Subaru: massive price rises across entire range

  • First substantial price increase since 2018
  • CO2 emissions-based fines in part to blame
  • Specification increases, Yen value also factors

If you're thinking about buying a new Subaru in 2020 then we have some bad news: prices have increased across its entire range with the Levorg estate and BRZ coupe ranges the hardest hit, with rises of £3,000 and more than £4,000, respectively.

Across the rest of Subaru’s portfolio, increases of £2,000 see the range suddenly becoming far less competitive.

What has caused the Subaru price rise?

Officially, Subaru has cited that although it hasn’t increased its prices for two years, the increases are 'in part’ due to trading fluctuations between Sterling and the Japanese Yen.

Blue 2019 Subaru Levorg Sport Tourer front three-quarter driving

A Subaru spokesperson confirmed that ‘a small part of our increase this year is due to currency, but equaled with model and specification changes. Also our new e-Boxers [hybrid versions of the XV and Forester] were released in 2019 at an introductory price.’

However, it also confirmed that the European Union’s emissions-based fines on car companies – where sales of cars producing more than 95g/km of CO2 are financially penalised – were a factor in the significant rises.

Even though Britain has left the EU, it will still abide by its laws for the remainder of 2020.

Subaru dropped some of its most polluting vehicles during 2019, such as the 2.0-litre non-hybrid Impreza and XV models, but it did confirm that it will ‘continue to review’ the existing line-up over the course of 2020.

How significant are the Subaru price rises?

These increases see the soon-to-be-replaced Levorg Sport Tourer now cost £33,995 – bizarrely that’s more than the larger Outback model is available from at £32,995.

Elsewhere in the range, the slinky BRZ sports car has jumped to £31,995.

Green 2019 Subaru Forester SUV off-road

That’s £4,165 more expensive than its almost identical Toyota GT86 sister car, although the Subaru has a more generous level of standard equipment.

Impreza, Outback, XV and the recently introduced new Forester also see increases of around £2,000, making the entire range less enticing.

What are these CO2-based fines all about?

Making the air cleaner, essentially, but the changes have been rather draconian, and particularly hurt brands which don’t yet offer fully electric cars.

As of 2020, the EU is phasing-in its new CO2 emissions target of 95g/km whereas previously, it was 130g/km. For every 1g/km of CO2 that a car maker surpasses this average across the models it sells, they are fined €95 – or approaching £81 at the time of publication.

Blue 2019 Subaru XV SUV front three-quarter

With its present mix of models, Subaru’s average CO2 emissions figure will be much higher than the 95g/km target, even following the recent introduction of hybrid versions of its XV and all-new Forester models.

Subaru has confirmed that it’s co-developing a fully electric SUV in tandem with its technical partner Toyota, but this won’t arrive soon enough to ease the 2020 financial burden.

Subaru isn’t the only company to be facing tough choices: Suzuki has instead opted to end sales of its diminutive Jimny in order to not incur excessive fines in future.

What this means for you 

If you’re a Subaru loyalist then the chances are you will stomach the increases and put your purchase timing down to bad luck, but the majority of car buyers consider more mainstream brands ordinarily, making the Japanese company’s range of models even harder to justify against very talented alternatives.

Sales of the BRZ coupe have always been tiny in comparison with its Toyota-badged sibling. This pricing move is unlikely to reverse this trend.

Subaru needs an electric car in its range as quickly as it can.

Further reading:

>> Should you buy a Subaru BRZ over its Toyota twin? Read our full review to find out

>> Is the new hybrid Subaru Forester e-Boxer worth a look for SUV buyers?

>> Race on Sunday, sell on Monday: how good is Subaru’s Levorg compact estate?

Silver 2017 Subaru BRZ coupe rear three-quarter driving