These Are the Subaru WRX Years to Avoid and Problematic Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

When shopping for a used Subaru WRX, it’s important to know which years should be avoided in order to have a trouble-free driving experience.

Not all WRX models are created equal, and some have been known to suffer from various issues.

In this article, we’ll provide key information on which Subaru WRX years to steer clear of, so you can make an informed decision in your search for the perfect rally-inspired sport compact car.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to find a reliable and Subaru WRX best year that meets your needs.

worst Subaru WRX to avoid

Notable Subaru WRX Model Years to Avoid

2004-2008 Models

For any driving enthusiast looking to acquire a Subaru WRX, it’s essential to be aware of the years to avoid, specifically the 2004-2008 models.

These WRXs are known for their transmission problems and engine troubles. Drivers of these models often report rough idling, excessive oil consumption, and electrical difficulties.

Additionally, suspension issues are common with these model years, which could significantly impact your car’s handling abilities.

The 2004-2008 WRX STI models are especially susceptible to engine failure due to issues with the rod bearings and piston rings. This can lead to significant repair costs and oil leaks if not addressed properly.

Be cautious with these model years, as they also exhibit electrical problems at times. Be sure to check for recalls on these models and seek out reputable sources such as CarComplaints, J. D. Power, and Edmunds to get a better understanding of their specific issues.

2015 Model

The 2015 Subaru WRX, in particular, should be avoided for various reasons. This model has been plagued with issues related to its transmission.

Many drivers have experienced transmission problems, such as a bad clutch, resulting in difficulties with shifting gears.

The turbocharged engine in the 2015 WRX has also shown signs of engine failure, significantly reducing your car’s reliability as a daily driver.

The CVT transmission and manual transmission versions of the 2015 WRX have both exhibited issues, so it’s essential to tread carefully if you are considering this specific model year.

Additional concerns with the 2015 Subaru WRX include safety recalls for the eyesight system malfunction and hood latch sensor failure. It’s important to research the NHTSA complaints related to this model before deciding on your purchase.

In conclusion, to ensure a smooth driving experience with minimal issues, it’s wise to avoid the 2004-2008 Subaru WRX models and the 2015 model.

Common Problems and Recalls

Engine Issues

Your Subaru WRX, particularly the 2015 and 2016 models, may experience engine troubles such as excessive oil consumption, blown head gaskets, and engine stalling.

These issues can affect both daily drivers and driving enthusiasts, so it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms and get regular maintenance done to prevent permanent damage.

Transmission Problems

If you’re considering a Subaru WRX, be cautious about transmission problems, including bad clutch issues and gearbox troubles.

The 2015 WRX has several reported cases of clutch and flywheel problems. Additionally, some owners also experienced difficulty with both manual and CVT transmission systems.

Suspension and Handling

Suspension issues might affect WRX models, especially those with the STI high-performance suspension. These problems can cause a rough ride and may require costly repairs.

Always pay attention to the way your car handles, and if something doesn’t feel right, consult a professional mechanic.

Electrical Issues

Electrical difficulties may plague some Subaru WRX models, including headlights dysfunction and battery draining problems. For example, owners reported that headlights could randomly stop working.

Keep an eye out for any unusual electrical behavior in your WRX to avoid potential safety hazards.

Safety Recalls

Your Subaru WRX may be subject to safety recalls, such as hood latch sensor failure and the EyeSight system malfunction.

It’s essential to stay informed about any recalls affecting your vehicle to maintain its safety and performance. Regularly check the NHTSA complaints and Edmunds for updates on your WRX model.

Subaru WRX Competitors

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus offers a range of engines and trim options, allowing you to customize your driving experience to your preferences.

With its comfortable interior and efficient performance, the best years Focus can be a solid alternative to the Subaru WRX, unless you invest in the Ford Focus bad models.

However, the WRX’s sportier handling and rally-ready features may appeal more to driving enthusiasts.

Acura TLX

The Acura TLX is a luxury sedan that boasts a refined interior and a smooth, comfortable ride.

While its base engine is not as powerful as the WRX’s, available engine upgrades and the available Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system can help level the playing field.

The TLX does come at a higher price point, so consider your budget when comparing the two models. Check out more compelling list of Acura TL worst used cars.

Audi A3

If you’re looking for a premium experience and an elegant design, the Audi A3 may suit your tastes.

With its sophisticated interior and advanced technology, the A3 offers a more luxurious experience compared to the WRX.

However, the WRX’s performance-oriented nature and lower starting price might make it more appealing for those wanting a sportier option. Notwithstanding its reliability, some Audi A3 years (2004, 2006, 2009) suffered engine and transmission problems.

Kia Stinger

The Kia Stinger offers impressive performance and a sleek, stylish design at a competitive price. With its powerful engines and agile handling, the Stinger can go toe-to-toe with the WRX in terms of performance.

Additionally, the Stinger’s generous standard features and spacious cabin make it a practical choice in the segment. Check out this full list of 14 Kia Stinger issues to avoid.

BMW 3-Series

The BMW 3-Series is known for its sporty handling and luxurious interior, making it a strong competitor in the performance sedan market.

However, you may find that the WRX offers a more engaging driving experience due to its rally-inspired roots.

Keep in mind that the 3-Series can be pricey, so weigh the potential trade-offs and decide based on your wants and needs and avoid the bad BMW 3-series with suspension and cooling system issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Worst WRX years for reliability?

You should try to avoid the 2015 and 2016 Subaru WRX models as they are considered the worst years for reliability.

Any issues with the 2016 WRX?

Yes, the 2016 WRX had a few issues. Among them were transmission problems and higher instances of complaints, making it one of the years to avoid.

Most reliable WRX STI year?

While there isn’t a specific “most reliable” WRX STI year, the 2019 Subaru WRX STI tends to have fewer complaints and issues compared to previous years. You can find more information about the WRX STI

How reliable is the 2019 WRX?

The 2019 WRX is generally regarded as reliable, with fewer problems reported compared to the 2015 and 2016 models. However, always remember to thoroughly research and inspect any used vehicle before making a purchase.


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