Is Subaru More Reliable Than Toyota?

Reliability is an important factor for car shopping because every driver wants their vehicle to last for as long as possible. Most people think of Toyota when considering reliability. Models like the Toyota Corolla can reach 300,000 miles with no major repairs.

Subaru is also considered to be one of the most reliable car brands on the market. The Subaru Legacy is a three-time winner of the J.D. Power award. Toyota rivals have won similar awards, but are they more reliable than their Subaru alternatives?

A dark blue Subaru logo with silver accents against a lighter blue background.
Subaru logo | Getty Images

The case for Toyota’s reliability 

High mileage for a Toyota is 200,000 miles, but some models can last for 300,000 miles. Once a car gets to that point, it’s hard to justify making extensive repairs. This is especially true for foreign brands like Toyota and Subaru.

Both of them have fewer dealerships in the country compared to American automakers like Ford and Chevy. As a result, there are fewer knowledgeable technicians that can fix the specific problems of these vehicles. Importing the parts to repair these vehicles can also be more expensive. Fortunately, a Toyota can last a long time before that point.

The Toyota Camry is considered one of the most reliable, beating out several rival models on Consumer Reports testing. It also topped the Subaru Legacy in terms of speed, fuel economy, and handling. However, the Legacy did get a better overall score because of its comfortable ride and impressive braking performance.

Even Toyota’s pickup trucks are dependable, a class that usually has the worst reliability ratings. The Toyota Tundra reigns supreme in this category, with experts contributing its longevity to its simple powertrain. Fewer complicated parts mean smoother operations that are more affordable to fix.

How does Subaru compare?

Subaru also gets high mileage, with many models lasting around 200,000 miles. Some vehicles might live shorter lives, especially those with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. Older Subarus are also prone to expensive problems, like engine failure and gasket replacements, much earlier in the ownership period.

Subarus can also be more of a liability because of extra components. As Bob Wade Subaru points out, almost every Subaru has standard AWD and a long list of safety features. Still, these make the Subaru more useful to its owners and increases its value.

Subaru has also beaten its Toyota rivals on several occasions, including the beloved Toyota RAV4. Consumer Reports said the Subaru Forester is more reliable, has a better ride quality, and has the most comfortable interior. The Toyota RAV4 still got high marks in several categories, but the Forester was slightly better.

However, some Subaru models don’t uphold the automaker’s reputation for reliability. The Ascent SUV got a low predicted reliability rating from Consumer Reports, mostly due to its numerous initial recalls. Once owner surveys started pouring in, the Subaru Ascent scored four out of five for overall dependability.

Which do consumers prefer?

A discussion on Quora suggests that Toyotas are more popular amongst most drivers. Toyota models generally get more satisfying performance and a more durable engine. However, a few other comments said that Subarus last longer and are more useful in rain or snow.

The choice between buying a Subaru or a Toyota mostly comes down to personal preference. Both automakers provide cars with satisfying powertrains, plentiful standard features, and great warranties.

However, even a Toyota or Subaru can’t last up to its full potential without proper maintenance. Always service your vehicle regularly and have problems repaired as soon as possible.

Related: Does Toyota Own Subaru?