Nissan vs. Subaru: Reliability Comparison Guide

Nissan vs Subaru Reliability

Diving into the Nissan vs. Subaru reliability debate feels like unraveling a mystery without help.

We get it. We’ve been there. Choosing between these trusted Japanese brands is tough.

Picture our expert editors as your go-to car guy on the car-buying journey, eager to explore the pros and cons without the jargon, just straight-talk about which car might suit your life better. We’ll let you know from the start that Subaru is our pick for reliability.

But whether you’re considering Nissan's rich heritage or Subaru's renowned durability and safety, let's sift through the details together and find your reliable ride.

Nissan vs Subaru Reliability: Detailed Comparison

Evenly matched
Evenly matched
Repairs and maintenance cost
No clear winner
No clear winner
More durable
Gas mileage

Nissan Pros and Cons


  • Affordable Pricing: Competitive pricing makes Nissan a budget-friendly option.
  • Variety of Options: Offers a wide range of models to choose from.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Known for good fuel economy in models like the Kicks.


  • Engine Performance: Some models have underpowered engines.
  • Waiting Period: Popular models like the Magnite may have long waiting times.
  • Limited High-End Features: Features like wireless charging are only available in higher trims or packages.

Subaru Pros and Cons


  • Comprehensive Warranty: Offers extensive coverage, including a unique wear item warranty
  • Safety: High safety ratings across the board.
  • Resale Value: Vehicles tend to hold their value well.


  • Cost of Ownership: Potentially higher maintenance costs due to advanced features.
  • Performance: Base models might lack exciting performance.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Some all-wheel-drive models may offer lower fuel economy.

Depreciation Comparison for Nissan and Subaru Models

Nissan Model
Resale Value (5 Years)
Subaru Model
Resale Value (5 Years)
Nissan Z
Subaru BRZ
Nissan Altima
Subaru Legacy
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Outback

Which Is the Best Car: Nissan or Subaru?

Due to their dependability, strength, and safety, Japanese automakers Nissan and Subaru are highly regarded in the vehicle world.

However, determining which brand is the best car requires careful analysis of various factors. We must examine their features, reliability ratings, safety records, and customer feedback.

Nissan cars are known for their impressive fuel efficiency, innovative technology, and spacious interiors.

The brand's ProPILOT Assist system, which uses cameras and sensors to help drivers navigate traffic and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, earned high praise from reviewers.

Symmetrical all-wheel-drive technology from Subaru grants drivers exceptional handling and grip while driving on different types of roads. Subaru's EyeSight suite offers numerous advanced safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and pre-collision braking.

In terms of reliability, Subaru has a slight edge over Nissan. According to Consumer Reports, Subaru ranks fourth in overall reliability. Nissan ranks lower on the same list. This is due to several recalls and quality issues that affected Nissan's reputation in recent years.

In contrast, Subaru consistently scored high in reliability surveys and received several accolades for its durability and longevity.

Both Nissan and Subaru have been credited with a remarkable safety record by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Each has multiple models garnering top safety ratings, attesting to their impressive crash-test results and complete safety features.

However, Subaru's EyeSight system, which comes standard on most models, gives it an advantage in this area.

Customer feedback plays a crucial role in determining the best car. Customers have mixed opinions about Nissan. Some commend its economical features, and others lament the trustworthiness issues and inadequate customer care. By comparison, Subaru has a strong following of devoted customers who extol its dependability, safety, and control.

While both Nissan and Subaru offer a range of quality vehicles, Subaru emerges as the best car due to its exceptional reliability, advanced safety features, and loyal customer base.

Another factor to consider is warranty. While both Nissan and Subaru have similar new vehicle and powertrain warranties, Subaru has better additional coverage. Below, we’ve compiled warranty information for both brands to make it easier to digest.

Warranty Type
Nissan Coverage
Subaru Coverage
New Vehicle Limited
3 years/36,000 miles
3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Limited
5 years/60,000 miles
5 years/60,000 miles
Wear Item Limited
Not specifically mentioned
3 years/36,000 miles (covers brake pads, wiper blades, etc.)
Seat Belt Lifetime
Not specifically mentioned
Rust Perforation
Not specifically mentioned
5 years/unlimited miles
Hybrid System
Not specifically mentioned
8 years/100,000 miles

Now, that we’ve look at the comparison table, let’s break down what everything means.

Nissan provides a basic 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty along with a 5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. Additional warranty options, including extended warranties, are available, offering various levels of protection beyond the standard warranties​​.

Subaru also offers a 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Additional coverage includes a wear item limited warranty for 3 years/36,000 miles, a seat belt lifetime warranty, a rust perforation warranty for 5 years/unlimited miles, and a hybrid system warranty for 8 years/100,000 miles. This comprehensive coverage reflects Subaru's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction​​.

Both manufacturers provide solid warranty coverage, but Subaru's inclusion of wear items and hybrid systems in its warranty package may offer added value for some drivers, especially those concerned with long-term maintenance costs and hybrid vehicle performance.

However, individual preferences and needs may vary. So you must conduct thorough research and test drive both brands before making a final decision.

Nissan vs. Subaru: Design

Nissan and Subaru are known for their innovative designs and engineering. Both brands carved out a unique identity in the industry. Nissan is known for their sleek and modern styling and Subaru for their rugged and sporty appeal.

Sharp lines, aerodynamic curves, and bold accents characterize Nissan's design language. The brand's signature V-motion grille, boomerang-shaped headlights, and floating roofline are some design features that distinguish Nissan cars from their competitors.

Nissan also introduced several concept cars, including the BladeGlider and IMx, which showcase the brand's futuristic electric mobility vision.

Subaru, on the other hand, has a more rugged and athletic design language. Subaru vehicles display a distinct muscular look. Many of its models feature a hexagonal grille, hawk-eye headlights, flared fenders, and the brand's symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.

Subaru has also partnered with top-tier tuners, like STI, to produce sports models like the WRX and BRZ. Nissan and Subaru both took steps to promote sustainability and energy efficiency.

The most sought-after is the Nissan Leaf, loved for its streamlined look and fuel economy, and Subaru's Crosstrek Hybrid, boasting a rugged exterior and efficient hybrid engine.

Nissan's sleek and modern styling and Subaru's rugged and sporty appeal have helped both brands stand out in the competitive automotive industry.

The introduction of electric and hybrid models also allows both brands to showcase their innovative design and engineering capabilities.

Winner: Both

Nissan vs. Subaru: Repairs and Maintenance Costs

We must assess the frequency of repairs, cost of substitution pieces, and service center accessibility to determine which brand has lower repair and upkeep costs.

The average yearly upkeep for a Nissan is about $500, whereas for a Subaru, it is a bit higher at $550.

Nevertheless, these expenses depend on the model and age of the vehicle.

In terms of repairs, both brands have their strengths and weaknesses. Recently, Nissan has had some quality issues, with several recalls and technical service bulletins issued for various models. Fortunately, Nissan's widespread service centers and dealers provide convenient and fast repairs for anything from minuscule faults to main malfunctions like transmission flaws.

In contrast, Subaru's models are usually dependable and necessitate only minor repairs. However, if any work is needed, the cost of replacement components can be quite high due to the unique engineering and design of the vehicles.

Nissan Model
10-Year Maintenance Cost
Subaru Model
10-Year Maintenance Cost
Nissan Z
Subaru BRZ
Nissan Altima
Subaru Legacy
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Outback

*The Nissan Z cost is based on the 350Z, a comparable model, because specific 10-year data for the Nissan Z is not available.
Winner: Evenly matched

Nissan vs. Subaru: Durability

When buying a car, evaluate its longevity to determine its resilience against deterioration. As asserted earlier, Nissan and Subaru are known for their reliability and performance. Subaru has a reputation for building durable and long-lasting cars.

Additionally, Subaru's engines are known for their durability. Many models have a reputation for reaching high mileage without any significant issues.

Subaru uses durable materials, like reinforced steel and aluminum in their vehicles to guarantee protection and durability.

On the flip side, Nissan has encountered specific quality issues recently. They’ve had several recalls and technical service bulletins for divergent models.

Nevertheless, Nissan has undertaken measures to address these obstacles. Nissan augmented the use of sturdy steel and aluminum in their vehicles, enhancing their strength and resisting impacts and erosion.

Moreover, Nissan also provides innovative safety features. For example, lane departure and forward collision warnings help drivers avoid incidents and prolong the car's lifespan.

In terms of overall durability, Subaru has a slight advantage over Nissan. Subaru's reliability, superior materials, and top-notch engineering give it an edge. Still, Nissan, has taken action to raise the longevity of its vehicles and heightened its safety elements, making it a strong contender.

Winner: Subaru

Nissan vs. Subaru: Engine

The engine is the core component of a car. We must consider various aspects, such as power, efficiency, and reliability when comparing different car brands.

Nissan boasts powerful and efficient engines that deliver an exhilarating driving experience.

The brand's VQ engine series offers a smooth and responsive performance in models like the Nissan Maxima and Nissan Altima. Nissan engines use advanced technologies for fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, such as variable valve timing and direct injection. Sadly, certain Nissan models have experienced premature wear and tear and oil consumption issues.

Subaru, in contrast, is renowned for its boxer engine design. The design gives it a strong center of gravity and great equilibrium. It allows for efficient use of space and provides better handling and stability.

Additionally, Subaru offers various engine options, including a turbocharged version for enhanced performance.

It is hard to determine a clear winner when comparing the engines of Nissan and Subaru. Both brands offer unique advantages and disadvantages.

Nissan's engines provide a rich and efficient driving experience, while Subaru's engines offer a distinctive design and exceptional reliability. However, when considering the overall quality of the engines, Subaru has the edge over Nissan.

Winner: Subaru

Nissan vs. Subaru: Gas Mileage

Nissan boosted their gas-powered motors' effectiveness with direct injection, adjustable valve timing, and CVTs. Notably, the Altima, Sentra, and Versa models showcase impressive gas mileage, reaching up to 40 mpg on highways. Unlike those, the larger Armada and Titan models carry lower ratings, achieving up to 20 mpg.

On the other hand, all car models of Subaru automobiles are widely acclaimed for their excellent fuel efficiency. The brand's engineering innovations, such as its BOXER engine design and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, help enhance fuel efficiency.

Subaru's Impreza, Legacy, and Crosstrek models are particularly fuel-efficient. Some models achieve up to 35 mpg on the highway.

Subaru's hybrid models offer even higher fuel efficiency ratings, with some achieving up to 90 mpg.

When it comes to gas mileage, Subaru has a slight edge over Nissan. While Nissan has significantly improved fuel economy, Subaru's overall range of models offers better fuel efficiency ratings.

Winner: Subaru

Nissan vs. Subaru: Technology

Nissan infuses its cars with cutting-edge safety features such as intelligent cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot alert systems.

Nissan's ProPilot Assist technology also offers semi-autonomous driving capabilities. Subaru dedicates itself to integrating technology to augment the driving experience. Their EyeSight technology provides a variety of advanced protective components such as pre-crash stopping, flexible cruise control, and departure lane alert.

Additionally, their Starlink infotainment platform offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and multiple other options.

Both brands provide impressive technology features, but Subaru's EyeSight technology and Starlink infotainment system give it a slight edge over Nissan.

Winner: Subaru

Nissan vs. Subaru: Safety

Both Nissan and Subaru made impressive advancements in safety technology. But Subaru's EyeSight technology and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system give it a slight edge over Nissan.

Subaru implements advanced safety features while prioritizing all-wheel drive capabilities, making it a top contender in the safety category.

Winner: Subaru

Final Verdict

The Subaru comes out tops in five out of seven categories for reliability. Without a doubt, the Subaru is more reliable than the Nissan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Nissan cars more reliable than Subaru cars?

No, they’re not. While Nissan cars are reliable, Subaru is the clear winner for reliability.

How often do Nissan and Subaru cars require repairs?

Different variables affect the rate of repairs for both manufacturers. The model, age, and vehicle upkeep all play a role in repair frequency.

Nevertheless, Nissan and Subaru have a history of producing cars that typically need fewer repairs than other labels.