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The Subaru Crosstrek is one of the most popular subcompact crossover SUVs available, with its stylish design, off-road capabilities, sedan-like handling, and efficient plug-in hybrid model. However, the Crosstrek is not perfect — and has some issues that can arise. View the most common Subaru Crosstrek problems reported by many real owners. We also see if it’s a reliable crossover SUV. 

What are the most common Subaru Crosstrek problems?

Front angle view of red 2023 Subaru Crosstrek crossover SUV, highlighting most common problems and if it’s reliable
2023 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

Looking at the feedback of owners of the Subaru Cross is invaluable, for it demonstrates real-world scenarios, showing the frequency and severity of repairs. For this reliability analysis, we looked at owner feedback provided to RepairPal and Motor and Wheels

Here are the three most common problems for the Subaru Crosstrek:

  1. Malfunctioning auto start-stop system
  2. Brake light switch failure
  3. Heavy consumption of oil

It’s crucial to note that many Crosstrek models are not affected by these issues. However, these are the most frequent ones, so let’s take a closer look at them.

Most common Subaru Crosstrek problem is a malfunctioning auto start-stop system 

Side view of green 2023 Subaru Crosstrek crossover SUV, highlighting most common problems and if it’s reliable
2023 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The most common Subaru Crosstrek problem reported by real owners is a malfunctioning start-stop system. A start-stop system improves gas mileage by automatically stopping the engine when idling — and then starting it up again when the driver presses down on the accelerator. It’s become a more common feature in cars in recent years in the effort to improve efficiency.

However, the Crosstrek, along with other Subaru models, has issues with the auto start-stop system. For some models, it works intermittently — or not at all. Also, there is concern that the auto start-stop system can cause wear on the engine. While a driver can disable the system, that’s not a permanent resolution, for it can get reactivated once you turn off the ignition for the crossover SUV.

Brake light switch failure

The second most frequent issue for the Subaru Crosstrek is brake light switch failure. For this issue, the brake lights don’t illuminate when the driver presses the brake pedal. The cause of the problem is most likely due to cleaning products clogging up the switches that activate the brake lights in the Crosstrek.

There are obvious safety concerns about the brake lights not illuminating, including other drivers not seeing the Crosstrek at night or when it brakes. Also, due to the significance of the problem, Subaru issued a recall in 2019.

Heavy consumption of oil

The other common problem reported by owners of the Subaru Crosstrek is the heavy consumption of oil. According to Subaru, the issue is due to looser tolerances for models with the F-series Boxer engine. The automaker says that these models burn oil at a rate of a quart for every 1,200 miles. In comparison, the average for all vehicles is around a quart every 3,000 miles. 

With the heavy oil consumption, some Crosstrek owners have to be alert to ensure that the oil is frequently topped off. If the oil gets too low, it can cause damage to the engine and other parts of the crossover SUV.

Is the Subaru Crosstrek a reliable crossover SUV — and is it expensive to repair?

Despite these problems, overall, the Subaru Crosstrek is a reliable crossover SUV. RepairPal gives it an “excellent” reliability rating of 4.5 out of five. In a field of 26 small SUVs that the automotive site evaluated, the Crosstrek ranks first for reliability.

It’s also relatively inexpensive to repair. RepairPal states that the average annual cost to repair the Crosstrek is $492 — compared to $521 for the small SUV segment and $652 for all vehicle types.

Related 2023 Subaru Crosstrek: Price, Features, & Specs

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