Kia vs Subaru Reliability Comparison

Kia vs Subaru Reliability

Reliability is a critical factor to consider when buying a new vehicle. No driver will want to spend bucks on a problematic car that breaks down fast.

Kia and Subaru are popular brands known for good reliability. Both brands produce vehicles that last a long time. But does Kia have good reliability? Are they better than Subaru?

Irrespective of Subaru's impressive build quality, traction, and fuel efficiency, Kia is more reliable than Subaru.

Kia offers higher reliability ratings, better dependability scores, and better warranty coverage.

Here's all you need to know about the Kia vs. Subaru reliability and how to make the best choice for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Kia is more reliable than Subaru overall.
  • Kia's designs are more focused on stylish, practical, and functional aspects. Subaru emphasizes rugged and adventurous looks, and focuses on safety, dynamic performance, and efficiency.
  • Subaru slightly edges out Kia in safety ratings, with more vehicles earning the 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick (+) award.
  • Kia vehicles are generally more affordable to maintain, with lower average annual repair costs.


Kia vs. Subaru Reliability: A Detailed Comparison

Opposite United, Characterful Designs
Adaptation, Rugged, dynamic performance, efficiency
Gas Mileage
Repair and Maintenance Cost
Kia cars last up to 200,000-250,000 miles with an average lifespan of 13-17 years.
Subaru cars can last up to 200,000 years with an estimated 13-17 years lifespan.
High Safety Ratings
Slightly Higher Rating
Engine and Performance

Kia vs. Subaru Reliability: Which Is Better?

Kia is a South Korean car brand, that focuses on building stylish, affordable cars with impressive performance. These vehicles are backed up with the best warranty coverage in the industry with a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Subaru, a Japanese automaker, focuses on producing all-wheel-drive vehicles built to last and be dependable on the road.

With boxer engines, eyesight safety technology, and symmetrical All-wheel-drive (SAWD) systems, Subaru's engineering process guarantees durability, outstanding performance, and high-level traction.

Kia is better than Subaru when it comes to reliability.

According to RepairPal, Kia ranks 3rd out of 32 car brands with a reliability rating of 4.0/5.0. Subaru takes a lower reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 14th out of 32 car brands.


Kia's design philosophy blends opposite elements to create disruptive concepts and contrasts.

This inspires the use of innovation, lighting advancements, and in-car connectivity to create vehicles that users can connect and engage with.

Kia's designs tilt towards achieving stylish, practical, and functional designs, but Subaru aims to produce cars that adopt a rugged and adventurous look.

Subaru's design philosophy prioritizes safety, dynamic performance, and efficiency. You are getting intelligent, functional designs from Subaru cars.

Subaru's high-level reliability is powered by its all-wheel-drive system. The all-wheel-drive system achieves great traction and stability, an ideal choice for driving in snowy and slippery conditions.

Subaru provides a system that distributes power evenly between the front and rear wheels, which helps to prolong the life of the transmission and other drivetrain components. Kia vehicles are mostly front-wheel drive.

The variety of cars available for each brand differs greatly, affecting your options.

Subaru offers Sedans, SUVs, and sports cars. Kia offers sedans, coupes, and SUVs. Electric and hybrid models are available for each brand.

Both brands invest heavily in their manufacturing process, adopting superior levels of quality control and building better cars with durable materials.

Winner: Both

Gas Mileage

Kia and Subaru have advanced fuel-saving technologies and highly efficient cars. Comparing the gas mileage of Kia and Subaru cars, it's a tie for both brands.

Subaru's vehicles are equipped with Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission, AWD systems, and boxer engines. These systems work together to ensure power and fuel conservation.

On the other hand, Kia equips its cars with turbocharged engines and advanced fuel-saving technology, which helps them achieve higher fuel efficiency. To fully understand the gas mileage of both brands, you need to compare their different models.

Kia Seltos returns better gas mileage than Subaru Crosstrek, but you get better gas mileage on Subaru Forester than on Kia Sportage.

To make the right decision, you must study the specific models you wish to buy, from any of the brands.

Winner: Both

Safety and Technology

Both Kia and Subaru employ a wide range of advanced safety features to ensure passenger protection.

With Kia vehicles, you get:

  • forward collision warnings
  • lane departure warnings
  • blind-spot monitoring

Subaru's vehicles come with a suite of safety features, known as EyeSight driver assist technology which includes:

  • adaptive cruise control
  • lane departure warning
  • pre-collision braking
  • and lots more

Neither Kia nor Subaru neglect passenger safety and technology. However, Subaru gets a slightly higher safety rating than Kia.

Eight Subaru vehicles earned the 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick (+) award, while Kia only earned two.

Winner: Subaru

Engine and Performance

The engine and performance of Kia and Subaru depend on the model that you choose. The 2023 Kia Sportage performs better than the 2023 Subaru Forester, but the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek has a better engine and performance than Kia Seltos.

Most Kia and Subaru models have two or three engine options with varying power, speed, and performance. Your choice and needs depend on your budget and needs.

Subaru adopts a unique engineering design, the use of boxer engines. It's known for its durable and reliable boxer engines. These engines are known for their longevity and provide good power and performance.

On the other hand, Kia's engines vary in reliability depending on the model and the engine fitted. You might get a 1.5L four-cylinder engine or a 2.5L turbocharged engine. The power delivery is also different on the three engines.

Although Subaru engines are backed up with an AWD system that improves traction and balance, the level of performance you get from either Subaru or Kia depends on the model and the car's engine.

Winner: Both

Repair and Maintenance Costs

For repair and maintenance costs, Kia and Subaru are considered relatively affordable, but Kia is more affordable.

According to RepairPal, Kia has an average annual repair cost of $474 compared to Subaru, which has $617. The repair costs for both car brands are cheaper than the industry average.

With Subaru, you get a 13% probability of severe damage and a 0.3 chance of visiting the repair shop. Kia only gets 0.2 and 10%, respectively.

Subaru's all-wheel-drive system requires more maintenance to keep them running compared to Kia's front-wheel-drive vehicles. Warranty coverage is higher on Kia, so you have fewer worries about the cost of replacement, repairs, and replacement.

ManufacturerAnnual Repair CostChance of Visiting Repair ShopProbability of Severe Damage
Kia$4740.2 (20%)10%
Subaru$6170.3 (30%)13%

Winner: Kia

Kia vs. Subaru Reliability: Conclusion

Kia and Subaru are great choices for new or used vehicles, depending on your preferences. With Kia, you are assured of better warranty coverage, cheaper repair and maintenance cost, and great standards for durability.

Subaru's AWD system and better safety system make it a great option. Although Kia is better than Subaru regarding reliability, the choice is yours.

You must research, study and analyze the different models from both car brands and decide which matches your needs and budget. Test driving the available cars will help you choose one that matches your profile and preferred driving conditions.

To help your new car search, check out our other reliability comparisons for Kia and Subaru:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Kias more reliable than Subaru?

Both Kia and Subaru are reliable brands, but Kia is slightly more reliable. They rank higher on RepairPal for reliability and lower cost of maintenance. They also have better warranty coverage.

Is Subaru considered a reliable car company?

Yes, Subaru is a reliable car brand that produces long-lasting vehicles.

Does Kia make high-quality cars?

Yes, Kia makes quality, reliable cars. Kia ranks 3rd on RepairPal and also very high in the J.D. Power Dependability survey.

What Kia is the most reliable?

Kia makes several highly reliable car models including the Sportage, Forte, and Carnival.

What is the best Subaru to buy?

Some of the top Subaru vehicles to buy include the Solterra, Legacy, Impereza, Crosstrek, or Ascent.