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What's a PZEV?

The Subaru PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) is the affordable, no-compromise, eco-friendly alternative. Although the Subaru PZEV runs on regular unleaded fuel, it offers significant smog-reducing environmental benefits and delivers equal performance compared to non-PZEV cars or SUVs, including hybrids, diesels and alternative fuel vehicles.

A PZEV is classified as the cleanest-running gasoline-powered car on the market and was developed to meet the air quality standards of California, the most stringent in North America. A PZEV must meet the Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) tailpipe standard and have zero evaporative emissions.

View Emissions Ratings


Smog Rating



Rating Scales by Model Year (MY)



MY 2017



Emission Standard




California Air Resource Board


Tier 2

Tier 3




Bin 1










Bin 2





Bin 3

Bin85, Bin70, Bin50




Bin 4

Bin125, Bin110




Bin 5





Bin 6


LEV II option 1



Bin 7




Bin 8

SULEV II lg trucks





ULEV & LEV II lg trucks


Emission standards are for the major pollutants in vehicle exhaust:

  • NMOG, NMHC, or THC—types of carbon-containing compounds, including hydrocarbons
  • NOx—Oxides of Nitrogen, which combine with hydrocarbons to create smog
  • PM—Particulate Matter, tiny particles of solid matter that lodge in the lungs and deposit on buildings
  • CO—Carbon Monoxide, a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas
  • HCHO—Formaldehyde, a lung irritant and carcinogen

Explore Subaru's well-equipped eco-friendly Subaru PZEV models


Subaru PZEVs allow drivers to reduce their impact on the environment while sacrificing nothing by delivering a win-win combination of advantages:

Immediate environmental benefits

Smog is a serious challenge for people with respiratory problems and can cause damage to crops, vegetation and forests. This noxious mixture of gases is formed when sunlight acts upon certain pollutants, which can come from sources such as liquid fuels, solvents and, organic chemicals, or from burning fossil fuels – for example, while running a car engine.

In response, the Subaru PZEV sets new, clean standards for gasoline engines, virtually eliminating the creation of smog-forming pollutants. In fact, it has such stringent pollution controls and the fuel-burning process is so complete, the exhaust produced can actually be cleaner than the air outside – and cleaner than some hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.

No change in performance

No change in performance

You have certain expectations of your Subaru. High-performance from the SUBARU BOXER® engine. All-weather/all-road traction from Subaru symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive. Superior handling from the rally-tested, 4-wheel independent suspension. The Subaru PZEV compromises on none of these attributes.

Hassle-free ownership

Hassle-free ownership

With no special maintenance requirements or unique maintenance schedule, the Subaru PZEV is easy to keep operating at peak efficiency at all times.

Exceptional Safety

Exceptional Safety

All Subaru models equipped with PZEV equipment offer superior passive and active safety systems. There’s our advanced ring-shaped reinforcement frame (a 360-degree barrier of protection for all occupants), symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive (traction and control, in any road or weather conditions) and Subaru EyeSight® (our advanced driver assist technology). Plus, each model consistently receives stellar crash-test results from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Japanese reliability

Japanese reliability

Over 97% of our vehicles sold in Canada over the last 10 years are still on the road today.* This is not only a testament to the inherent quality of our cars, but also a strong statement supporting the Japanese approach to continuous improvement. (And it reveals how much our customers love their cars!)


Unlike other eco-conscious vehicles on the market, the Subaru PZEV represents affordable technology that’s available today.

No complicated technology

A Subaru PZEV vehicle operates exactly the same way as a traditional, gasoline-powered vehicle. The only difference is what doesn’t come out the tailpipes.

Uncompromised versatility

With no special equipment needed – such as a secondary power source – the Subaru PZEV is virtually identical in design to its stable mates within the Subaru line-up. This means that cargo capacity and interior space are not affected at all. Just another way the Subaru PZEV offers a hassle-free driving experience!

No alternative fuels required

The Subaru PZEV runs on regular unleaded fuel – something that is readily available and easy to access at filling stations across North America.

Zero-landfill manufacturing

You’ll also find very little waste created in the production of a Subaru. For many years now, all Subaru vehicles are built in manufacturing facilities that achieve zero landfill status.

Subaru PZEV

How does it work

With Subaru PZEV vehicles, the remarkable reduction of smog-forming emissions is achieved through modifications in four key areas:

Subaru PZEV Catalytic converter

Catalytic converter

A larger and finer mesh of catalyst-lined passageways within a Subaru PZEV catalytic converter greatly contributes to its ability to reduce emissions. Along the entire length of the mesh are precious metals (catalysts) whose role is to change the molecular structure of the offensive emissions that try to pass through. In fact, the contact area is almost twice that of a traditional catalytic converter, producing a much more effective conversion of pollutants.

Subaru PZEV Fuel injectors

Fuel injectors

The fuel injectors on Subaru PZEV vehicles close tighter than conventional injectors to prevent evaporative emissions from fuel leakage into the intake manifold.

Subaru PZEV Dual-filtration air-intake system

Dual-filtration air-intake system

In a conventional vehicle, unburned gas fumes can escape through the engine’s air intake once the engine is shut off. To prevent this, Subaru PZEVs are equipped with a charcoal canister in the air intake that absorbs these evaporative hydrocarbon emissions.

Subaru PZEV Engine Control Module (ECM)

Engine Control Module (ECM)

Vehicle emissions are worst in cold start conditions. Subaru addresses this problem by altering the programming in the Engine Control Module to delay ignition timing, making the exhaust gasses hotter, which helps the catalytic converter heat up sooner, reducing emissions.