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2020 Subaru WRX Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Subaru WRX Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Base vs Premium vs Limited & STI
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2020 Subaru WRX Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

As a sports sedan, the Subaru WRX definitely places an emphasis on the "sport" part of its description. The 2020 model year shines as the best WRX that Subaru has ever made in terms of handling and performance. This vehicle will definitely impress those who have high expectations for their vehicles, and regardless of which one of the five trims is selected, the WRX is fun and exciting to drive.

The Subaru WRX has great style, as it sits low to the ground and has a rear spoiler and aerodynamic shape. It gets bonus points for being a practical vehicle to drive, with 12 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk. Leg room is a comfortable 43.3 inches in the front and 35.4 inches in the back.

Compare the 2020 Subaru WRX Base Model vs Premium Trim Levels. What is the difference?

Subaru brings a lot of power with its WRX. The base model and Premium run on a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. With 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the car stands out in this department. Take note that the base model is only offered with a fully synchronized six-speed manual transmission, which has Incline Start Assist. An automatic Sport Lineartronic transmission is available on the WRX Premium, and it comes with paddle shifters to give greater control to drivers.

As one might expect, the WRX comes standard with Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive. With this configuration, the car is balanced. Even the BOXER engine is mounted in a central location so as to not weigh the car down more on one side than the other.

Having continuous all-wheel drive means that people don't have to worry about making adjustments in slippery conditions; the car does all the work. Active Torque Vectoring and Vehicle Dynamics Control are some additional systems that boost stability and control. Braking and engine torque can be quickly adjusted if the systems are receiving information about any instability.

With manual transmission, the WRX can earn an estimated 21/27 (city/highway) miles per gallon. This drops slightly to 18/24 miles per gallon when the car is equipped with Sport Lineartronic transmission. Subaru recommends that the car be filled with premium gasoline only.

On the exterior, both the base model and Premium trim have heated side mirrors and trunk spoilers. The base model has 17-inch wheels, slightly smaller than the Premium's 18-inch wheels. A major exterior difference is that the Premium comes with a power moonroof that can slide and tilt open.

These lower two trims both have manually adjustable seats in the driver's position. The back seat is a 60/40 split-bench, and cloth upholstery covers all the seats. While both trims have leather-wrapped shifter handles and steering wheels, only the Premium has heated front seats.

Amenities in the two trims include dual USB ports, an automatic climate control system, and numerous interior compartments. The base model uses a STARLINK 6.5-inch multimedia system that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Pandora radio, Bluetooth, and SiriusXM All Access radio. All things considered, it's an impressive package for a base model. The Premium's screen gets bumped up to a seven-inch one, and it comes with voice-activated controls.

Safety features are similar in both models. They have keyless entry systems, rear-vision cameras, and traction control. With standard brake assist, pressure on the brakes can be automatically applied when a driver suddenly hits the brake pedal. This can be helpful because people can't always continue to apply enough pressure in an emergency situation.

Compare the 2020 Subaru WRX Premium vs Limited Trim. What is the difference?

In terms of engine and performance, the Premium and Limited are powered by the same components. Where they differ comes down to exterior and interior features. Starting with the outside of the car, only the Limited has LED headlights that can adjust to the direction in which the car is turning. The Limited has LED fog lights as well that have an important function in addition to bumping up the overall style of the WRX.

A 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat and leather-trimmed upholstery are only found on the Limited, so this would be something to consider for those who like high-end features. The Limited comes with keyless access, push-button start, and PIN-code vehicle access. For those who like technology, the Limited comes with the option to upgrade to an infotainment system with navigation and a Harman Kardon speaker system.

The Premium comes with the option to include EyeSight technology. This consists of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and pre-collision braking. With the Limited, there are more available options, such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, high beam assist, and reverse automatic braking.

Compare the 2020 Subaru WRX Limited vs STI Trims. What is the difference?

Going from the Limited to the STI comes with a boost in power. The STI runs on a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, and as a result of using a bigger engine, it has 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. The manual transmission used in the STI is a fully synchronized close-ratio six-speed version, which also has the same incline assist feature as the Limited's manual transmission.

The STI comes standard with Subaru Intelligent Drive, which is only an option on the Limited and Premium trims. This system lets drivers choose from various modes, depending on their preferences. Intelligent mode maximizes efficiency and can be ideal for those times when people want to drive carefully. Sport mode optimizes efficiency for the most part, but it also allows the engine to quickly open up when the driver hits the gas pedal. It's great for use on many types of roads, to include highways and suburban streets. Sport Sharp mode is just as it sounds, and it's what one might select on twisty roads or when a lot of acceleration is needed or preferred.

While the STI has the same symmetrical all-wheel drive as the lower trims, it comes with a driver controlled center differential. This differential has manual and automatic modes, giving drivers more control over how to optimize performance with changes in torque distribution.

Fuel economy in the STI is an estimated 16/21 (city/highway) miles per gallon. This small reduction in efficiency is a trade-off with gains in performance. The STI trims requires 91 octane gas, and 93 octane is recommended by Subaru. Two other features distinguish the STI from the Limited in this general category. The STI has high-performance sport-tuned four-wheel independent suspension, and it has a Brembo performance braking system that's better equipped to handle all the power coming from the upgraded engine components.

To match its other upgrades, the STI gets to ride on 19-inch wheels. It has a special STI trunk spoiler and turn signals integrated into its side mirrors. The steering wheel in the STI has a unique design and bright red stitching, and its seats are trimmed with a combination of leather and ultrasuede.

What's interested about the STI is that it's a step down in luxury from the Limited in certain ways. For example, it only has a manually adjustable driver's seat, and it doesn't come with a moonroof.

In the features category, the STI gets a boost to a dual-zone automatic climate control system, but it doesn't have the option to upgrade to an infotainment system with navigation. It also doesn't give drivers the opportunity to get any driver-assist features like the Limited does.

2020 Subaru WRX STI vs STI Limited Trim Levels. What is the difference?

The STI Limited is a more refined version of the STI, as these two trims run on the same engine and have the same performance components. The STI Limited comes standard with the STI trunk spoiler but has the option to change the spoiler to one that has a lower profile.

With the STI Limited, the power moonroof returns to the list of standard features, as does a power-adjustable driver's seat. The driver's seat on this trim can be adjusted in eight different ways, and the front passenger's seat can be manually adjusted in four ways. The front seats on the STI Limited come with a Recaro performance-design with red stitching and an edgier look, which is an option on the STI.

Technology is where the STI Limited stands apart from the STI. It comes standard with integrated navigation, which can be very helpful when trying to avoid traffic or get to a new location without making a wrong turn. Getting turn-by-turn directions straight from the vehicle can be very convenient, and it can also cut down on time spent using a smartphone in the car.

The STI Limited also comes with the Harman Kardon speaker system. With this system, the WRX is equipped with nine speakers and a 440-watt amplifier. It's a noticeable improvement over the standard six-speaker configuration that the other trims have. Subaru has given anyone who gets one of the other trims the option to enhance their speaker systems. All four of the other trims can get an upgrade to higher quality Kicker speakers and tweeters.

Safety is another category in which the the STI Limited does well. It's the only trim to have blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. This driver-assist system can sense whether other vehicles are in a blind spot and will alert drivers in an effort to prevent accidents. Further, it can alert drivers about any vehicles they need to watch out for when reversing out of a parking spot. With so many things going on at once, it can be difficult to always see every other vehicle in the vicinity, and these features can be a significant help in improving one's road awareness.

2020 Subaru WRX: Which Trim to Choose?

Since there are two different engines offered on the 2020 Subaru WRX, the first choice a potential customer has to make is regarding what level of performance is preferred. Most people would be satisfied with the standard 2.0-liter engine, which does well for itself with over 250 horsepower. If this is the case, the Limited is the shining star and the Premium is a solid option. One would just have to decide whether amenities like leather seats are important enough, as both models have moonroofs and heated front seats.

If a driver is focused on the engine as the main determining factor, than the STI is a clear winner. The STI has excellent handling, responsiveness, and acceleration, and it's been carefully designed to fulfill people's expectations. The STI and STI Limited are different in a few ways, notably the infotainment system, but the STI Limited comes at a significantly higher cost.

It boils down to whether the engine upgrade is worth it. If it is, the STI model would be the winner out of these five trims. It would be exciting to drive and would come with plenty of amenities. If the larger engine wouldn't necessarily be appreciated enough to warrant the jump in price, than the Limited would be a great choice. It comes with high-end perks as well as nice performance elements, and this blend of features would be ideal for many people.

Used 2020 Subaru WRX:
Previous Subaru WRX Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Subaru WRX Trim Levels