Here Are The Subaru Crosstrek Years To Avoid (2023)

Subaru Crosstrek by EurovisionNim — CC BY-SA 4.0

With the rise of subcompact SUVs, essentially the more rugged and versatile cousins of hatchbacks, more niches have arisen for new cars to fill. And if you’re looking for an off-road capable vehicle that you can parallel park easily, you have two options: the Jeep Renegade and the Subaru Crosstrek.

Jeep beat Subaru to the punch, releasing the Renegade for the 2015 model year, but Subaru came in quickly behind with the 2016 Crosstrek. But with standard all-wheel drive and a rugged suspension with plenty of ground clearance, the base model Crosstrek will better suit an active, off-road lifestyle than the Renegade outside the high-end Trailhawk package.

Fortunately, there have been relatively few issues reported with the Crosstrek, as it would be a concern if a six-year-old model already had problems. And while none are bad, we’ll help you find the best Crosstrek for you and tell you which Crosstrek years to avoid buying.

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Quick Answer: Avoid 2016 and 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Model Years

Frankly, you don’t have much to worry about with any model year of the Subaru Crosstrek. But if you have the choice, you might be best off avoiding the 2016 and 2018 Crosstreks. Neither of these cars is a clunker, and you might easily find one with no reliability problems. But in the short time since its introduction, the 2018 model has had the most complaints lodged, and the very first model had the second most, with plenty more than the 2019 Crosstrek in third place. It feels like splitting hairs here, but if you’re in the market for one, 2016 and 2018 are the Crosstrek model years to avoid.

Which Model Years of Subaru Crosstrek Are Safe to Buy Used?

  • 2017 Subaru Crosstrek
  • 2019 Subaru Crosstrek
  • 2020 Subaru Crosstrek
  • 2021 Subaru Crosstrek


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In its small sample size of six years, four of the Crosstreks have been just fine, with little to nothing to complain about. The 2017 model was most criticized for chipping paint and hesitation to accelerate. One problem to look out for, though, is unintended acceleration which has been reported. This can be a severe issue, but with how rare it is, you shouldn’t have to avoid the 2017 Crosstrek. The 2019 model similarly has a few problems, though one notable complaint is the electrical system giving out while driving.

While this is unlikely to happen to you while driving, it is something to consider when shopping for a used car. But the far more common problems you might experience with the 2019 Crosstrek are the windshield cracking and the radio losing its presets. Meanwhile, the 2020 and 2021 models have seen zero complaints logged so far. But you have to take all of these numbers for each model year with a big grain of salt. None of these cars have been on the road for more than six years. Hopefully, those numbers stay relatively low, but problems would likely only develop a few years later as more people put over 100,000 miles on their new cars.


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Which Model Years of Subaru Crosstrek Should You Avoid?

  • 2016 Subaru Crosstrek
  • 2018 Subaru Crosstrek

As a rule of thumb, it is usually a good idea to avoid the first year of a new car or even a new generation of an established car. Waiting for a later model often gives the manufacturer time to see what problems their shiny new toy had that only present themselves once thousands of consumers interact with the product daily. Most of the problems discovered on the original Crosstrek are relatively minor issues with the cabin build quality, such as faults in the infotainment touchscreen, uncomfortable seats, and speaker issues.

Two issues that aren’t huge but that you should keep an eye out for are a 9-volt power adapter not working, which hopefully isn’t indicative of larger problems with the electrical system, and a backseat door that cannot be unlocked. A bigger issue reported is that the steering can pull to the left. While uncommon, this complaint comes up most consistently and can be dangerous, especially at higher speeds.


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The 2018 model year has a few minor complaints, such as the radio not working or the paint chipping, but there is one serious concern with multiple complaints of the rear wheels kicking out and causing the car to fishtail. While still uncommon, this is a severe safety hazard, and numerous complaints exist. Considering how well received the other model years have been, you are better off avoiding the 2018 model year. While most owners have been fine with their cars, the 2016 and 2018 models are the Crosstreks to avoid when looking at used cars.

Subaru Crosstrek Problem Counts by Year

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Common Subaru Crosstrek Problems

Although the Subaru Crosstrek is overall a reliable vehicle, it has its fair share of reliability issues that every potential buyer should know.

(Video) Make Sure to Check these Issues Before Buying a Used Subaru Crosstrek

  • Head gasket issue: This is one of the most significant issues of the Crosstrek and may also apply to other Subaru models. Specifically, the head gasket issue seems to occur with models with a 2.5-liter engine. Apparently, the head gasket was prone to be blown up, resulting in symptoms like engine failure or overheating.
  • Excessive oil consumption: The Subaru Crosstrek models of 2012 to 2015 reportedly had issues with excessive oil consumption. This made owners always be on their toes when topping up their oil. If oil levels are always too low, it may cause permanent damage to the engine.
  • Rust and corrosion: Many Subaru models, including the Crosstrek, had an issue with premature rust and corrosion. Since Subarus are popular in colder areas, it’s suspected that the main culprit for this issue was road salt.
  • Defective brake light switch: A problem with the brake light switch may prevent it from working when the driver presses the pedal. 2.3 million vehicles were recalled to fix this particular issue.

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