2020 Subaru ImprezaPerformance • Comparisons
One unique feature of the Impreza is that it offers all-wheel drive. It's not always easy to find all-wheel drive on a compact car. Those models that do offer all-wheel drive usually do so as an option. For the Impreza, this is a standard feature. This makes the Impreza a good performer for all weather conditions.
What's New for 2020?
The 2020 Impreza is in its fifth design generation. This generation hasn't changed a lot in the last three years. For 2020, Subaru has given the Impreza a few cosmetic updates. The grille and front bumper get a makeover. Some models also get updates to their headlamps and taillights.
Subaru offers a new color called Ocean Blue Pearl for the 2020 models. The Limited and Sport trims get new driving modes. Both now come with a newly designed set of wheels. The Sport trim also gets new door panels and upholstery covers. EyeSight Driver Assist is now standard for Limited and Sport trims in the sedan configuration.
EyeSight Driver Assist includes a number of high-tech features. This system monitors nearby moving objects. It also gives drivers a heads up if they wander too far out of their own lane. Last of all, it optimizes cruise control for the Impreza.
The Pros and Cons of the 2020 Subaru Impreza
✅ All-wheel drive is standard.
As previously mentioned, the Subaru Impreza is one of only a few compact cars to offer all-wheel drive. Best of all, it comes stock on every model of the Impreza. This means that drivers will enjoy better traction and control during most weather conditions. This feature makes for an overall safer driving experience too. All-wheel drive also enhances a vehicle's steering and handling in general.
Subaru uses their own symmetrical all-wheel drive system for maximum stability and safety. The system works together with the Impreza's horizontally-opposed Boxer Engine. These features help the Impreza to offer a smooth and comfortable ride.
✅ It's an all-around safe vehicle.
There are two organizations that are the gold standard for assessing vehicle safety. These are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They are more commonly referred to by their abbreviations of NHTSA and IIHS. The 2020 Subaru Impreza earns high marks from both of these groups.
The NHTSA and IIHS both conduct extensive crash tests. All models of the Impreza fair well in such tests. This is especially true of the models equipped with Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist. A well-engineered frame and tons of standard safety features help to keep the driver and passengers safe and secure.
✅ The interior is roomy and comfortable.
Regardless of the configuration, the interior offers ample room. The interior feels roomier than what one would expect from a compact car. Rear passengers will enjoy plenty of headroom and legroom. Entering and exiting the vehicle is easy for both rows of seats.
Hatchback models of the 2020 Subaru Impreza have slightly less room for passengers. They make up for this, however, with greatly expanded cargo space. Hatchback models offer 20.8 cubic-feet of storage space. The back seats can be let down to expand the cargo area. In this configuration, the Impreza hatchback offers an impressive 55.3 cubic-feet of space.
✅ Subaru's Impreza offers impressive fuel economy.
One of the best reasons to select any car is the fuel-economy rating. The initial cost of a new Impreza isn't the only thing to consider when it comes to overall value. Good fuel economy can continue saving an owner money at the gas pump for the lifetime of the vehicle. The 2020 Subaru Impreza does really well in this category.
The fuel-economy numbers will vary slightly depending on the specific trim level. Most drivers should see around 28 mile-per-gallon in the city. Driving on the highway yields results of around 36 miles-per-gallon. These numbers are impressive when compared to competing vehicles.
❌ The engine gets loud during acceleration.
The Subaru Impreza has an efficient engine that performs well. Unfortunately, it can get a bit loud at times. This is especially true during heavy acceleration. The Impreza offers an otherwise quiet interior. Subaru has done a fine job of mitigating most outside noise. The engine, however, can be heard loud and clear when it is pushed hard. It's not a pleasant sound, but luckily it's not something that drivers will have to listen to all of the time.
❌ The interior materials could be better.
The design of the Subaru Impreza interior is spot on. It's a comfortable and spacious interior. The fit and finish is excellent. The control layout it smart. The gauge cluster is modern and attractive. A few of the interior materials could do with an upgrade, though. They're not exactly cheap. They just don't quite match the higher-end quality found on some competing cars in this class of vehicle. Considering all of the pros of the interior, this may seem like a minor complaint for a lot of drivers.
Configurations / Trim Levels
It was previously mentioned that the Subaru Impreza comes in two different configurations. There's a four-door sedan model and a hatchback. Both configurations come in four different trim levels. These are listed below.
The Base Model
The Base model of the Impreza represents excellent value. The sedan and hatchback versions share most of the same standard features and options. The hatch gets a roof spoiler and of course there is the extra storage space in back. All trim levels come with the same engine. This model comes stock with a manual transmission.
The Base model features 16-inch steel wheels with covers. These are fitted with a set of all-season tires. Subaru throws in a spare tire for every trim. On the outside of the Impreza, there are halogen headlights and black folding side mirrors. On the inside, the seats are comfortable but basic. They have cloth upholstery and can be adjusted manually.
Every trim level of the Impreza gets power locks, windows and side mirrors. All models share the same three-spoke steering-wheel design. The steering wheel has integrated controls for the infotainment system. The Base trim gets a basic heating and air conditioner setup.
This trim has Subaru's Starlink infotainment center with a 6.4-inch screen. This includes an AM/FM radio and connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sound system in this trim comes with four speakers. Bluetooth connectivity and an auxiliary jack provide some options for the driver to play their favorite music.
The Premium model of the Impreza is the first trim to include Subaru's EyeSight Driver-Assist Technology. The engine is once again the same, but the transmission system is an automatic CVT this time around. The CVT was only optional for the Base trim level. The wheels get upgraded to aluminum-alloy models with a black, machined finish.
For the exterior, upgrading to the Premium model adds on fog lights. The exterior mirrors now come painted to match the body color. They also now offer a heating feature for quick defrosting. A sliding-glass moonroof is optional for the Premium sedan or hatchback.
The Premium hatch gets a cover for the cargo area. The steering wheels on both Premium models now have paddle shifters. The CVT is an automatic transmission, but drivers will still be able to control the simulated shifting. The seats now have heating up front. They also now come with the option for power adjustments.
The infotainment system gets a few upgrades for the Premium trim. Users can now access many Cloud-based applications. A CD player and a large LCD touchscreen are added on here. The sound system at this level offers six speakers instead of just four.
The Sport models of the Impreza go back to offering a five-speed manual transmission. They still offer the option for the automatic CVT as well. This trim also has the Subaru Intelligent Drive system. This system gives drivers two distinct driving modes to choose from. It does this by regulating the engine-control unit and fine tuning the electronic throttle.
The Sport trims come with 18-inch alloy wheels and a set of all-season tires. The exterior mirrors get the addition of integrated turn signals. Side rocker spoilers are added on to give the car a more aggressive look. These are painted to match the body color.
On the inside of the Sport model, the infotainment system gets yet another upgrade. This time drivers get the Subaru Starlink Multimedia Plus system. This version offers a larger, 8-inch touchscreen display. Magellan navigation is now integrated into the system. Drivers still get all of the previous connectivity options too.
The sound system for this trim level remains the same as before. All of the same safety features that were present on the Premium models can be found here too. Last of all, the Sport models feature Active Torque Vectoring. This provides better handling and cornering. It helps add to the sportier driving experience of this model.
The Impreza Limited models provide the best of what Subaru has to offer. As usual, the Limited trim level is available as a sedan or as a hatchback. We once again get the same engine. The Limited goes back to coming stock with the CVT transmission system.
The Limited trim has all of the great features offered on previous models and then some. EyeSight Technology makes a return. Once again, we get the same great engine and performance stats. Like all trims, the Limited offers symmetrical all-wheel drive. The addition of steering-responsive headlights makes seeing at night more clear than ever.
The Limited hatchback models come with silver-painted, raised roof rails. This is nice for some extra cargo-storing options. The seats now feature leather trim. The steering wheel is also wrapped in leather for the Premium package. The seats still offer heating up front and multi-way power adjustments.
One new addition for this trim package is automatic climate control. Three new safety features are added for this trim. These are blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a lane-change assist. The infotainment system gets its final upgrade with a complete navigation system. An 8-speaker system from Harman Kardon is only available for the Limited trim.
For a detailed comparison of these trim levels, see our recent research into the 2020 Subaru Impreza Trim Level Comparisons and Configurations. ›
Driving Impressions and Performance
The Subaru Boxer engine is a unique power plant. This is what is known as a horizontally-opposed engine. The main benefit of this type of engine is its stability and smooth operation. It often makes for a smoother ride than what the standard engine type provides. In this configuration, the opposing pistons move in and out at the same time, creating a perpetually-balance weight distribution. This leads to less engine vibrations. The engine is also efficient, with good fuel-economy numbers. This is especially true in models equipped with a manual transmission system.
The Impreza is equipped with a 2.0-liter Boxer engine that produces 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The transmission system will either be an automatic CVT or a 5-speed manual setup. Both transmission systems work well. Acceleration isn't exactly sporty, but it gets the job done in this lightweight vehicle. The symmetrical all-wheel drive means excellent steering and handling. This really comes in handy during rough weather conditions.
The engine is as smooth as one would expect a Boxer engine to be. There are no engine vibrations to be felt anywhere. The suspension system soaks up most of the road bumps and vibrations as well. Cornering is decent with very little body roll on either the sedan or hatchback models. Steering is surprisingly tight and accurate. Braking is smooth and firm. It has one of the best braking distances in its class.
The acceleration here is below average for this class of vehicles. The steering and handling, however, mostly make up for that. The handling and braking are definitely above average among compact cars. The smooth ride quality and comfortable interior make for an overall pleasant driving experience. The 2020 Subaru Impreza won't be burning up any race tracks. It does provide a nice driving experience for daily commutes, though.
Every trim level shares most of the same safety features for the 2020 Impreza. One notable exception is the EyeSight Driver-Assist technology. This is optional for both Base models and for the Sport hatchback. It's standard on every other model. The Limited models get blind-spot detection, lane-change assist and cross-traffic alert. These are available as options for the Premium and Sport trims. They are completely unavailable for the Base models. Last of all, the Limited trims get reverse automatic braking, which is unavailable on all other trim levels.
Vehicle Dynamics Control comes equipped on every model. This system monitors the steering angles, wheel speeds and braking pressure. It can even apply brake pressure and change the engine torque to make corrections for driving errors or mishaps due to traction issues and road conditions.
Every Impreza offers anti-lock brakes, brake assist and a brake override system. Brake assist applies maximum brake pressure for quick stops during an emergency situation. The override system reduces the accelerator functions when both the gas pedal and brake pedal are accidentally pressed at the same time. A traction-control system helps keep the power to all four wheels, or to the wheels that need it the most.
Daytime running lamps increase the Impreza's visibility while out on the road. A tire-pressure monitor looks out for underinflated or overinflated tires. There's also a rear-vision camera to help drivers get a better view of what's behind them. Every Impreza comes with an ample amount of airbags. There are dual-stage bags up front for the driver and passenger. There are supplemental side airbags for the front occupants as well. The driver also gets an extra bag for knee protection. Side-curtain bags protect passengers in front and in the rear seats.
Subaru's Starlink Safety system offers a number of nice features during an emergency. There are remote services and diagnostics tools. There is also SOS emergency assistance, roadside assistance and automatic collision notification. Every trim level also comes with an engine immobilizer and an anti-theft car alarm.
The interior of the Impreza offers more space than it seems possible in a compact car. No matter which trim is chosen, there is 39.8-inches of headroom up front and 38-inches for the rear-seat occupants. There is also 43.1-inches of legroom in front and 36.5-inches in back. The headroom numbers dip slightly in vehicles with a moonroof installed. Overall, there is a passenger volume of between 97.5 cubic feet to 100.9 cubic feet, depending on the model.
The main star of the show for interior features is the Starlink Infotainment system. This comes with a large, HD touchscreen display screen. This screen ranges between 6.5-inches to 8-inches depending on the trim level. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Aha and Pandora app integration are all included. Bluetooth technology is includes for some hands-free phone use or streaming of music from smart devices.
The infotainment center is equipped with an AM/FM stereo and may include a CD player at higher trim levels. Devices can also be connected or charged via multiple USB ports. The upgraded Starlink system provides even more app integration. Some of these include Yelp and iHeart radio. The sound system is already setup for SiriusXM too. The highest level of Starlink even has a full navigation system. Most models also offer 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity.
Hatchback models offer retractable cargo covers at the higher trim levels. They also come with two grocery-bag hooks and four tie-down hooks to secure your cargo. Most models have a center console with two cup holders. The Limited trim also gets a fold-down center console with cup holders for the rear-seat passengers. Every trim has a bottle holder in each door panel. There is a nice amount of small-item storage spaces throughout the cabin.
Exterior Color Options
While there isn't a ton of data on the 2020 models yet, the Impreza has a great track record for reliability. In fact, it's one of the longest-lasting compact cars currently on the market. Over 97% of the Subaru Imprezas sold over the last decade are still out on the road today. As a result of such reliability, the Impreza also retains its value better than most competing vehicles in this class.
The Subaru Boxer engine has a long history of durability and reliability. The Impreza was designed from the frame up to be long lasting. The high-strength steel frame was made for longevity and vibration resistance. J.D. Power and Associates gives vehicles a quality score based on the accounts of thousands of unbiased car owners. They gave the 2019 Impreza a "Great," rating of 75 for reliability.
In the unlikely event that something does go wrong, Subaru stands by their products. They give the 2020 Subaru Impreza a decent amount of warranty coverage. The basic warranty covers the Impreza for up to 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. The powertrain is actually covered for up to 5 years or 60,000 miles.
How Does It Compare
The market for compact cars is a crowded one. The Impreza faces some stiff competition. Here are five of the top competitors in this class of vehicle. It's interesting to note that many of them are also from Subaru.
2020 Subaru Impreza vs 2020 Subaru Legacy
The Impreza comes in at a much lower base price than the Legacy. The Legacy offers some more interior space. It's actually more of a mid-sized sedan than a compact car. It doesn't offer a hatchback version with the added cargo space like the Impreza does.
The Legacy has a larger, more powerful engine than the Impreza. It comes equipped with a 2.5-liter Boxer engine. This cranks out 182 horsepower compared to the Impreza's 152 horsepower. It offers noticeably better torque and acceleration. For even better performance, the Legacy also has 2.4-liter turbocharged option. This model produces an impressive 260 horsepower with 277 pound-feet of torque.
The Legacy is a more upscale choice with higher-quality interior materials. Many of the safety features and driver-assist technologies can be found on both vehicles. Which one is best will largely depend on what the buyer is looking for. The low cost of the Impreza may make it the best value for some drivers.
2020 Subaru Impreza vs 2020 Subaru Crosstrek
When comparing the Impreza and the Crosstrek, the first things that stand out are the exterior designs. The Impreza sedan has a stylish and sophisticated look. The hatchback looks classy yet practical. The Crosstrek is an entirely different beast. This vehicle is a crossover SUV. It sports an aggressive and rugged appearance.
The Crosstrek was designed as a blend between the car and the SUV. It offers extra cargo room and good off-road performance while still providing a car-like driving experience. The Impreza is more of a basic daily driver. Technically, since both offer all-wheel drive, either could go a bit off the beaten path. However, the Crosstrek offers some extra design elements for real off-road performance.
Once again, Subaru offers much of the same tech and safety equipment here. The Impreza is still an excellent value and will be a better choice for many drivers. It again comes in at a significantly lower base price.
2020 Subaru Impreza vs 2020 Subaru WRX
The WRX started life as a trim level for the Impreza. Today, the WRX is its own unique model. Both are compact vehicles. The Impreza is going for a more classy aesthetic, while the WRX is unashamedly a sports car. The Impreza offers the Sport trim package and the hatchback, but the WRX is a true performance or rally car.
Like before, the Impreza comes in at a much lower base price. The WRX offers some serious power that the Impreza just can't keep up with. Depending on the model and engine choice, the WRX will crank out 268 to 310 horsepower. Both have similar interior features and quality.
The Impreza wins out when it comes to cargo space. The Impreza and WRX share the same safety features and options for the most part. Both also offer the same Starlink infotainment systems. Which one is best depends on if the driver prioritizes practicality or performance.
2020 Subaru Impreza vs 2020 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic has been one of the best-selling cars in North America for some time now. This is for good reason. It offers a nice balance of style, performance and reliability. The Civic and Impreza are similarly priced, but the Impreza base cost does come in at a lower number.
The Civic and Impreza have similar base horsepower and fuel-economy numbers. The Honda Civic edges out the Impreza in performance with some of its sportier trim levels. Both vehicles come in sedan and hatchback variations. The sedan versions have nearly identical interior-room dimensions.
The interiors of both vehicles are well designed. The Impreza edges out the Civic by a bit when it comes to overall comfort and ride quality. When comparing the hatchback versions, the Impreza offers more room in the cargo area. Both cars provide a good amount of safety features and driver-assist technology.
2020 Subaru Impreza vs 2020 Mazda3
For the last comparison, the Subaru Impreza again comes in at a lower cost. This makes the Impreza one of the best value buys of any of these vehicles. The Mazda has a slightly bigger engine with more horsepower. The Mazda3 2.5-liter I-4 cranks out around 186 horses compared to the 152 horsepower of the Impreza.
When it comes to engine efficiency, these two cars are almost identical. The Mazda3 fuel-economy rating edges out of the Impreza by 2 miles-per-gallon in the city. Interestingly, the Impreza beats out the Mazda3 by 1 mile-per-gallon while driving on the highway. The differences here are obviously negligible.
The Mazda3 sedan has slightly more room in the trunk. Both cars offer a hatchback model. In this configuration, the Impreza has a lot more cargo space. Other than the price differences, these two compact cars are pretty evenly matched.