Subaru and Honda reliability (2023)

You're looking for a high-performance car, and Subaru and Honda keep popping up in your search. Reliability is also a major concern, so you wonder which one is more reliable than the other. This Subaru vs Honda reliability comparison looks at the two big names in the industry to determine which car is more reliable.

Subaru and Honda reliability (1)

Subaru and Honda are the two major car manufacturers in Japan. Owners praise them for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the Japanese are highly regarded as manufacturers of quality vehicles.

Efficiency and reliability are the key advantages of both brands. If you want to buy a new car with these issues as the main ones, these two names will surely come up often.

Honda offers a wide range of models, from the subcompact Fit, mid-size Accord and SUVs. Honda SUVs are also available in different sizes, such as the sub-compact Honda HR-V and the mid-size Honda Passport.

Subaru's model range is not that wide, although the Subaru Impreza falls into the small car category, with the Forester and Outback falling in between it and SUV models such as the Ascent and Crosstrek.

Whichever of the two brands you choose, you're sure to be covered when it comes to performance. What about reliability? Which car is the most reliable?

We compare Subaru and Honda based on customer surveys, manufacturer ratings and common repair issues. The number and severity of repair issues affect the total cost of maintenance and reliability.

Customer surveys

Consumer surveys collect information from the owners of these brands, who provide first-hand information on the good and bad sides. These surveys are sometimes preferred by potential owners because they are more balanced than marketing information from individual manufacturers.

Here's how 3 trusted customer research firms rate these two brands.

How do Subaru and Honda rank in terms of reliability based on customer surveys?

Subaru vs Honda Reliability: Customer Survey Chart

Consumer Reportsmost reliable cars 2020712
J.D. Powervehicle reliability study 202023

(154 PP100)



Which car?Brand Credibility Survey 20195

(96,6 %)


(94,9 %)

According to Consumer Reports' 2020 Vehicle Reliability Survey, Subaru is more reliable than Honda. Subaru is referred to as the 7thtthe most reliable car, while Honda ranks 12th.

J.D. Power disagrees. According to a 2020 reliability study, the Honda is more reliable than the Subaru. Honda ranks 18th with an average of 139 problems per person in 100 vehicles. Subaru is a few places down, taking 23rd place with an average of 154 problems per 100 cars. Both brands are below the industry average of 134 problems per 100 cars.

Which car? The UK's Car Monthly also analyzed these figures. According to a 2019 study, Subaru is more reliable than Honda. Subarus takes 5th place in the rankingtthe most reliable car with a score of 96.6%. Honda ranks 10thtthe most reliable car with a score of 94.9%.

Based on these studies, Subaru seems to be a more reliable car according to owners. Honda ranks well when it comes to repairs.

Manufacturer Ratings

To find out which of the two brands is more reliable, we'll look at manufacturer ratings from over 50,000 Warranty Direct policies. The data obtained is used to make assessments, e.greliability indexbe a general location.

These are important details to think about, as some cars break down often, which comes with some time inconvenience, but the actual repair cost is not too high.

Other vehicles rarely break down. Once they've done that, you'll have to dig deep into your pockets to be able to hit the road again. If the problem with the repair is serious, there is a good chance that the car will be sitting in the garage for some time.

The lower the reliability index, the more reliable the car is. The higher it is, the more unreliable the car is.

How do Subaru and Honda compare in terms of reliability based on manufacturer ratings?

Subaru vs Honda Reliability: Manufacturer Ratings Chart

Overall brand confidence index41105
Field Hours (average)2,8 timer.2,1 timer.
Average repair costs562 £370 pounds
labor costs102 pounds115 pounds

According to the manufacturer's ratings, the Subaru is rated as a more reliable car with a reliability index of 41. The Honda is considered much less reliable with a reliability index of 105.

When it comes to the time spent repairing a vehicle in the event of a breakdown, Honda is ahead of Subaru. A Honda is expected to be repaired in an average of 2 hours, while a Subaru is expected to require repair in less than 3 hours.

The telling result of the comparison is the average repair cost and the maximum labor cost. Average repair costs include both parts and labor costs. In terms of average repair costs, the Subaru is a more expensive car to maintain. You will spend around £562 on Subaru repairs and around £370 on Honda repairs.

How much should you pay the mechanic who spends those hours under your car or with his nose buried deep under the hood? For a Subaru, a technician will cost around £102 and a Honda labor should cost around £115.

Considering that the total repair cost of a Subaru is much higher than that of a Honda, and the labor cost of a Honda is higher than that of a Subaru, it is clear that the parts used in Subaru repairs are quite expensive.

Common repair issues

You certainly don't want to look for a damaged car. You will consider all aspects and find the brand and model that best suits your needs and wishes.

That said, no car is perfect…and it gets more and more from perfection as it ages. These problems have a direct impact on the overall reliability of the car.

Certain repair issues are known to be more common with certain brands. Make sure you are well informed about the common problems associated with the car you are about to buy.

Here are some common repair problemsSubaruIHonda.

How do Subaru and Honda fare in terms of reliability based on repair issues?

Subaru vs Honda reliability: repair problems table

FeelFix problems
Subaru– Failure of the air conditioning system

– Split C/V axle covers

– Worn front wheel suspension bush

– Leaking head gasket

– Oil cooler O-ring leaking

Honda– Vibration when braking

– Leaking head gasket

– Transmission error

– Fault in the electric door lock

– Air conditioning fault

Fix Subaru issues

C/V axle covers: This axle connects the wheels and the gearbox. There is an inner and outer joint on each axle. Both are lubricated with thick grease, which is contained in rubber boots.

The internal joint, also known as DOJ (Double Offset Joint), is located next to the exhaust pipe, making them vulnerable to damage. When this happens, they rupture and leak lubricant into the exhaust system. The result is a burning smell and loss of lubrication. If left untreated, the joint wears out prematurely.

If you detect a problem early, simply clean the assembly and re-lubricate it. If you catch it too late, it will be necessary to replace the entire axle.

Front Suspension Bushing Problem: If you live in a dry area, this may be something you will experience. Climate accelerates the cracking of rubber parts such as bushings and belts. This is something worth checking with each service.

Leaking oil cooler O-ring: Most Subaru models have a single O-ring above the oil filter. It often wears out and causes leaks. Replacement only takes a few minutes and is an easy process. If not detected early, it can do a lot of damage.

Honda repair problems

Braking vibration: Many Honda owners have reported a rattling or shuddering sensation when braking. This is due to warping of the front brake discs. The problem can be solved by smoothing or machining the discs. If they are too thin to be machined, they must be replaced. This is most common on cars with over 98,000 miles.

Transmission Failure: This is common in older cars with at least 70,000 miles on them. Transmission leaks, skipping or poor shifting can be repaired by overhauling the transmission or replacing it completely.

Electric door lock failure: After approximately 175,000 miles, your Honda's locking system may begin to fail. You may find that only some doors lock when the auto-lock button is pressed. The car's remote control may also not work properly.

Similar problems with the repair of Subaru and Honda

When analyzing the typical repair problems in these 2 brands, you will notice some problems that are common to both brands. However, this does not mean that they are caused by the same problems.

Air conditioning system failure. Subarus and Honda owners have reported situations where the air conditioner blows hot rather than cold air.

In Subarus, this is often caused by worn o-rings sealing the system. This is fixed by replacing the rings and filling the system with coolant. On Hondas, this is due to repeated contact of the condenser with road debris as the condenser is not protected.

Defective head gasket: Head gaskets contain cooling and oil passages. When a seal leaks, one or both of these fluids leak out of or into the engine. If there are leaks in the engine, these fluids enter the combustion chamber. In both cases, the seal must be replaced.


Subaru is a performance brand with a large fan base that doesn't drive Subaru exclusively. On the other hand, Honda was initially a strong competitor to Toyota, whose advantage is affordability and reliability. Later, Honda focused on performance and therefore took on Subaru.

Based on these results, the Subaru proves to be a more reliable car. It is owner-preferred in 2 out of 3 customer surveys and far outperforms Honda in overall brand reliability index.

What clearly pushes Subaru down is the high maintenance cost. Subarus has a higher failure rate and the parts needed for these repairs are more expensive than average.

Frequently asked questions

Why have Subaru's ratings dropped significantly over the years?

The brand's overall reliability is determined on the same basis across all its models. Subaru does not have as many models as other brands, so a low position in one or two models significantly affects the overall ranking. Problems with the onboard technology on the Outback and Legacy models have been responsible for lower overall ratings over the last few years.

Which Honda model is the least reliable?

The Honda CR-V, Civic Hybrid and CR-Z are among the Hondas with the lowest reliability scores. However, they still fare better than some of the top-rated models from other brands. It says something about the brand as a whole.

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