already at your performance objectives.

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In reply to by Jon (not verified)

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Christian M (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 11:55AM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

I can't agree with you on this. I had my WRX spin a Rod Bearing at 9k miles and then again at 60k miles. My car is completely stock and I use Subaru oil filters as well.

David Y (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 1:21PM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

Thanks for your real life assessment. I was fortunate enough to have had a 2006 Volvo S60 R, brand new off the show room floor. From owning a new 73 Z28 (Awesome) 08 Range Rover HMS (Incredible) Subaru Outback that I honestly took the 360* off ramp @ 70mph just to see if. Subaru's are incredible handling cars and takin off road, snow, sand, is like pure pavement. Affordable is an understatement. 2011 Buick Regal S, one of the best cars I've owned. Every time I got into this beautifully styled car I was excited. To bad I lost it during a flood. Forbes just doesn't get what sport driving is all about. When you're racing mountain roads you expect if not crave the challenge of beating the road and making it thru with out totalling your ride. I'm looking forward to my long awaited purchase of my 2020 Subaru WRX. Show me a car that can take a curve on a mountain road at high speed with out any chop and I'd say that would be boring. Tesla is also one if the best handling cars Ever. The model 3 is well, Wow! I may for go the WRX and go with the Tesla 3, uve fot plenty of time.
Great read,
Thanks much

Mike T (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 2:01PM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

My 2015 STI suffered connecting rod #2 bearing failure after 3 months of new ownership and no mods. Subaru replaced the Long block under warranty. There is currently a class action lawsuit for 2015+ STI owners who had similar bearing failures and lost money when they paid for repair at dealerships or traded in the car without fixing it. The issue was real. Used buyers should be wary of this model range if the engine has not yet been rebuilt with upgraded aftermarket bearings.

Vince yakaitis (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 9:26PM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

Haha,exactly. Too many "clowns" upgrading the hell out of it themselves or some Joe schmoe that thinks they know what they're doing. Then they redline the shit out of it,miss gears,over rev to be cool,etc. They wanna take a 35 grand car and makebelive it's a 150 grand supercar. I have my 2016 for 3 years and no engine problems whatsoever.

Steve Felty (not verified)    May 6, 2019 - 6:16AM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

I've had motor problems with my Subaru. And it wasn't modified in any way. I should say repeated motor problems that where after the warranty. Also very expensive. The handling and ride are very well for a small car.

Thomas J. (not verified)    May 6, 2019 - 10:25AM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

I had an '09 WRX. I didn't modify it at all. At 30,000 miles I had to get a new engine due to a bent rod (Knock), and at 75k miles I had to get a new transmission due to a burnt out bearing. My brother had an '11 wrx that he cobb tuned. He had a head gasket leak around 115k. That's not that absurd given the boost was turned up and it had over 100k on it. But still, a new engine at 30k? Thank God I had a warranty.

John (not verified)    May 6, 2019 - 10:31AM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

No real car Guy/Girl buys a WRX/STI to leave it stock and some go the wrong way about modding them and expect the dealership to pick up the price of thier mistake......WARRANTY LMFAO

Martina (not verified)    May 6, 2019 - 12:48PM

In reply to by Gerard Simon (not verified)

I absolutely agree....some of us understand the value of real AWD, some folks like to understeer.

I've been driving Subaru since the Impreza RS... they've all been reliable... Subie owners do kind of push it, especially the "drift" loving banzai element.

The two sources I wouldn't listen to are Forbes and Consumer Reports...

Ben (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 9:44AM

Forbes is basically BuzzFeed nowadays. They write a ton of content for SEO and no editor is steering the ship. The article might as well be on some random person's blog, and given as much credence.

TAD (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 10:03AM

Well that's just like their opinion man. The STI is not a logical choice that's for sure but for those that prioritize driving dynamics over "sophistication" it remains a solid option. I love my Type RA and wouldn't trade it for any similarly priced non-skitish performance car.

Martina (not verified)    May 6, 2019 - 8:36PM

In reply to by TAD (not verified)

I've been pretty much on the same platform since 2005, shifting slightly in 2016 to the new WRX. This is a good evolution, with that performance envelope coming from a great engine and drive train.

Here's the problem, what else in credible AWD is out there for we, the car drivers(yes, I'm not crazy about the sedan, but it's a shell to test Vizio frame concepts, I'm good)...Audi, BMW and Mercedes..and Subaru.

After forcing a '16 GTI into torque steer ( I live near rainy, windy roads)...once again, with it's truly unique personality, I ended up with another Subie.

Mike (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 10:22AM

What does forbes and jd power know about fun or performance. I know there has been a problem with there engines lately among other things but this isn’t a car to avoid. The people who write these reviews know shit about cars, just whoever pays the most cash to say there car is better. Go give another jd power award to Chevy.

JB Boy (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 11:17AM

The EJ25 and newer FA engines from Subaru will not require the maintenance like the “more sophisticated performance-minded models” that I can be compared to.

John P Donofrio (not verified)    May 5, 2019 - 11:52AM

What vehicle has AWD, a turbo and the power/performance levels that the base WRX has? There is literally no competition. The closest thing is the GTI and that isn't AWD or nearly as powerful. Also, what about residual value. WRX/STI have one of the highest residual values out there. I could think of at least five cars that are over priced and under perform way more than the WRX/STI. What about the Kia stinger, hyundia Veloster, Ford mustang ecoboost, base challenger and Camaro? Just look at the build quality alone of these vehicles, why aren't they on the list? I test drove the last three recently and trust me, they don't compare to the WRX/STI when it comes to overall quality and long term residual value. Obviously there is some kind of agenda here.