Are Subaru XV's reliable?

I am thinking of buying a Subaru XV2.0i-L AWD MY2021. Around 37K driveaway. Test drove it and felt that it was pretty good.

Will be doing a lot of highway driving and around 20K a year.

Can anyone advice if they are reliable?

The consensus does not seem to be consistent. Specially in regards to the CVT. Whirlpool has a lot of posts with CVT failing specially after the car has done 100K.

Any other SUVs should I consider at that price point? I am open to suggestions.

Would appreciate some advice on this matter.



    Suppose it depends on what you want to read

    My parent's have had a number of Sunbies. They love them

    • +1

      But did they have a CVT?

      • Last 15 plus years and they currently have an 2019 Imprezza Hatch

  • Watching this thread with interest as I wanted to know too.

    A mechanic friend told us that the automatic transmission of Subaru is less reliable than the auto variant of the Toyota/Honda. He feels the Mazda transmission is also quite robust.
    Edit: Mechanic friend said if go Subaru best to get the manual transmission for good reliability.

    • A mechanic should know that an auto and CVT are two different things. Subaru are CVT and I don't believe Toyota offers any autos either and have gone CVT. Honda no idea and wouldn't buy one anyway given they may pull out of Australia at any moment. In Australia the only Subarus that are still available with manuals are the WRX and BRZ.

      • Sometime ago last year I think….I read that Honda was reviewing if they wanted to remain in Australia and they confirmed they will? Is this going to change?

        • +2

          They won't stay if they can't make money. They've screwed their dealer network and removed the incentive to compete.

          I think pulling the entry level cars is a dumb idea. Get people in young, give them a great ownership experience and most will re-purchase the same brand.

          Honda management don't seem to have a clue and Honda itself seem to have lost the plot when the GFC occurred.

          They'll be gone by 2025. 2030 at the latest.

      • +4

        Any transmission that does not require the driver to change gears is an automatic transmission. The mechanic was using colloquial language to describe this, whether it is an epicyclic auto, a CVT or a DCT is irrelevant.

        He’s also right about the Subaru CVT.

      • +1

        CVT's are considered an auto. Since you don't have to shift gears.

        I think you mean to say torque converter when you say auto, because for a long time thery were about the only auto cars you could get. So people felt no need to differentiate them

  • Subaru had issues with their first gen CVT. AFAIK it's been fixed and they were confident enough that IIRC they gave owners of those effected vehicles an extended 10 year warranty. I intended to buy an XV but am too impatient to wait for the current waiting period. Subarus have always had a decent reputation for reliability, certainly on par with other Japanese brands. I just last week got rid of a 15 year old Forester that never had a single mechanical issue.

  • Can anyone advice if they are reliable?

    Waiting for someone to correct this sentence… 😆

    Subarus are good cars and generally quite 'bulletproof'. If serviced properly and looked after, it should last years and years. I personally find the styling quite bland, but of course, everyone's got a different idea of what looks good and what doesn't.

  • +2

    I've had a gen2 that was a POS but that might have been an anomaly.

    Also had an Outback with CVT and didn't have any issues in the 60k we had it.

    My Sister and my old landlord both have XVs. Both happy. I think they are a bit gutless and all Subarus are a bit heavy on fuel IMO.

    • The fuel consumption is due to the full-time AWD, as opposed to the much more common on-demand AWD systems.

      • +2

        I'm aware of that having owned 2.

        The Gen2 RX averaged 11l/100km. The Outback was similar. Both needed a good prod of the accelerator to get moving. My Octavia is about 20% quicker and averages 7l/100km so there's more at play than just constant AWD.

        If they did the XV with one of the peppier turbo engines I'd be onto to it like a fat kid on cake.

  • Every brand has something on some forum that a select group complain about. For example, my wife has a Mazda 3, which is great but the transmission control module consistently cracks as its position in an area that gets hot and then fails… $1000k for a refirb unit minimum . Does that mean you should not buys one… No, it's like any car, complex beasts that all have their weak points. First issue becomes the reason you should not buy it… Blah blah blah.

    I have a Subaru outback for 9 years, bullet proof, zero defects, zero issues. OK I only do 6 to 8k a year but for me as reliable as any other car that you keep serviced. And I bought as an ex demo with 10km clock.

    I agree styling is nothing amazing, but I value to AWD, never twitches on the road. The only negative is the 2.5L 4cyl doesn't have the same grunt as my previous magna AWD V6, now that was fun due to low centre of gravity.

    As for fuel…. I get around 8L to 8.5/100km round town and 4.5 L/100km when on a highway cruise for a few hundred km, the AWD will cost you a bit but no really issue

  • Subaru have had this imagine for a while, people drive there cars like nut jobs and or crank up the boost without proper engine work and the engine blows (head gasket) or gearbox breaks and they have a cry. As we all know its never any ones fault!

    CVTs are not perfect but under normal operation and conditions they should perform okay, not sure if Subaru have a service schedule for the CVT but they do have to be serviced and it may not be in the service log which can cause issues. Apparently for the Toyota CVTs even though they say its a sealed box (no maintenance life time oil), they are supposed to check the oil quality at service and there is no set time for the service to occur from what i was told.

  • +4

    Around 37K driveaway.

    Holy shit they are expensive. They are basically an Impreza with higher suspension and black plastic - either get an Impreza and save heaps or a 1-2 year old Forester for the same. XVs are much smaller than they look, with a tiny boot and they are gutless. Not worth $37k!!

    I've never seen the point of offroad capability in such a small car. You can't fit a big esky and two bags in the boot. A big dog can not stand up there!

    • +1

      The XV is basically a carbon copy of the Forester from 1990s. It was $30k then and the XV is a $30k price bracket car.

      Folks love it basically it is exactly the same. Now unless people in the 1990's were midgets going off road, you'd probably be fine doing some adventuring in a current XV.

      • The XV is basically a carbon copy of the Forester from 1990s.

        Exactly this. I had an '06 Forester that I just got rid of and for me it was the perfect size. I did a lot of long road trips and camping in it and was never short on space. The XV is very similar in size and so that was a large "pro" when I was looking around

    • Had two Foresters before and I've got an XV now and you're pretty spot on. I don't have kids so can always pop down the seats.

      It is much nicer to drive than its big brother.

    • +1

      But that's the appeal — an Impreza with 8" of ground clearance 😁

  • +1

    I have the original forester with CVT circa 2013. It has done just over 100K. Has always been serviced every 3-6 months.
    I have also had to be replace rear hub bearings. I have had to replace driveshaft and control arms.
    I have been through two batteries due to the stop/start.
    I have also had the key stuck in ignition issue.

    Engine wise, no issues. (touch wood). It's a bit sluggish and boring, but does the job. ("It's a road not a race track")

    Would I buy another one? - hard to say. I think I paid $35k or so.
    I would probably go a Kia and get the long warranty and fixed price servicing.

    Would I pick up a well maintained second hand Forester (circa 2013+) - for under $10k - definitely!

    • have also had to be replace rear hub bearings

      Do you know if this is the cause of the symptom where it sounds like there's mechanical gear kind of grinding noise coming from the rear axle? Intensity/volume determined by speed?

      • Sorry for slow response. Most of the noises I detected came from the front of the car in the wheel area either when turning the wheel or on the highway with speed (control arms). The noise on highway almost sounded alternator like. Unfortunately I've got zero experience when it comes to car noise. So don't use any of my advice!

  • +1

    have impreza for 10 years now, xv just a slightly jacked up version of impreza with a smaller boot. Subaru's definitely reliable from my experience.
    impreza is cheaper unless you want/need the extra height - does help a bit with getting in and out and kids.
    due to AWD it's a bit more thirsty than similar cars.
    if you've test driven it and you're ok with CVT then guess it's ok - other competing cars will definitely feel more snippy and no CVT droning.
    honestly go test drive the others and make the call from there.

    • This is like some chinglish AliExpress description.

      • Mentioning KAMAZ (a heavy truck made in Russia) makes me thing of Runglish rather than Chinglish.

        • I applaud you for getting that far along that you got to that point, I quit well before that.

  • I've owned a Subaru XV MY17 since Dec 16. Not sure I know how to quantify your question, but I've never had to do any repairs under warranty or anything? Stuffing a tyre was a more expensive exercise than expected as all the tyres need a similar wear on them due to the AWD though

  • +1

    My wife has a 16 XV and she likes it.
    I think it is really just a jacked up Impreza and I find the driving position uncomfortable.
    I also think the size makes it a bit too small to be useful, so I would have preferred the Forrester, but the wife likes it.
    I would much rather drive my Mazda 3 SP25, even with the lower sight-lines.

  • -1

    Is there any real reason why you need SUV? there's too many in the city already

  • Bought a 2014 (MY15) XV at 80,000km and 5 years old … overall it has been pretty good and I still really like the car, but my transmission failed at less than 90,000km — had to pay for a complete replacement (~$3k for used wrecker part of similar vintage). 😓 Honestly expecting it to fail again in the next 5 years… and ironically I had moved to Subaru mainly to avoid the DSG debacle in the golf series… 🤦‍♂️ I wasn't aware it was a common thing in the XV before I bought it.

    Was not a fan of the CVT even before that… it is a bit noisy, and not very smooth around 30-40km/hr.
    It totally is just a jacked up impreza, but that's what I like about it. Yes the boot is tiny, but most of the compact SUV's are like that. Compare with Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX30 etc.

  • +1

    I had a 2014 xv which was written off at 45kkm and a 2018 xv we still have with 36kkm

    Zero issues so far.

    The 2014 one was written off because it got flooded. The water mark was half way up the door on one side and 1/3 up the door the other side.

    When we discovered it the next morning, still in its same spot, but with watermarks.

    Opened door, soggy carpet, water in door pockets. The interior watermark was 10cm below the fusebox.

    I opened the hood and checked the air filter was still dry.

    Then,… I started the car

    Water came out of the exhaust like a tap and then it started the first time. A bit groggy but it got going. An airbag light was on and the seat warmers were shorted out. I removed the fuses for the seat warmers an cig lighter. Then the airbag light turned off.

    So .. we all hopped into the car and continued our holiday.

    The car was slow from the wet soggy carpet and seats. One speaker worked as the rest were wet.

    Over the day the other speakers came back.

    A thousand km later. Lodged it with the insurance company and they wrote it off

  • I think if you go looking on forums you will find plenty of stories of people with problems with any model of car. That does not mean they are bad, just people complain about the ones that have issues. I also agree with those that say the car is basically an Impreza raised a little. For me in the Subaru line it would be Impreza or Forester.

  • I had one for my company car for three years. Mostly Hume highway driving. I really didn't like the CVT but the car was fantastic to drive unless you were in bumper to bumper traffic. This is when the CVT showed up to be a pain. It behaved like a manual car hopping and a bit scary at times because it would jump forward. Could have been just this car but the mechanics couldn't find anything wrong with it. I test drove a lower spec one and it didn't do it - that I can remember. The sat nav and reversing camera definition is great - very crisp. Now driving a Toyota Rav4 and the reversing camera and sat nav is terrible. The XV was very reliable and zippy to drive, beautiful car - just the CVT was an issue. The Rav4 also has CVT but not an issue but it is a bigger car - if that makes a difference. I suppose everyone will have different experiences. Good luck.

  • I have owned five Subbies. I currently have a 2015 Liberty 3.6R with 158K and a 2016 WRX (auto) with 130K. No issues with either car so far. I have never had any mechanic issues with my previous 3 subbies. My first subby was a 2000 Liberty that I eventually traded in after 380K.

  • 2013 XV owner here. Just gone past 101K kms on the clock. No major mechanical problems to speak of [touches wood or at least wood veneer surface].

    A reliable—if vanilla—car. My main gripes are its smaller size (I'm 6′4″ so most things are small for me) and limited boot space (it is merely a raised-up hatchback after all). I'd get a towbar if buying another one.

  • -2

    If OP has any reservations then DON'T BUY !!!!

  • Owned 3 Subarus over 25 years. Two, including the current one, for 200k Klms/10yrs+ and have been more than happy.
    I recently posted a pic of my current (2008) dash with some sticky patches appearing. They initiated contact to assist with the issue. I'm not sure many companies would to that.

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