Ford vs Subaru: Which is More Reliable?

Ford vs Subaru Reliability

Ford and Subaru are amazing car brands. You can always rely on Ford engines to deliver impressive power, but Subaru's relentless capacity and ability to conquer harsh conditions are features worth considering.

Subaru's standard all-wheel drive, which offers excellent traction and superb engineering principles, are qualities that make it a worthy competitor of the Ford brand. So, which of these car brands is a more reliable option?

Our car experts did the research for you and found that Subaru is more reliable than Ford. The Subaru brand beats Ford with better reliability ratings, higher safety ratings, and cheaper repair and maintenance costs. Gas mileage varies on both brands, just as does their engine performance.

Here's all you need to know about Ford vs. Subaru reliability.

Key Takeaways

  • In general, Subaru is more reliable than Ford
  • Ford's engines (specifically the Mustang and Ford's trucks) are known for their superior power and performance compared to Subaru's
  • Neither Subaru nor Ford have an exceptionally good reliability rating, so it may be worth looking into other options

Ford vs. Subaru Reliability: A Detailed Comparison

Gas Mileage
Kinetic Design; More modern and sleek
Adaptation; efficiency, dynamic performance.
Repair and Maintenance Cost
High Safety Ratings
Higher Safety Ratings
Ford cars last up to 200,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 10-13 years
Subaru can last up to 200,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 13-17 years.
Engine and Performance

Ford vs. Subaru Reliability: Which Is Better?

Subaru might not be as popular as Ford in most regions, but they are better than Ford in terms of reliability.

Subaru offers better features and advanced operations that make them a more valuable option to users. With a Subaru car, you are assured of superior engineering principles and operations and better durability standards.

According to RepairPal, Subaru has a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 14th out of 32 car brands. Although Ford has similar reliability ratings to Subaru, they rank lower than Subaru by occupying the 21st position. Subaru also outperforms Ford on the 2022 Consumer reports reliability rating.

Subaru is the 7th most reliable car brand with a reliability score of 80, compared to Ford, which occupies the 18th position with a reliability score of 73. Subaru cars have higher safety ratings, and they tend to last longer than Ford cars.

The warranty coverage is similar on both brands, and their engine performance is also similar depending on your chosen model. However, Subaru tends to have more cars with better gas mileage.

One of the main things that set Ford and Subaru apart in terms of reliability is their approach to engineering and design. Ford is known for producing a wide range of vehicles, from budget-friendly options to luxury models.

This means that they often have to make compromises to hit different price points, which can sometimes lead to a lack of consistency in reliability across different models.

On the other hand, Subaru is known for its focus on all-wheel-drive and rugged off-road capabilities.

While Ford aims to provide different cars in different categories, Subaru focuses more on integrating technology and world-class engineering measures that make their cars adapt to all conditions and terrains.

Ford vs. Subaru Reliability: Design

Both Ford and Subaru offer a range of car designs that suit different preferences, targeted at different users. Ford's designs adopt a more modern and sleek, while Subaru's designs are more rugged yet sporty.

This is visible in the Ford Mustang and the Subaru WRX.

Ford and Subaru have distinct design philosophies regarding their cars, which reflects in their car deliveries.

Ford adopts more of a traditional approach, focusing on creating sleek, sporty vehicles with powerful engines. The Subaru brand focuses more on building cars that can adapt to different terrains and conditions.

The goal of Subaru's adaptability is to ensure that their cars can meet up with the continuously changing environment. To achieve this, Subaru integrates its rooted values to achieve a high-level efficiency and dynamic performance in its cars.

This ranges from using all-wheel-drive systems, engine placement, and symmetrical designs. The end game is to achieve higher levels of handling, control, and dynamic handling.

While it is undeniable that you will get more muscle and high-performance vehicles from Ford, you can rely on Subaru for better traction and amazing off-road capabilities.

Ford tilts towards achieving the American standard for cars, while Subaru has more Japanese engineering.

The decision between the reliability of Ford and Subaru depends on your needs and preferences.

Engine performance fluctuates on the different models of both models, so you'll find Ford vehicles that will perform better than Subaru, and there is another way around too.

Winner: Both

Ford vs. Subaru Reliability: Repair and Maintenance Cost

It is cheaper to maintain a Subaru vehicle than a Ford. According to RepairPal, Ford gets an average annual repair cost of $775. This is compared to Subaru, which gets only $617.

With Subaru, you get a higher chance of visiting the repair shop. This is all thanks to the superior engineering design of Subaru. There's an estimated 0.3 chance of visiting a repair shop and a 13% probability that it's a major issue. Ford gets a 0.3 chance and a 15% probability, respectively.

Although the warranty coverage is similar on both car brands, with the varying figures on the chances of major and minor damages, it is obvious that you will save more money driving a Subaru than you will with a Ford.

Winner: Subaru

Ford vs. Subaru Reliability: Engine and Performance

Ford vehicles are known for their powerful engines and strong performance. For instance, The Ford F-150 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers up to 400 horsepower.

Subaru's are not bad, either. Though equipped with smaller engines, Subaru vehicles produce impressive engine power that matches what Ford offers.

More importantly, the smaller size of Subaru engines makes them a better fuel-efficient option. For instance, the Subaru WRX has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 271 horsepower.

Subaru might not have a truck that delivers as much power as Ford's, but its compact cars and SUVs are equipped with engines that can compete with Ford's engines.

On a close comparison between Ford and Subaru engines, we determined that most Ford vehicles deliver more power than Subaru cars.

You must understand that increased engine strength doesn't translate to the overall durability of the engine. Subaru engines have fewer chances of breaking down, and they deliver greater power.

Handling is superb on both car brands, but Ford delivers better power. The choice depends on your definition of a good engine.

Winner: Both

Ford vs. Subaru Reliability: Safety and Technology

Both Ford and Subaru prioritize safety in their vehicles. Their vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features that include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, etc.

The truth, Subaru has more emphasis on safety than Ford. Subaru splits its safety measures into three forms; primary, preventive, and active.

From the use of hazard avoidance, vehicle dynamics control system, steering responsive headlights, reverse auto braking, rear detection, etc, there are more advanced safety features on Subaru than on Ford.

The impressive safety features of Subaru earn it higher safety ratings than Ford vehicles. According to the 2022 IIHS safety ratings, Subaru has 11 cars earning the 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick(+) award compared to Ford, which has only 7 cars.

Apart from having more cars with higher safety ratings, individual Subaru models always outperform Ford vehicles when it comes to safety.

Winner: Subaru

Ford vs. Subaru Reliability: Gas Mileage

Ford offers a range of vehicles with varying gas mileage. However, while Ford prioritizes engine performance, Subaru gets more fuel efficiency.

On an overall scale, gas mileage is relative for both brands. You will find Subaru cars that deliver better fuel efficiency than Ford cars, and you will also find Ford cars that do the same. However, comparing their models according to their different categories, we find Subaru performing better.

One of the few areas in which Ford offers better gas mileage than Subaru is in its truck category. To give you a better view, let's compare popular Ford and Subaru models.

The 2021 Subaru Outback returns better gas mileage than Ford EcoSport, leading with 26 mpg and 33 mpg for city and highway driving, compared to Ford which gets 27/29 mpg.

Although Ford Escape beats the Outback with better gas mileage, Subaru Forester is better than the Ford edge, and also Ford Bronco. The Ford Fusion Hybrid, for example, has an EPA-estimated gas mileage of 43 mpg city and 41 mpg highway.

On the other hand, the Subaru Legacy gets an EPA-estimated gas mileage of 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. There are no arguments that Ford integrates fuel-saving technologies into its vehicles, but the efficiency of Subaru vehicles is a case that every driver will love to study.

Subaru integrates the use of a symmetrical AWD system, boxer engines, Lineartronic CVT, and StraDrive technology. This is without neglecting the aerodynamic design of Subaru.

Winner: Subaru

Head-to-Head Model Comparisons

Subaru Forrester vs. Ford Escape

Annual Repair Cost:

  • Subaru Forrester: $639
  • Ford Escape: $600

Reliability Rating:

  • Subaru Forrester: 3.5/5
  • Ford Escape: 4/5

Winner: Ford Escape

Subaru Crosstrek vs. Ford EcoSport

Annual Repair Cost:

  • Subaru Crosstrek: $492
  • Ford EcoSport: $448

Reliability Rating:

  • Subaru Crosstrek: 4.5/5
  • Ford EcoSport: 5.8/10

Winner: Subaru Crosstrek


Ford and Subaru are both reliable brands with amazing cars in their lineup. They offer different designs, engines, performance, and safety features to suit various preferences and needs.

The differences between Subaru and Ford vehicles range from their engineering principles to the safety measures employed in both cars. You must understand that gas mileage and engine strength are different in all models of both brands, so you must study your preferred model before purchasing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is more reliable Ford or Subaru?

Subaru is generally considered more reliable than Ford.

Is Subaru considered a reliable car?

Yes, Subaru is generally considered a reliable car, though there are far more reliable vehicles on the road.

Which is expensive Subaru or Ford?

Subaru is generally a bit more expensive than Ford.

Are Subarus just as reliable as Toyotas?

No, Subarus are not as reliable as Toyotas.