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Subaru gave the WRX a life of its own in 2015 after years of the four-door hiding behind its inspiration, the Impreza. The World Rally eXperimental model began as a racing car that caught many enthusiasts’ eyes and hearts.

In the years since then, the Subaru WRX has become a beloved mainstream car. However, some recent models have tarnished the WRX’s sheen, with drivers complaining about various issues. Here are the most common Subaru WRX problems you should know about.

Subaru WRX problems prompting the most owner complaints

Subaru WRX problems; Subaru WRX complaints
2022 Subaru WRX | Subaru of America, Inc.

One major issue drivers have cited with the Subaru WRX is internal engine failure. An engine’s many moving parts can become costly to replace or repair. The WRX doesn’t have the best reputation in this area, according to owners.

The model’s known weak points include pistons, rods, piston rings, and rod bearings. Owners have also complained of turbo issues with newer WRX models, Tuning Pro reports. Still, it doesn’t mean older models don’t face the same problems. Turbo technology has had a long, arduous journey in the past decade.

However, many WRX owners have had turbo issues when modifying and tuning the car. Increasing the vehicle’s power exerts a lot of stress on the stock turbo, thereby compromising its longevity. Wear-and-tear is also a significant cause of turbo failures.

Gasket leaks also seem to be a major concern when it comes to the WRX. Although oil leaks are common, they can considerably affect the engine in the long run. Misfires are also a general problem, but they could indicate a deeper issue in the engine.

Other noteworthy problems that WRX owners have reported include lurch full-throttle shifts and rough STI high-performance suspension.

Overall reliability and years to avoid

The Subaru WRX doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability. Consumer Reports gave the car a mere 2 out of 5 in reliability, ranking it below its competitors. CR’s testers appreciate the car’s fun handling and quick acceleration. Still, they found the overall ride uncomfortable, with hard shocks and jitters when going over bumps.

If you’re still considering buying a WRX, know the models you should avoid. Consumer Reports notes the 2021 Subaru WRX wouldn’t be the best investment The site reports that model year lacks advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection.

In addition, CoPilot Search lists the 2015 and 2016 WRX models as the worst years to buy. The site reports that both models end up with a bad clutch after lengthy usage. Other issues in those two model years include electrical and engine problems. All of those issues are costly to repair.

What are the best Subaru WRX model years to buy?

All is not lost for the Subaru WRX. The car might not satisfy the needs of daily commuters, but it meets the requirements for rally-car fans. Still, the vehicle has several good model years that are sure to satisfy many owners.

CoPilot Search notes that 2017 through 2020 are the best WRX model years. That’s because they have fewer reported issues, and you won’t break the bank purchasing any of these used models. The 2004 to 2007 models also rank highly among consumers, but they can be pricey, especially in STI form.


How Reliable is the Subaru WRX?