Does Subaru Do Anything Better Than Honda?

Honda and Subaru are among many buyers’ first choices for a reliable, versatile vehicle. Both of these popular car brands offer practical options but with their own unique spin. Critics praise Honda for its sporty style, and Subaru is renowned for its signature all-wheel-drive. In many ways, Honda has an advantage over Subaru, but when is a Subaru the better choice?

Honda is an industry leader when it comes to practicality

A Honda CR-V is seen during the Vienna Car Show press preview at Messe Wien
2020 Honda CR-V | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

Honda may not appear as trendy as Subaru, but it does win out against Subaru in almost every critical category, as evidenced by a recent U.S. News analysis. Honda has a strong portfolio of reliable vehicles with the Fit, CR-V, and the Ridgeline pickup truck among its most dependable options. And even though Subaru has performance-oriented models like the WRX, Hondas have better performance ratings overall.

Honda’s sportier options like the Civic Type R can you give the speed you crave. And if you’re looking for a hybrid but don’t want to sacrifice agility, the CR-V Hybrid or the Accord Hybrid are great options. And while Subarus offer pristine cabins, Hondas earn higher scores for their upscale interiors with the Accord being a near-perfect example. However, Subaru has more updated infotainment features compared to Honda.

A lineup of Honda Civic models in Japan.
Honda Civic vehicles parked | Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. News also ranks Honda above Subaru when it comes to small car offerings. The Civic is one of the best models to buy in the compact class, while the Subaru Impreza is easy to overlook. The Fit is another small model that’s affordable and fun, but unfortunately, its last model year. Additionally, Honda performs better in the midsize car class too. 

Where Subaru shines

A 2020 Subaru Outback parked off-roading in a forest.
2020 Subaru Outback | Subaru

Honda and Subaru place a great emphasis on safety, but Subaru has earned slightly higher ratings in this realm. Subaru’s driver’s assistance package, EyeSight, includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Honda’s equivalent is the Honda Sensing suite.

Subaru also is the winner concerning vehicle pricing. Generally speaking, Subaru’s lineup is slightly cheaper than Honda’s. Because of this, buyers may gravitate toward Subarus more. Plus, Subaru offers one of the best adventure vehicles on the market today: the Outback. The Outback essentially has no direct competitors, and Honda doesn’t have an authentic wagon in its lineup at all. 

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Premium driving with bikes on the roof rack
2020 Subaru Crosstrek Premium | Subaru

 Furthermore, Subaru has positioned itself more competitively in the subcompact SUV class. Subaru’s Crosstrek is the only small SUV that’s standard with AWD. The Crosstrek is an excellent example of the value Subarus can provide. 

Still, Honda is the clear winner

a silver 2021 Honda driving down a treelined road
2021 Honda Odyssey | Honda

What We’re Going to Miss Most About the Honda Fit

While Subaru offers plenty of advantages, this carmaker doesn’t have a massive lead on any significant category over Honda. Honda is the better choice in various markets, including hybrids and EVs, midsize cars, and midsize SUVs. Plus, Honda offers models that Subaru doesn’t have a direct answer for, such as the Ridgeline and Odyssey minivan. So, if you’re looking for a traditional and versatile model, buying a Honda is the way to go.