Subaru vs. Toyota Guide: Which One Is More Reliable?

Subaru vs Toyota Reliability

Subarus are among the most reliable cars on the market. But is Subaru more reliable than Toyota? Our experts did the research.

Sadly, no matter how much we love Subarus, the truth is that Toyota is more reliable than Subaru.

This doesn’t mean that Subaru cars are substandard. Subaru has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0, which is slightly below Toyota’s 4.0’s reliability rating. One of the major differences between Subaru’s and Toyota's reliability is Subaru’s high cost of repair and maintenance.

Here is a detailed comparison of Subaru and Toyota's reliability, explaining why Toyota outperforms Subaru.

Subaru vs. Toyota Reliability: Detailed Comparison

Majorly AWD drive systems and Boxer engines
Diverse models - AWD, 4WD, FWD, 2WD – Versatility to match the long-term success and users’ comfort.
Gas mileage
Subaru cars last up to 200,000 miles with an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years of extensive use.
Toyota cars last up to 150,000 to 200,000 miles, stretching to 300,000 miles with fewer major repairs. An average lifespan of 13 to 17 years of extensive use.
Repair and maintenance cost
More reliable

Which Is More Reliable?

Toyota is more reliable than Subaru. Toyota edges above Subaru in producing cars that are great for long-term use.

Toyota has a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking 8th out of 32 car brands, with an average annual repair and maintenance cost of $441.

This impressive score is better than Subaru’s 3.5 out of 5.0 reliability rating, ranking 14th out of 32 car brands, with an average annual repair and maintenance cost of $617.

Both car brands average a 0.3 chance of needing mechanic shop visits. However, Subaru's probability of severe damage is 13%, slightly higher than Toyota's 12%.

The reliability metrics for Toyota and Subaru differ across the different features that they share. Toyota offers a more reliable engine than Subaru, durable frames, impressive longevity, better gas mileage, and safety ratings. However, there are areas that Subaru tends to do better.

Subaru excels with its AWD design, while Toyota's strength lies in its proven hybrid system. Subaru excels in off-road driving and snow conditions. Its AWD system powers all wheels, enhancing traction, stability, and acceleration, which helps handle tough terrains and slippery surfaces.

Choosing between Toyota and Subaru for reliability depends on your specific driving needs and conditions.

Choose Subaru if you need a solid car that can handle snow and winter rides. But if you need a car that handles all seasons and has low maintenance and longevity, go for Toyota.


While Subaru and Toyota designs differ across models, Toyota's reliability stands out due to its wider range of options.

All Subaru cars except the Subaru BRZ model use the standard AWD system. Subaru's AWD system provides impressive traction, yet the brand's limitation to this single-drive system in all its cars is a disadvantage.

Subaru's design enhances stability, efficiency, and quick response in slippery conditions, reducing the risk of hydroplaning.

However, Toyota caters to a broader range of needs by offering models with AWD, 4WD, FWD, and 2WD systems, allowing drivers to select the model that best suits their requirements.

Winner: Toyota


Subaru and Toyota both offer advanced technology packages, yet Toyota's package includes a broader range of features. The Subaru technology package features an impressive safety and security system, including vehicle diagnostic alerts and stolen vehicle recovery.

Subaru is doing a great job with its eyesight driver assist technology. This eyesight driver assist technology has earned Subaru the highest safety ratings from IIHS for front crash prevention.

Subaru's use of dual-color cameras and intelligent systems provides enhanced awareness and safety, giving it a technological edge over Toyota.

However, Toyota is not left behind in these updates. Toyota's technology package, Toyota Safety Sense, offers a range of safety features comparable to Subaru's.

This includes:

  • Pre-collision system
  • Pedestrian detection system
  • Dynamic radar cruise control
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Lane departure alert
  • Emergency brake assist
  • Automatic high beams
  • Lane tracing assistant
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

Both car models employ similar technology strategies for accident mitigation and enhanced security.

Winner: Tie


Toyota and Subaru have great safety features and high safety ratings, but Toyota has higher safety ratings than Subaru. Out of 12 Toyota cars earning IIHS safety ratings, eight received the top safety pick rating, surpassing Subaru in this regard.

Toyota, valuing versatility, offers high safety ratings across all categories, including minivans and large cars, where Subaru lacks offerings.

Winner: Toyota

Gas Mileage

The gas mileage of Subaru and Toyota cars varies across different models. However, when comparing the base fuel economy ratings, Toyota cars generally outperform Subaru. The Toyota Corolla achieves better gas mileage than the Subaru Impreza."

"This is also seen in Toyota Rav4 and Subaru Forester. However, some Subaru models, such as the Legacy, Crosstrek, and Forester, do offer impressive fuel economy.

Winner: Toyota


Toyotas last longer than Subaru. While Subaru performs better than Toyota in snow, Toyota cars and their engines generally have a longer lifespan.

Subaru cars last up to 200,000 miles with an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years of extensive use. However, the longevity of Subaru cars heavily relies on maintenance habits, and not all may reach this mileage.

Toyota cars can last from 150,000 to 200,000 miles and even up to 300,000 miles with fewer major repairs. Their average lifespan is 13 to 17 years with extensive use.

A Toyota car can easily last up to 250,000 miles. This longer lifespan is partly due to Toyota's lower long-term maintenance costs compared to Subaru.

Winner: Toyota

Repair and Maintenance Cost

It is costlier to maintain a Subaru than a Toyota. Subaru has an average annual repair cost of $617, while Toyota has an average repair cost of $441.

You will spend more owning and maintaining a Subaru than you will do with a Toyota.

Winner: Toyota


Subaru is unique among car brands for exclusively using Boxer engines in all its vehicles. Subaru's Boxer engines provide its cars with exceptional balance and stability. This results in superb control due to the lower center of gravity.

However, the Boxer engine has drawbacks like high maintenance costs and larger size, leading to Toyota engines generally lasting longer than Subaru's.

Winner: Toyota

Final Verdict: Toyota

Toyota won in 6 of the 7 ranking categories we selected.

We've shown Toyota's reliability over Subaru's, but this doesn't imply Subaru cars are unreliable. Your choice should be based on your specific needs and budget.

Toyota and Subaru have amazing resale value, safety, and technology systems. The costs vary across different models of these brands. Choose an AWD car from Subaru for superior traction, or opt for a Toyota for its fuel efficiency and longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which lasts longer, Subaru or Toyota?

Toyota lasts longer than Subaru. The average lifespan of a Toyota is between 13 and 17 years, while some even last as long as 25 years and 150,000 to 200,000 on mileage. Subaru cars last up to 200,000 miles and 10 to 13 years if maintained properly.

Are Subarus more expensive to repair than Toyota?

Yes. Subarus are more expensive to repair than Toyotas. The cost of repairing a Subaru is $617, while that of a Toyota is $441. This is costlier than what it takes to repair a Toyota.