Here Are The Subaru Crosstrek Years to Avoid and Reliability Problems By Year

Patrick Oziegbe
Published On:

Are you ready to hit the off-road in a compact compact SUV package and versatile vehicle that can handle any terrain?

The Subaru Crosstrek has become a favorite among adventure seekers, and you want to own a used model but need some credible information to guide you?

Our article is packed full of latest tips and facts to help purchase a reliable used Crosstrek, but not all model years are created equal.

In this guide, you’ll discover the Crosstrek model years to steer clear of and the specific issues that have plagued them.

Now you can avoid getting stuck with costly repairs or frustrating reliability issues down the line. Also read to discover the exact best year for Subaru Crosstrek to invest in.

Buckle up and get ready to make an informed decision that will keep you cruising for years to come!

Here Are Worst Subaru Crosstrek Years to Avoid

best year for Subaru Crosstrek
©Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Let’s start with core of this article – the Subaru Crosstrek model years to avoid and the common problems,  proven to deny you a reliable and enjoyable driving experience.

The Worst Years

Here are the Subaru Crosstrek years you should avoid:

  • 2013
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Let’s dive into the common problems for each of these model years.

2013 Crosstrek

The 2013 Crosstrek received numerous complaints of stalling engine issues, which led to some owners getting involved in collisions.

Additionally, this model year faced engine stalling and fob malfunction recalls, making it one of the years you might want to steer clear of when purchasing a Crosstrek.

2015 Crosstrek

While not as problematic as other years on this list, the 2015 Crosstrek had some issues that may make it less desirable.

It is mentioned as a year to avoid without specific reasons, but prospective buyers may want to do extra research on this model year.

2016 Crosstrek

Though not necessarily a terrible choice, the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek has been recommended to avoid if you have other options.

The majority of 2016 Crosstreks were not problematic, but there is potentially a lack of reliability in comparison to other model years.

2017 Subaru Crosstrek

The 2017 model is plagued with reliability concerns as numerous Consumer Reports gave this model year a below-average reliability rating, and owner satisfaction remained average at best.

Steering clear of the 2017 model may save you from potential headaches.

2018 Crosstrek

Similar to the 2016 model, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek isn’t a terrible choice, but if you have alternatives, you might be better off avoiding it.

While many 2018 Crosstreks do not have any reliability problems, some owners experienced issues, making it a year to be cognizant of when purchasing.

As you shop for a Subaru Crosstrek, now you’ll have a better understanding of which model years to avoid and what common problems you may encounter with those years.

Common Issues and Solutions

Excessive Oil Consumption

Many Subaru Crosstreks from the years 2012 to 2015 have been reported to experience excessive oil consumption issues. To address this problem, you should monitor your engine oil levels regularly to ensure they are within the recommended range.

If you notice increased consumption, schedule an appointment with a Subaru dealership or a trusted mechanic for further inspection. They may recommend replacing the pistons and oil rings to help control this issue.

Transmission Problems

Some Crosstrek owners have reported experiencing transmission problems, especially in 2013, 2014, and 2016 to 2019 models.

  • Manual Transmission

If you are experiencing issues with your manual transmission, such as difficulty shifting gears or grinding noises, it’s essential to have your transmission fluid levels checked.

The fluid may be low or dirty, which can contribute to these problems. In some cases, a transmission fluid flush or replacement might be necessary.

  • Automatic Transmission

For those with automatic transmissions, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of a faulty Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

If your Crosstrek is experiencing delayed acceleration or jerking while driving, you may need to have your CVT serviced or replaced.

Head Gasket Issue

Head gasket problems have been reported in some Subaru Crosstrek models, often resulting in coolant leaks, overheating, or even engine failure.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. They will determine if your head gasket requires repair or replacement to rectify the issue.

Engine Failure

Engine failure is not a common issue, but it has been reported by some Subaru Crosstrek owners. To reduce the risk of engine failure, make sure you maintain your vehicle as advised in the owner’s manual.

This includes regular oil changes, coolant flushes, and timely replacement of worn-out parts. If you notice any unusual noises or performance issues, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional mechanic to identify any underlying issues and take appropriate action.

The Best Years for Subaru Crosstrek

©Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Now land on the green land – the Subaru Crosstrek years are considered the best to buy, used!

Lucky for you, there are several standout years that have earned high praise from experts and consumers alike.

For a great start, consider the 2019 and 2020 Crosstrek models, as they’ve shown fewer issues and have been lauded for their reliability. If you’re interested in the previous generation, the 2015 model also stands out as a reliable option.

In addition to these, the 2014, 2021, 2022, and 2023 model years have been deemed top contenders for the best Subaru Crosstrek experience.

These particular models have received positive auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, and gained consumer approval.

Whether you’re opting for a new car or an older model, here’s a quick summary of the best Subaru Crosstrek years to consider:

  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023

As you evaluate your options, it’s essential to consider your personal preferences and budget when choosing between older models and newer models.

Be diligent with your research, read reviews, test drive different years, and choose the best Subaru Crosstrek for your unique needs.

Vital Safety Concerns You Should Aware Of

Defective Brake Light Switch

One of the safety concerns you should be aware of when considering a Subaru Crosstrek is a defective brake lights switch. This issue can affect the model years to avoid, such as the 2013 model.

A defective brake light switch could potentially lead to reduced visibility for other drivers on the road, posing a safety risk.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported recalls related to this problem, which would need to be addressed if you were purchasing a used Crosstrek with this issue.

To give you a better understanding, here are some potential concerns related to a defective brake light switch:

  • Brake lights not illuminating when the brakes are applied
  • Difficulty shifting the vehicle out of the “Park” position
  • The vehicle’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system not functioning properly

Blind-Spot Monitoring

Another safety concern in some Subaru Crosstrek years to avoid is a less effective blind-spot monitoring system.

Blind-spot monitoring is an essential safety feature that helps you change lanes and maneuver on the road with ease. It can give you the confidence of knowing that another vehicle is not hiding in your blind spot.

However, it has been reported that some Crosstrek models, such as the 2013 and 2014 versions, may not have the most efficient blind-spot monitoring systems. This could reduce the effectiveness of this safety feature, making it less reliable when you need it most.

To fully benefit from blind-spot monitoring in your Crosstrek, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Ensure that the sensors are clean and unobstructed
  • Familiarize yourself with the system’s alerts and how they function
  • Don’t rely solely on the blind-spot monitoring system; always check your mirrors and blind spots physically before changing lanes

By taking these precautions, you can mitigate the safety concerns related to the defective brake light switch and blind-spot monitoring in certain Subaru Crosstrek years to avoid.

Trim Levels and Features

What are the different trim levels and features that are available? Let’s take a close look, below:

Base Trim

The base trim of the Subaru Crosstrek comes with many standard features, including:

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • All-wheel drive
  • Traction control
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Keyless entry
  • Rearview camera
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats, providing generous cargo space

Premium Trim

Upgrading to the Premium trim will grant you access to additional features such as:

  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Upgraded 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Fog lights
  • Available adaptive cruise control with Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology (when equipped with CVT)

Limited Trim

For an even higher level of comfort and features, you may wish to consider the Limited trim, which offers:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Leather-trimmed upholstery
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Automatic climate control
  • 8-inch touchscreen with navigation

Hybrid Trim

Lastly, the Hybrid trim is available for those who desire improved fuel efficiency and eco-friendly performance. This trim includes many of the features found in the Limited trim, plus:

  • Plug-in hybrid powertrain
  • 148 combined horsepower
  • Unique styling elements to differentiate it from other trims

As you compare these different trim levels, be sure to consider which features are most important to you and your driving habits.

Choosing the right Subaru Crosstrek trim level can help you fully enjoy your new vehicle while meeting your needs and preferences.

Subaru Crosstrek Reliability by Model

When evaluating the reliability of Subaru Crosstrek models, it’s essential to consider the different model years and understand which ones to avoid. Let’s dive into some key points for each generation.

First-Generation Crosstrek (2012-2017)

The first-generation Crosstrek, also known as the Subaru XV, is based on the Subaru Impreza platform.

It quickly gained popularity as a versatile and reliable crossover SUV, offering both practicality and performance. However, there are a few specific model years within this generation that you might want to avoid:

  • 2016 Crosstrek: This model year has been reported to have the most issues among first-generation Crosstreks. It is also considered to have lower reliability than other model years.
  • 2013 and 2017 Crosstrek: Both these model years received a fair number of complaints regarding stalling engine issues, leading to unpleasant driving experiences and, in some cases, accidents.

Second-Generation Crosstrek (2018-Present)

With the introduction of the second-generation Crosstrek, Subaru made significant improvements to the compact SUV.

However, it’s worth noting that some model years within this generation have received mixed feedback due to various issues:

  • 2018 Crosstrek: Although this model year has seen better reliability compared to its predecessors, it still faced the most issues within its generation. As a result, you may want to approach this model year with caution.

On the other hand, later models of the 2nd gen Crosstrek have shown improvements in reliability and overall performance.

These models could be more suitable if you’re looking for a more dependable and enjoyable driving experience.

We recommend that you to pay attention to the specific model years and their reliability. By doing so, you can make an informed decision and choose the right compact SUV for your needs.

Subaru Crosstrek Vs Close Rivals

We guess you may be interested to know and compare some close rivals to Crosstrek car to enhance your shopping.

Here, we’ll explore four of its competitors and discuss the similarities and differences between them and the Crosstrek.

1. Mazda CX-30

The Mazda CX-30 is a compact crossover that offers a refined interior and engaging driving dynamics.

Like the Crosstrek, it comes with a user-friendly infotainment system and impressive safety features.

However, the CX-30’s base engine provides more horsepower than the Crosstrek, but the CX-30 sacrifices some fuel efficiency in comparison.

2. Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is another compact SUV that fares well when going up against the Subaru Crosstrek. With its versatile interior and famed Honda reliability, the HR-V stands out as a strong competitor.

While it’s similar in size to the Crosstrek, it offers more cargo space and impressive fuel efficiency. However, the Honda HR-V lacks the standard all-wheel drive found in the Crosstrek.

3. Hyundai Kona

Hyundai’s Kona is a subcompact crossover that boasts a stylish design and comfortable ride. Much like the Crosstrek, it offers standard safety features and a straightforward infotainment system.

The Kona provides a variety of engine options, including a peppy turbocharged choice. It doesn’t come standard with all-wheel drive, but it can be added on for an additional cost.

4. Jeep Renegade

Lastly, the Jeep Renegade is a compact SUV with a distinct look and off-roading capabilities. While the Crosstrek has its own all-terrain prowess, the Renegade takes it a step further with its rugged design and available off-roading equipment. 

However, it doesn’t quite match the Crosstrek’s fuel efficiency and interior quality. We equally published a comprehensive guide; Used Jeep Renegade years to avoid vs best models!

As you explore the above 4 options, consider which features and capabilities are most important to you, what your budget is, and how these vehicles align with your specific needs.

Other Considerations

Are there other factors besides knowing the best and worst model years? Yes, so let’s discuss what these are to deepened your knowledge.

The safety features: First, it’s worth noting that the Crosstrek has been recognized for its safety features. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given it high ratings in crash test performances, making it a solid choice if safety is a priority for you.

comfort and versatility: The Crosstrek does not disappoint in terms of comfort and versatility.

Its 8.7-inch ground clearance makes it an excellent option for off-roading adventures, while retaining the practicality of a station wagon. Additionally, the interior is well designed, offering ample space for passengers and cargo.

The insurance cost: Don’t forget to look into the cost of insurance for the Crosstrek, as it may vary depending on the model and year. Always compare different insurance providers to find the best deal that matches your needs.

Lastly, remember to research widely and consult reputable sources such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make an informed decision to be re-assured that you’re not buying a bad car.


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