By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc

The Subaru Crosstrek is a popular midsize SUV known for its versatility and value. The Crosstrek is essentially a raised Impreza hatchback that’s perfect for many different drivers and lifestyles. Can such an inexpensive, jack-of-all-trades car truly be reliable over time? Here’s your complete guide to Subaru Crosstrek reliability.

What Are the Basics of Subaru Crosstrek Reliability?

The Crosstrek appeals to many different buyers. This midsize SUV is small enough to be easy to drive and park, but it’s large enough to have good cargo space. It’s sporty in design but also rugged enough for puddles and dirt roads. The Crosstrek’s low MSRP and solid gas mileage make it a smart pick financially.

Subaru doesn’t spare the bells and whistles from its premium packages, either, adding advanced features such as the EyeSight driver assistance program and a continuously variable transmission. Do all these impressive elements for the price make a Crosstrek more likely to break down?

A complex car like the Crosstrek, with many features and components, has more room for error than other vehicles. However, Subaru maintains good reliability with the Crosstrek overall. The latest model years are the safest bet. After 10 years of refinements, J.D. Power and Associates gave the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek an 81 out of 100 for reliability.

Earlier Subaru Crosstrek reliability scores are not as strong. The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek received an average reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 on J.D. Power and Associates’ older five-point ranking system. In 2019, Subaru recalled 2.3 million Crosstreks for malfunctioning brake light sensors that caused ripple effect malfunctions throughout the car.

Older Crosstreks have a few design issues that later models resolved. However, these used cars can still be an excellent value with the right vehicle protection plan.

Are Subaru Crosstrek Hybrids Reliable?

Subaru has refined its Crosstrek Hybrid plug-in engines over the years as well. The 2014 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid received a middle-of-the-road score of 2.5 out of 5 on reliability from J.D. Power and Associates. The 2019 Hybrid redesign increased the Subaru Crosstrek reliability score to 3.5 out of 5.

What Common Problems May Affect a Subaru Crosstrek?

An auto mechanic discusses Subaru Crosstrek reliability with customer.

Here are the specific issues that are common to Subaru Crosstreks from each redesign year.

2013-2015 Subaru Crosstrek

Some early Subaru Crosstreks had problems with the auto start-stop system. This system is intended to save fuel by automatically stopping the engine while the car is idling and restarting it when the driver presses the gas pedal. However, frequent starts and stops can be rough on the engine’s starter and burn it out prematurely.

Early Crosstreks also burned through oil quickly. Keep on top of oil changes if you opt for a used Crosstrek to protect your engine and increase Subaru Crosstrek reliability.

2016-2017 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2016 redesign year attempted to improve the Crosstrek’s speed and acceleration, but this came at the expense of smooth steering. Subaru Crosstreks from these model years can fight turns and are generally difficult to steer. They may require realignment more often than other vehicles.

A unique design issue with Subaru Crosstreks made prior to 2018 is a soy-based wire coating. This coating is less expensive and more eco-friendly than plastic, but unfortunately its smell and taste appeal to rodents. Several Subaru Crosstrek owners found rat and mouse nests in their undercarriage that required rewiring, a $1,200 to $1,500 repair.

2014-2018 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

The early Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid models had early CVT systems. These transmissions tend to wear and break faster than standard gear-based automatic transmissions. The cost to repair a CVT is also higher than a normal automatic transmission, as it ranges from $3,500 to $8,000.

2018-2019 Subaru Crosstrek

The main Subaru Crosstrek reliability issue in models before 2020 is a failure of the brake light switch. The brake light sensor on these Crosstreks is slightly exposed and can be damaged by cleaning fluids, snow or rain. Not only will this prevent the brake light from working, but push-to-start models may also fail to start, and the vehicle may have trouble shifting out of park.

2019-2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Newer Subaru Crosstrek Hybrids are reliable and don’t have many common issues. Rust building up around the wheels and undercarriage may impact steering over time, though.

2023 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2023 redesign added power to the Subaru Crosstrek to address a running complaint in previous model years. The steering issues from the previous model years were also resolved.

One persistent problem with Crosstreks across the board is blown head gaskets. Mechanics report seeing this issue frequently. This is a major engine repair that can cost between $1,600 and $2000.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek will feature the EyeSight system standard. This innovative driving assistance program can decrease your risk of accidents by automatically keeping the vehicle in the lane and sensing oncoming cars in your blind spot. It has the potential to prevent accidents and increase Subaru Crosstrek reliability. However, only time will tell if this system works as well as intended.

Is the Subaru Crosstrek a Good Buy?

A reliable Subaru Crosstrek parked near a scenic area.

It’s easy to see why the Subaru Crosstrek is an appealing car. It has the sporty profile of the Impreza with light off-road capability. Overall, the Crosstrek is affordable, versatile and reliable in both its standard and hybrid options. However, Crosstreks do have some common problems that may require expensive repairs.

How Can a Vehicle Protection Plan Help if Your Subaru Crosstrek Breaks Down? 

A vehicle protection plan can protect you from large, unexpected repair bills if your car is out of warranty. While a protection plan won’t cover routine maintenance, coverage for large mechanical and electrical problems, such as transmission repairs and blown gaskets, can give you peace of mind. One of these plans can make a Subaru Crosstrek an even better value for your money.

How Can You Plan for Subaru Crosstrek Reliability Problems and Save Money on Car Repairs?

At autopom!, we offer a variety of affordable vehicle protection plans to give car owners freedom from large repair bills and problems with Subaru Crosstrek reliability. Whether you opt for a Subaru Crosstrek or another midsize SUV, protect your purchase with a little advanced planning. Contact us to get started with a quote today.