You may be considering a car switch – either from being car-free or from a different make, and have reached the: is Subaru a good car, junction! This article sets out to help you make that informed decision on which way to turn!
Is Subaru a good car? Yes, it is! However, there are many you-dependent factors that may determine whether or not you agree with me: What’s your budget? Do you want a sedan, SUV, truck or van? Do you prioritize luxury, speed or an upscale interior? What of maintenance, power, safety or reliability? Subaru has a wide range of models well able to meet your priorities. Let us now consider some of their specifications, product features and competitive comparisons.
The Subaru Family
Subaru’s model line includes cars, wagons and SUVs. Wagons are popular with outdoorsy families, while performance enthusiasts love the racy WRX and BRZ small cars. Analyzing all the Subaru models that have ever hit the market would be quite tedious. We will therefore limit our discussion to those models currently being manufactured. These at a glance include:
- Subaru Ascent
- Subaru Outback
- Subaru Forester
- Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
- Subaru XV Crosstrek
- Subaru Legacy
- Subaru STI/WRX – Outranked by competitors in many areas
- Subaru Impreza
- Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S (developed through a Subaru-Toyota partnership)
All Subaru models have a standard all-wheel drive, making them suited for all-weather both on and off road driving. They have superb infotainment features like automatic climate control, push button start and proximity key entry. A touchscreen system of Bluetooth, HD and satellite radios, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto plus USB ports completes this unit. Standard safety features include the Eyesight suite technology – collision warning, lane keep assist, etc. Other features are cameras, blind spot monitoring, automatic lights and braking. Subaru’s main competitors are Honda, Toyota and Mazda.
So, how do the different Subaru models compare?
|Model||Ranking||Available models||Specifications||Product features||Common Complaints|
|Ascent||#10 in Midsize SUVs
Overall score 8.0/10
2 model years from 2019
Good fit for large families, and towing
|21 – 27 mpg fuel ; 260 horsepower
|User friendly, proper grip on slick roads, myriad safety features, high test crash scores, well-constructed cabin||Loose driveshaft support bolts vehicle recall.|
|Forester||#4 in Compact SUVs
Overall score 8.3
5 generations 2020-2019, 2014 -2018, 2009 – 2013,
2003 – 2008,
1998 – 2002
Good fit for small families, and towing
|26 – 33 mpg fuel;
|Spacious cabin, great fuel economy, sophisticated safety system, easy to use technology, comfortable ride||366,000 vehicle recall over failed passenger airbag sensors.|
|Crosstrek Hybrid||#6 in Hybrid and Electric SUVs
Overall score 7.6
3 model years – 2020,2019,2016
Good fit for commuters
|Upscale interior, good off road abilities and safety features.||The XV Crosstrek Hybrid 2014 model has lots of complaints on extreme tire wear|
|Impreza||#10 in Compact cars
Overall Score 7.6
2017 – 2020, 2012 – 2016, 2008 – 2011,
2001 – 2011
1993 – 2001
Good fit for commuters
|22-36 mpg fuel
|Comfortable and spacious interior||Over 228,000 2017-2019 models recalled over faulty PVC valves (oil flow control devices)|
|Legacy||#6 in midsize cars
Overall score 7.9
29 model years from 1992
Good fit for small families, commuters
|24 – 35 mpg fuel
182 – 260 horsepower
|Upscale cabin with lots of space and cutting-edge technology||Missing brake pedal bolt vehicle recall|
|Outback||# 2 in wagons
Overall score 8.2
2015 – 2019
2010 – 2014
2005 – 2009
2000 – 2004
Good fit for small families and towing
|23 – 33 mpg fuel
182 – 260 horsepower
|Classy cabin with lots of passenger and luggage space.
Popular among wagons.
|Key refusing to come out after switch-off.
Missing brake pedal bolt recall
|BRZ||#5 in sports cars
Overall score 7.5
8 model years from 2-10
Good fit for sports
|20 – 33 mpg fuel
200 – 205 horsepower
|Spots car with minimal interior fluff||Noisy transmission in the 2013 model|
This model is amongst the best midsize SUVs because it is easy to handle, has a strong slick road grip and many other safety features. It’s a goldmine for busy households or large groups with its three-row seating, 19 cup holders and 4-6 USB ports. Besides, climate controls are also available on the second row!
- Large cargo area
- A long list of standard safety features
- Airy, quiet and comfortable cabin
- Easy to handle
- Balanced ride
- (2020 model) Reminder to check rear-seat before leaving the car.
- Some rivals have more stretching room for the third-row seats occupants.
- Some competitors have better performance – corner better and reach highway acceleration speeds faster
The Subaru Forester ranks amongst the top compact SUVs due to its style and comfort. It is a very popular brand with most Subaru lovers.
It is a well-rounded vehicle that comfortably carries a family of 4 of 5, together with their luggage, without breaking a sweat! In addition to the quiet comfortable ride, the car comes with child seat anchors, lots of safety features and wide opening rear doors. Its excellent ground clearance and all-wheel drive makes it tackle any terrain. In addition, it has adequate engine power for its class, even though the acceleration is a bit slow.
- Spacious seating and cargo area
- Wonderful fuel economy
- Smooth, quiet ride
- (2020 model) Rear-sit check reminder and lane centering system
- Slow acceleration
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
Being Subaru’s first plug-in vehicle, it is very economical on fuel. The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid model’s long list of safety features gives it a good off-road capability. It has a superb interior, but limited room for cargo and unimpressive back seat room.
- Long list of safety features
- Fuel efficient
- Superb interior
- Highly priced
- Relatively small cargo area
This is a good compact car with spacious, comfortable and user friendly features and controls. The engine however seems underpowered for a car this heavy. This gives it a lowered performance. Being the only all-wheel drive compact car, it is invaluable on wet roads.
- Impressive fuel economy
- Spacious seats
- (2020 model) models with CVT have EyeSight safety system.
- Underpowered Engine
- Inferior cabin materials
- Low reliability rating
The Subaru Legacy’s twin combination of the standard all-wheel drive and a smooth ride is rare in midsize cars. The upscale interior with two rowed spacious seats, the many driver assisted features and the easy to use touchscreen infotainment system, completes the car’s attractive features.
Unfortunately, its performance is quite low, and the Legacy’s trunk is the smallest in the class. Since competitors have equally upscale interiors, those with better handling and/or more energetic powertrain may carry the day where performance is a priority.
- Upscale, attractive interior
- Lots of passenger space
- Cutting-edge technology
- Smooth ride
- (2020 model) Turbo engine
- Below average luggage space
- Some rivals have more potent powertrains
- Some competitors have superior handling
In the 2020 model, Subaru has enhanced all the popular good qualities resulting in a sophisticated cabin with high-end and ample seating and cargo room. The turbo engine gives the model more power. This makes the car convenient both on and off road.
- Classy interior
- Turbocharged engine (optional)
- Spacious seating and cargo areas
- Great off-road capability
- Minor problems with infotainment
- Average standard engine on older models
The Subaru BRZ
Though this sports car may be good for racing, its interior and technology does not meet rivals’ standards.
- Sharp handling
- Too stiff for daily use
- Tight rear seats
What to look for in a Good Car
Before settling on a car to buy, the things you need to research on and compare include:
Of course the starting point on car ownership is whether the sticker price falls within your budget. Subarus cost way less than other luxury models, and yet offer almost the same level of luxury.
Reliability and Dependability
You need a car that you can count on just getting in and zooming off. A car’s reliability is determined by its overall cost of repair, and frequency of faults. Subaru has a high reliability index, compared to competitors like Toyota. This has been attributed to it having lesser models than many brands. It’s intricate and many in-car features also affects it’s index.
Subaru is one of the most durable cars. When well maintained, it can last take you to 300,000 miles and beyond, when most cars give out in their 100000s
This is one of the most critical factors that make or break your car ownership experience. It has been said that one may end up ‘buying’ another car in maintenance costs. Subaru is listed in the lower half of the 30 most expensive brands to maintain. However, some models are cheaper to maintain than others. In fact, the Subaru Impreza is in the least of 20 cars that cost the least to maintain.
Subaru’s high maintenance cost is attributed to there being fewer of them in the market, and their high-end features. When so many systems run at the same time, something is highly likely to go wrong.
Some cars just sip at gas, while others guzzle away. Even within a brand, some models are more economical that others. The Subaru Forester and Crosstek are on the list of 10 most fuel-efficient cars. The Crosstrek Hybrid is electric and only uses minimal gas. However, it is quite highly priced.
What comes with a car and how this meets your priority is important to consider. It helps you compare the value of a car, not just in terms of sticker price. A practical no frills car will cost less than one acing latest technology.
Subaru boasts of safety and infotainment features to die for, an AWD powertrain to take you on any terrain in any weather, and a very durable ride.
Finally, reading customer reviews of different car model owner’s experiences gives you a pointer on what to expect. Avoid basing your decision on the brand’s marketing, or glowing reviews (which could be paid).
Warranties and after-sale benefits
Is Subaru a good car? No doubt you now see why this question elicits a multifaceted answer depending on one’s priorities. All Subaru models (plus competitors too!) have their strengths and weaknesses. All in all, the Forester and the Outback remain very popular models, especially for outdoorsy individuals. The ball, as they say, is in your court!