Which Used Subaru SUV is the Best? (+ 2 To Avoid!)


Which Used Subaru SUV is the Best

Subaru vehicles are well-known for their reliability. This reputation leads many to purchase a used Subaru SUV. But which used Subaru SUV is the best?

The Subaru Outback is one of the best-used vehicles on the market today. Models from the 90s and the early 2000s are the most affordable and still have plenty of life left in them. Additionally, the Outback has more space than other SUVs. After the Outback, used Foresters are the next best option.

You can’t go wrong when purchasing a Subaru. However, you can get more bang for your buck by purchasing certain models instead of others. Here you will learn everything you need to know about buying the right used Subaru.

The Best Used Subaru SUV

Subaru sells four SUV models. These are the Forester, the Outback, the Ascent, and the Crosstrek. The Outback has been in production since 1994 and the Forester since 1995. With more than 20 years to perfect these models, it makes sense why they are so popular among drivers.

While the Subaru Ascent and Crosstrek have attracted consumer attention, they are more recent releases. For this reason, Subaru still needs some time to work out any problems the models might have.

Additionally, it is more difficult to find used Crosstreks or Ascents for sale. These two models are therefore not considered the best used Subaru SUV models.

As for the Forester and Outback, you could purchase any model year without experiencing too many problems. According to Subaru, 96% of the vehicles they sold in the last decade still run today.

As the driver of a green, 1997 Subaru Outback I can confirm that even vehicles sold 25 years ago are still on the road with few problems.

While most Subaru vehicles are reliable, some years show better manufacturing than others. So which is the best?

The Best Used Subaru Forester

According to Car Complaints, the 2008 and 1998 Subaru Forester have the least problems.

After 13 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has only issued one recall for the lower control arm. Additionally, the 2008 Subaru Forester received four 5-star safety ratings.

There are only 43 consumer complaints. The majority of complaints regard the engine and suspension. However, these are not consistent problems with the model.

Similarly, the 1998 Subaru Forester has only had one recall from the NHTSA for the ABS. The NHSTA has collected 112 consumer complaints. The majority of these complaints regard the power train.

Purchasing either of these Foresters will provide you with a reliable (and affordable) SUV.

The Best Used Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is one of the most common vehicles on the road. Why is this? The Outback provides drivers with the utility of an SUV but is closer in size to a sedan. No matter what adventure you plan on taking, an Outback is the vehicle to get you there.

It might be surprising to hear, but the best Outback models are all from the 90s. The two models with the least complaints are from 1995 and 1998.

Unfortunately, the NHSTA does not have a report available for the 1995 Subaru Outback. Luckily, Car Complaints has collected data for this model. The only two complaints are a chattering noise when turning and an engine problem.

The NHSTA has issued one recall for this model year for the Front Coil Spring. They announced the recall in 2001, meaning the problem has likely been resolved in the vehicle you are considering purchasing.

The 1998 Subaru Outback has received 141 complaints recorded to the NHSTA. The majority of these complaints deal with the engine. According to Car Complaints, this problem is not severe and should not concern vehicle owners.

Early into the production of the 1998 Subaru Outback, a recall was announced for the Transmission Shift lever; however, this recall affected less than 20,000 vehicles and should not be cause for concern when purchasing a used one.

The second recall, announced in 2001, regarding the front coil spring affected nearly 200,000 vehicles. Once again, the owner of the vehicle should have taken the vehicle in for this already. If not, the problem would have already occurred and been repaired.

Avoid These Used Subaru SUVs

As mentioned earlier, most Subaru SUVs will be reliable vehicles. However, even Subaru has experienced significant problems among their models. Avoid purchasing used Subaru SUVs with the following issues.

One problem commonly found in Subaru vehicles is excessive oil consumption. Because of this problem, you may need to top off the oil reservoir before your next oil change.

If this problem is left unchecked it could cause issues. According to Cole, a mechanic at Kolar Tire and Auto in Helena, MT, “it will cause premature wear of moving parts, or could run out of oil and seize a motor (the worst case scenario).”

In addition to excessive oil consumption the 2014 Subaru Forester also has significant problems with the suspension and transmission, according to the NHSTA and Car Complaints.

The 2015 Forester was reported to have similar problems in addition to interior accessory difficulties.

These two models are considered the worst used Subaru models. Do not purchase these.

From a similar period, the 2013 and 2015 Subaru Outback are the worst model years. The 2013 model was reported to have transmission issues and electrical problems according to Car Complaints.

The 2015 model had issues with electrical, interior accessories, and exterior accessories. According to Car Complaints, this is the worst year of the Subaru Outback. Avoid purchasing this model year.

When a car breaks down, it can be a stressful–and expensive–experience. Some cars are difficult to repair making them even more troublesome to fix. Luckily, Cole says that repairing a Subaru is not a difficult task.

“They’re really nice to work on actually,” he said.

This means you can rest assured that whatever small problems arise from purchasing your used Subaru, it will not cost an arm and a leg to repair. Stick to a used Forester or an Outback and you are sure to have a reliable vehicle for years to come.

Will Turner

Will has an absolute passion for 4x4s and loves discovering all of the small details about each model. Will joined the Four Wheel Trends team in early 2021 and has been a valuable contributor ever since!

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