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 car that you can parallel park easily, you basically have two options: the Jeep Renegade and the Subaru Crosstrek.
Jeep did 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 fairly few issues reported with the Crosstrek, as it would be a concern if a six-year-old model was already having problems. And while none of them 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 are clunkers, and you might easily find one of them with no problems for reliability. 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, then 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 serious issue, but with how rare it is, you shouldn’t have to avoid the 2017 Crosstrek. The 2019 model similarly has few problems, though there is one notable complaint of 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 that 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 do have to take all of these numbers for each of these model years 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 not develop until a few years down the road as more and more people put over 100,000 miles on their new cars.
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 there are thousands of consumers interacting with the product daily. Most of the problems that have been discovered on the original Crosstrek are fairly 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 is the complaint that 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 there are multiple complaints of this problem. Considering how well received the other model years have been, you would probably be better off avoiding the 2018 model year. While most owners have been fine with their cars, when looking at used cars, the 2016 and 2018 models are the Crosstreks to avoid.
Subaru Crosstrek Problem Counts by Year
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