2020 Subaru Crosstrek Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

We found that the most common problems facing 2022 Crosstrek owners are windshield cracking, engine and powertrain issues

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Now that America demands compact sport utility vehicles, the Subaru Crosstrek has become a popular option. The automaker states that it is “engineered for a long, interesting life.” The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek certainly does provide plenty of adventure, but not always for good reasons. Many owners are faced with faulty electrical systems, windshields that crack spontaneously, sunroofs that explode, and all kinds of powertrain problems. It’s enough to make them lose interest in their SUVs.

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Quick Summary

The most common problem highlighted by complaints lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relates to windshield cracking. Cracks appear quickly and grow rapidly — and there are multiple complaints of recurring cracks in replacement windshields.

While complaints about other systems and components of the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek don’t challenge the windshield cracking numbers, there are also a substantial number of complaints about the electrical system and powertrain.

There is also one recall, although it only relates to the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. This isn’t surprising since at least a third of the complaints about the electrical system come from hybrid owners.

The recall issue is that 8,413 hybrid owners have 12-volt batteries in their vehicles that may not recharge. The issue is that the harness terminal that supplies low-voltage power from the converter to the 12-Volt battery may corrode and break. This will prevent the battery from charging — and if it can’t recharge, there is likely to be a loss of drive power, which increases the risk of a crash.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Power Train
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Fuel/propulsion System
Seat Belts

Faulty Glass

More than half of the problems cited in complaints about the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek are about windshields cracking. Some complaints state that windshields crack spontaneously. Others say that they crack easily from minor impacts. In any case, they state that cracks appear suddenly and they grow quickly. There are also complaints from 2020 Crosstrek owners who say that their windshield replacements have cracked the same way. Additionally, there are complaints about sunroofs shattering.

Adding to the evidence of faulty or substandard glass being used by the automaker, an owner from Colorado tells how the rear door window on the driver’s side exploded while driving. The complaint states that it shattered unexpectedly. The car was only 1.5 years old and no rocks were heading their way!

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Seeing out of the windshield is an essential part of driving, but it becomes impossible when inferior auto glass that cracks with every turn and bump is used. Some owners maintain that their windshields cracked overnight when the vehicle was parked. Many others say they cracked while driving but with no impact. Several owners report that Subaru dealerships won’t repair or replace windshields.

An owner from Pennsylvania was driving at about 60 mph when “the windshield cracked without incident.” It started with a vertical crack on the top edge of the driver’s side that extended about six inches. The crack obstructed her vision while driving, but the local dealer she asked for assistance said they did not repair windshields.

An owner from Illinois also states that he was told that “Subaru does not fix windshields” and that he must call a glass company.

Another owner noticed that the windshield had cracked spontaneously after it had been in the garage overnight. “There were no rocks or other debris that hit the car, and there does not appear to be a point of impact. The crack seems to have occurred spontaneously, with no precipitating event or warning. This is dangerous because it could impair visibility, the functioning of (the) EyeSight camera/safety system, and could easily expand and cause shattering of glass.”

An owner from New York “discovered that the front windshield had developed a crack extending approximately four inches from the top of the windshield to the rearview mirror attachment.” Nothing had made contact with the windshield to cause the crack and the “cause of the failure was not determined.”

Cracking with Minor Impact

An owner from Washington states that after a minor rock chip, no larger than a watch screw, hit the window mount it quickly developed into a four-inch crack over about 12 hours. At the time he was driving on a city street at no more than 40 mph.

An owner from California was also traveling at about 40 mph when the “windshield cracked from a tiny rock” while traveling on a freeway.

After owning a 2020 Crosstrek for three months, “a large round chip has appeared on my windshield. I have not heard any rock or debris while moving or stationary. My friend has the same car and had the exact same problem happen twice.”

In a similar complaint, an owner from Maryland states that a chip appeared on the windshield about two months after purchase  “I do not know exactly when or how this happened and have only been driving on paved roads.”

Multiple Replacements on the Same Car

Many complaints state the problem recurs even after a new windshield is installed. An owner from Georgia states that less than a year after buying a 2020 Crosstrek, the windshield had already developed two cracks. He had the first one filled via an insurance claim. “Both cracks happened while driving on the interstate.”

An owner from California states in a complaint that his windshield has cracked twice and been replaced twice. “Each time, we did not even see (an) impact with a pebble. We just assume that was what caused the crack. My wife and I have been driving for fifty years and this is the first time we have had to replace a windshield. Subaru needs to fix this problem.”

Sunroofs Too

Sunroof glass in the 2020 Crosstrek is also problematic, with owners reporting violent shattering or explosions.

An owner from South Carolina states that the sunroof shattered so violently while driving down the interstate the glass rained down on the driver and passengers. There were no other cars on the road at the time, and no trees overhead.

An owner from California heard “a loud explosion” while driving at 70 mph on an interstate highway in light traffic. “I discovered the moonroof had shattered into tiny pieces. I am positive there were no rocks or structures above.” Luckily, the sliding ceiling was closed “or there would be shattered glass all over the interior.” While nobody was injured, the complaint states that “it was very distracting and could have caused me to lose control.” This owner believes that the glass may have been faulty because “the dealer replaced it at no cost to me.”


There are a variety of electrical issues that 2020 Crosstrek owners have identified. These include charging issues, problems with battery drain, and faulty remote start installations.

An owner from Florida had a remote start installed by the dealership before taking delivery of the car. Two days later, the car would not start. “The Subaru dealership sent a technician to repair the car, rather than towing it to a dealership and repairing it there. The technician confirmed the remote start was defective and rerouted the starting procedure. Since then, the car makes a horrible noise on cold starts. The car was taken in to have the rest of the remote start components removed, but they claimed to know nothing about the sound. We feel these remote starters are unsafe and likely damaging the vehicle’s starter, and possibly other electrical components.”

A charging issue several owners report is that the car isn’t disabled when it is out of Park. An owner from California tells how, when the car moved during charging, “When the car was moved, it broke the connector, exposing the bare pins.” The complaint points out that this is a major hazard that could result in electrocution or fire.

Another complaint from an owner in California states identifies the same issues. A professional electrical engineer, he states that instead of displaying a warning message, it displays “check engine.” Maintaining there are “numerous errors in the control logic,” he states: “If you do restart the ignition with the cable attached — you will not be able to turn off the ignition — only after exiting the vehicle (and) disconnecting the plug will you be able to turn off the vehicle. Not being able to turn off the ignition should not be permitted.”

Battery Drain

An owner from New York complains about repeated battery drains after a few days of not driving. The car won’t start and has to be jump-started.

An owner from Virginia tells a similar story. If the car isn’t used for two or three days, “the battery will have slowly drained down to the point where the car won’t start. It seems that the car’s internal electronics drain the battery down, even if the car isn’t being operated. Even if the car is being operated, the battery is only charged up to about half of a full charge which contributes to the battery drain problem. The dealer says that the car should be started up every day to keep this problem from occurring. But that doesn’t seem reasonable, and is impractical if the car needs to be parked (for) a few days at the airport.”


Complaints about the 2020 Crosstrek paint a picture of a powertrain that can be unreliable and potentially unsafe. The recurring nature of the problems across different vehicles suggests a systemic issue that Subaru needs to address.

Problems include sudden loss of power, shifting issues, and serious transmission problems. Having bought a 2020 Crosstrek new and followed the maintenance schedule, an owner highlights major transmission issues that are unacceptable in terms of quality and safety. First, the transmission started making a whining noise at low speeds when accelerating and backing up. There was also a slight hesitation when accelerating. Then, at 6k miles, the transmission failed. This was confirmed by the dealer and it was replaced. “Now again at 34k miles (there’s the) same issue — transmission confirmed to be (the) issue again by (the) dealer. “

An owner from California describes a terrifying situation where the car loses all acceleration and needs a restart to regain functionality. This has happened repeatedly and the dealer claims it’s a safety feature, which seems unlikely and dangerous. “I feel having my wife and three children in a vehicle that significantly increases the chances for collision is very much the opposite of a safety feature. We have tried working with the dealer over the past 6 months and 3k miles, but need the help of an advocate who can influence the dealer to correct the issue before someone gets hurt or worse.”

An owner from a different part of California states that “while shifting the vehicle into reverse, the vehicle launched forward without warning.” At the time of the complaint, the problem had not been diagnosed.

So What Can I Do?

If you have major problems with your 2020 Subaru Crosstrek that affect your use of the vehicle or its value, there’s a strong possibility that you might have bought a lemon. It’s not unusual. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of lemon owners. So, if you think you are one of them, call the Lemberg Law Helpline or fill out a contact form. We will assess your problems free of charge because the law makes Subaru pay lemon legal fees.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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