All About the Subaru First-Time Buyer Program

Subaru’s first-time buyer program is reserved for soon-to-be or recent college graduates. Click here to learn if you qualify!
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
Subaru's first-time buyer program is limited to recent and soon-to-be college graduates and is only available at participating dealerships. However, even if you don’t qualify, you can leverage plenty of financing strategies to get behind the wheel of your first Suby.
  • At participating Subaru dealerships, eligible college graduates qualify for a $250 or $500 discount and special first-time buyer financing terms.
  • Other financing strategies (like having a co-signer or loan shopping) are available to low-credit first-time buyers who don’t qualify for the program.
  • Some Subaru models (like the Impreza and Forester) are better than others for first-time buyers.

What does the Subaru First Time Buyer program offer?

At participating dealerships, the Subaru first-time buyer program (also called the college graduate financing program) offers a $250 or $500 discount on a new car purchase for drivers who:
  • Will be graduating within six months from an accredited two or four-year college, graduate school, nursing school, or trade school; or have graduated within the last 12 months (must provide a current transcript or proof of graduation).
  • Have proof of employment and a payment-to-income ratio that is less than 15% of gross monthly income.
  • Have no credit history red flags (bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, etc.).
  • Meet all other financing parameters and stipulations.
This program is also much more than just a discount. It allows you to qualify for a financing plan without a substantial credit history. Subaru knows it takes time to build a solid credit reputation and is willing to look past a score for eligible college graduates—helping them kickstart their bright futures.
It’s also worth mentioning that Subaru offers a military discount program for those who decided to opt out of higher education to serve our country. Further details can be found by visiting your local dealership or contacting vipprogram@subaru.com or 1-800-VIP-0933.

Tips for low-credit Subaru financing if you don’t qualify for the First Time Buyer program

If you graduated from college more than 12 months ago—or never attended at all—you won’t qualify for Subaru’s first-time buyer program.
But don’t walk away from your local Subaru dealership with your head hanging low just yet. Even if you don’t have a sufficient credit history, you can leverage these financing strategies to hopefully still get approved!

Pick a vehicle you can afford

You’ll want to use a car loan payment calculator to evaluate your financial bandwidth: what down payment you can afford and what monthly payment you can fit into your budget.
And even if a brand-new car isn’t in the cards, Subaru does have special finance rates for certified pre-owned models (2015 to 2010).
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Compare loan offers from multiple lenders

It’s undoubtedly more convenient to
finance your loan directly through the dealership
, but it’s also the most expensive option. Introducing a third-party lender, such as a bank or credit union, will generally get you a loan with a lower interest rate, less upfront money, and better terms. 
We always advise getting pre-approved for a loan before you ever go to the Subaru dealership. That way, you’ll have something to compare their offer to.

Get an assist from a co-signer

If you don’t meet the financial requirements for a Subaru car loan (or if you simply want a car loan with better terms), you can use a co-signer with a better credit score to qualify. A co-signer, typically a friend or a family member, will assume financial responsibility if you cannot make payments. This gives the lender the financial peace of mind they need to offer you a decent loan.
You also don’t need to have the co-signer for the entire loan duration—it can simply be a kick starter. If your credit or income improves after you buy, you can
take the co-signer off your loan
and
refinance
for a lower interest rate and better terms. 
MORE: How to get a cosigner for a bad credit car loan

Wait a bit

This may not be the solution you want to hear, but it’s sometimes the best option. Waiting to buy will give you more time to improve your credit score and save up for a down payment. To help you power through, here are some ways to improve your credit rating and save on car-related expenses
MORE: Car loans for people with no credit history

The best Subaru models for first-time car buyers

As a first-time car buyer, it’s easy to get tunnel vision around the financing plan. Unfortunately, this means you may lose sight of the bigger picture of car ownership costs, which include fuel, maintenance, and car insurance. So to stay grounded, here are some Subaru models we recommend to first-time car buyers:
  • Subaru Impreza:
    Even though it’s a sedan, the $20,000 MSRP makes it the most affordable Subaru model. It’s also highly reliable, which limits long-term maintenance costs.
  • Subaru Crosstrek:
    With a hybrid engine available, you can spend more on a down payment or finance larger monthly payments if you know fuel savings are coming your way.
  • Subaru Forester:
    This model has incredibly impressive safety ratings, which generally lowers your car insurance rate. Which, again, opens up more money for your financing plan.
  • Certified pre-owned models:
    As mentioned earlier, Subaru also offers special financing rates on pre-owned 2015 to 2010 models. 
“After signing up with
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