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Subaru reliability opinions


Topic starter

Having a bit of trouble deciding if I want the XT or just the boxer four. Does anyone have input or have experienced problems with ether
I'm talking about  reliability

Maybe @mod_man has some experience with this question?

5 Answers

How long do you plan to keep it? I believe the XT is their turbocharged Outback model?

By definition a Turbo engine will have more servicing issues as it ages. The turbocharger itself is a wear item that will eventually need to be replaced for $$$ and of course the engine is stressed more with the turbo. Properly designed and maintained a turbocharged engine can last hundreds of thousands of miles (mine has). However unlike older vehicles, turbocharging is now combined with GDI which stresses the engine even more, leading to more potential problems down the road.

If you want the fewest long-term problems stick with the normally-aspirated engine. Then your primary concern will be the CVT.

It' worth adding that the turbocharged engine will of course put more stress on the CVT. Subaru does install a "heavy duty" CVT in turbocharged models but the idea of a heavy duty CVT is pretty much a contradiction in terms. Whichever you decide on don't listen to Subaru's saying it's a sealed transmission with lifetime fluid. Regular fluid changes will extend the life of the transmission.

Okay I would keep for at lest 10 years I know the person who owns my Subaru dealership because he’s my best friend

You just have to decide whether you want the additional performance, or the potential for less problems as the car ages. Your friend may be able to fill you in on his service department's experiences with the turbocharged models.


In either option, I would assume reliability is above average but not perfect. The CVT will likely be the weak link, especially if you tow (though new ones are getting more reliable). 
Same as any NA versus turbo, the NA will have a longer life, maybe 25k-50k, depending on driving style. But the NA is kind of a dog by modern standards; drive both before you settle for the non-turbo. 

I have driven both just want it to last for 10 years and probably 200k miles

Then get naturally aspirated one, keep all the fluids fresh, and don’t tow.

I have nothing to tow my Dad wants the turbo one tho


I'm not really a fan of the boxer engine design as a whole. However, I'd rather go with it over a turbocharged engine in a Subaru. 

As many of us know, CVT's have been Subaru's Achilles heel for some time. They have gotten better, but I think I would avoid putting the extra jolting/stress on the transmission that a turbo motor does. Plus Subaru pretty much made the boxer their trademark and everyone knows the sound. Thry also have super smooth acceleration. 

I would stay with the N/A option myself and skip the turbo.


My dad has the NA version. He loves it but he is 80 and never drives over 55. His is a 2014. It just made it to 50,000 miles.

I have the N/A legacy and want to get the turbo because it would be faster but I need it to last

Anything with a turbo or supercharger comes at the cost of reliability. More preasure more parts. It's a trade off.

How long would it last tho would it last 10 years


How to make a turbo motor last:

  • stay out of the boost as much as possible for the first few thousand miles
  • always let it get up to operating temperature before getting hard on the throttle 
  • stay out of the boost the last few minutes before you turn it off (some engineers may disagree whether this is important for modern turbos)
  • use high quality oil and change it frequently (absolutely no more than 5000 miles)
  • check the oil frequently between changes; smell for gas dilution in the oil (other posts on this website explain oil dilution in more detail)
  • use high quality gas (and don’t add anything extra to the gas)
  • drive like a sane person
  • dont tow

And bonus:

  • change the cvt fluid as soon as it’s off warranty and every 30000 miles thereafter.