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Ranking 35 Subaru Generations by Reliability

Sorting models by their generation gives us a clearer picture of common problems across a group of similar vehicles. From there, we can assign scores to each generation to give you a basic picture of which to consider and those to avoid. The higher the score, the faster you should run away.

Rank Model Gen Years PainRank (?)
35th Outback Gen 6 2015–2018 16.02
34th Forester Gen 4 2014–2018 15.22
33rd Outback Gen 5 2010–2014 14.71
32nd WRX Gen 4 2015–2016 10.99
31st Outback Gen 4 2004–2009 9.0
30th Impreza Gen 3 2008–2011 8.67
29th Forester Gen 3 2009–2013 8.15
28th Impreza Gen 4 2012–2016 7.0
27th Outback Gen 3 2000–2003 6.99
26th Forester Gen 2 2003–2008 6.68
25th Forester Gen 1 1998–2002 6.39
24th XV Crosstrek Gen 1 2013–2015 5.98
23rd Impreza Gen 2 2001–2007 5.71
22nd B9 Tribeca Gen 1 2006–2007 4.79
21st Legacy Gen 4 2005–2009 4.7
20th Legacy Gen 6 2015–2018 4.46
19th Legacy Gen 5 2010–2014 3.94
18th Outback Gen 2 1995–1999 3.02
17th XV Crosstrek Hybrid Gen 1 2014–2015 2.67
16th Crosstrek Gen 2 2016–2017 1.85
15th Legacy Gen 3 2000–2004 1.74
14th Tribeca Gen 2 2008–2014 1.73
13th Impreza WRX Gen 3 2009–2011 1.26
12th Impreza WRX Gen 4 2012–2014 1.2
11th WRX Gen 5 2017–2018 1.17
10th Legacy Gen 2 1995–1999 0.88
9th WRX STI Gen 4 2015–2016 0.84
8th Baja Gen 1 2003–2006 0.75
7th Legacy Gen 1 1990–1994 0.72
6th Impreza Gen 5 2017–2018 0.67
5th Impreza WRX STI Gen 3 2011–2012 0.65
4th Impreza Gen 1 1993–2000 0.34
3rd Crosstrek Gen 3 2018–2018 0.0
2nd Crosstrek Hybrid Gen 2 2016–2016 0.0
1st BRZ Gen 1 2018–2018 0.0

Answers to the most frequently asked questions

What Are Vehicle Generations?

Generations are groups of model years where the vehicles are continuously produced, use similar engineering, and share features. Generational data is not always cut-and-dry – manufacturers might not always release generation information, some generations might last longer in different countries, and various trim levels and model variants can make the whole thing confusing. We do our best but make no guarantees about our generation data. When in doubt, we stick with data about US models.

Why Are Some Vehicles Missing a 1st / 2nd / 3rd Generation?

You might notice that some of our data starts at generation 5, 6, etc. So what happened to the older generations? One of two things. 1. some models have been around a long time and we don’t have any complaint or NHTSA data about them. 2. some new models share the same platform as existing models, so we typically tie them together. For instance, a new hybrid vehicle might be introduced during the 5th generation of its non-hybrid counterpart. We’ll typically start the hybrid’s generation at 5, unless it’s otherwise noted.

What is PainRank™? Where Does it Come From?

PainRank™ is a CarComplaints.com algorithm that uses complaint data from owners (the average mileage of failures, the cost to make repairs, etc), relative complaints analysis, sales numbers, NHTSA data, & owners’ own vehicle rankings to come up with a number representing how much pain a car inflicts on its owners. The higher the PainRank™ score, the more painful a car is to own (typically).