Subaru Reliability 101: Comprehensive Guide

Is Subaru Reliable

At some point, we’ve heard many stories about Subaru’s reliability myth. Subaru ranks in some good records for its solid designs, durable frames, accurate steering, excellent brakes, and impressive AWD system.

The ergonomics feel just right, the seat designs, response, and handling. There are many signals to ask if Subarus are reliable or if the honeycombs will wear off with time.

Subaru is a fairly reliable car. Subaru’s reliability ranges from their popular rock-solid boxer engines and the AWD system that offers next-level traction. These cars are built like steel, so sturdy that you have the belief that they can handle everything.

Subaru boasts a dynamic control that keeps you ahead of the terrain and impressive power shift technology that gives you the grip and ability to maneuver all conditions. However, these cars are lacking in certain areas. You are assured of safe transportation, but the power delivery is not that high in some models.

Let’s walk you through all you need to know about Subaru’s reliability.

Is Subaru Reliable?

Purchasing a Subaru car can be a hard decision. These cars are not as popular as Toyota, Kia, or Honda. You’ll need a high level of trust to believe in them.

The good news is that Subarus are not bad. They are fairly reliable cars. They have a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranked 14th out of 32 car brands.

On other reliability survey reports, Subaru is ranked eighth out of 26 car brands, with an average reliability score of 57. This is not a bad score.

Subaru has some models that soar as high as 78 and 77 reliability scores. Models like the Crosstrek and Forester. The Subaru Outback is not a bad option.

You might consider staying away from the Subaru ascent. They are not so reliable.

On a broad scale, Subaru takes its reliability to another level with its boxer engines. These engines have a long history of strength, power, and adaptability. Dating back to the 90s’, Subaru was one of the few car manufacturers that produced highly dependable and over-engineered cars.

These days, a few factors are haunting Subaru’s reliability ratings. In 2019, Subaru recalled nearly 450,000 cars in the United States due to engine computer flaws. Subaru has battled with common problems affecting the performance of some of its models.

Subaru also has an annual repair and maintenance cost of $617, which is above average, with an average of 0.3 visits to the mechanic shop and a 13% probability of major repairs.  However, as a Subaru user, you have the benefits of high safety ratings and fuel economy.

Why Subarus are Considered Reliable

Here are five major reasons why Subaru cars are reliable

1. Safety and Technology

Subarus are one of the safest cars you’ll ever drive. Us News and World Report referred to Subaru as one of the top 10 safest car brands. Subarus are one of the few car brands that earned IIHS high safety ratings in different categories.

Their versatility covers producing safe cars in different forms and types. Subaru has five IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and four Top Safety Pick ratings. The Subaru’s safety ratings cut across small cars, midsize cars, small SUVs, and Midsize SUVs.

The amazing safety and user protection from Subarus are because of their heavy investment in safety technologies. Subaru adopts different safety features like the anti-lock brake system, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision braking system.

Subaru takes its safety technology to the next level with the introduction of the eyesight driver assist technology. This feels like having an extra set of eyes on the road and extra pairs of legs on your brakes for additional safety.

Subaru Eyesight driver assists technology includes Lane Keep Assist and Pre-Collision Throttle Management.

2. Engine and Performance

Subaru uses its amazing boxer engines in all of its cars. As strange as it may sound, Subaru boxer engines are considered more reliable, durable, and powerful than “Inline or V” engine configurations.

The use of boxer engines provides smooth acceleration, a lowered center of gravity, and reduced damage in the event of an impact or collision.

These engines are built in a horizontal plane that retains oil in the cylinder, an added advantage for lubrication that reduces wear and tear in cold situations.

These engines adopt a low profile, much lower than what is seen on most car brands. This gives the Subaru cars improved handling and reduces the rolling effect during maneuvers.

The adoption of an AWD system gives Subaru cars an edge above most 4WD cars. They have impressive vehicle dynamic control, great traction, and enough grip and power to withstand the worst conditions. These cars look sporty, but they offer great off-road performance.

Subaru cars are not lacking in terms of great performance. However, not all Subaru models are fast. Some models, like the Subaru WRX STI, can reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

3. Durability

Subaru cars have an impressive level of durability. These cars are built so sturdily that they can handle anything you throw at them.

The durability of Subarus spreads from its engine strength and build quality. They are one of the extremely long-lived cars in existence. You should expect your Subaru car to reach 300,000 miles with proper maintenance.

4. Impressive Handling, Traction, and Control

Subaru is the best car to handle winter weather and snow conditions. The AWD system enabled on these cars gives them an unimaginable level of traction, handling, and control.

The integration of a perfect body balance, lower center of gravity, combined grip, and control from the symmetrical AWD system makes Subaru a great choice for dirt tracks or even wet grounds.

You also have the Lineartronic CVT to achieve smooth rides, with support from the Subaru Intelligent Drive to decide the best driving mode for your situation.

5. Gas Mileage

Subaru delivers impressive gas mileage across its different models. You are assured of fuel-efficient systems with the 2022 Subaru Crosstek, Forester, Impreza Outback, and BRZ.

The truth is, due to Subaru engine performance, you are assured of good gas mileage, no matter the model you choose.

Subaru Reliability: Pros

  • Traction
  • Off-road performance
  • Versatile
  • Affordable
  • Sturdy and rugged
  • Extremely safe
  • Ability to handle harsh elements and extreme driving conditions

Subaru Reliability: Cons

  • Cost of maintenance
  • Zero hauling and trailering ability

Common problems with Subarus

Every car model has its setbacks. No matter how good Subarus are, some models are faced with common problems that you should be aware of.

  • Electrical fails
  • Acceleration fluctuations
  • Fuel pump issues
  • Head gasket issues


Although they are not so popular, Subaru has a lot of reliable cars. The traction that their all-wheel drive system offers, the next-level technology, the unique boxer engines, and smooth rides are features you should consider.

There are few recalls in the brand, with some models outperforming others. Whatever your decisions, you are assured of fewer worries and headaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Subarus expensive to maintain?

Yes. Subarus are expensive to maintain. They are more expensive to maintain than other non-luxury cars as they are manufactured with higher-quality parts. The average annual cost of maintaining a Subaru is $617.

What is the average lifespan of a Subaru?

The average lifespan of a Subaru is 13 to 17 years and 150,000 to 200,000 in mileage. With proper care, maintenance, and good driving conditions, your Subaru can last for a very long time, running up to 300,000 miles, with few major repairs.