It may not be the most stylish or fun-to-drive compact car, but when it comes to safety, reliability and all-weather capability, the 2020 Subaru Impreza wagon and sedan are nearly impossible to beat. While not intended for off-road use (you’ll want to look to the Crosstrek for that), the Impreza‘s permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive provides excellent grip on dry pavement and superior traction in snow and rain. Built from Subaru‘s new global platform, the 2020 Impreza is remarkably quiet and composed. It’s also impressively roomy inside, with a large rear seat, wide cabin and decent cargo space.
While the Impreza’s 152-horsepower engine isn’t going to impress driving enthusiasts, it’s good enough to get the Impreza where it needs to go, making the sprint to 60 miles per hour in about 9 seconds. That might seem slow compared with other cars — such as the Mazda3, the Honda Civic and the VW Golf — until one considers the added weight and power requirements demanded by the Impreza’s AWD setup. However, despite needing to power an extra set of wheels, the Impreza’s fuel economy remains on par with that of most of its front-wheel-drive competitors, none of which can tackle a snow-covered road with the same confidence-inspiring grip as the Subaru.
What’s New for 2020?
The EyeSight suite of driver assists is made standard on all models with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). A Rear Seat Reminder that reminds the driver to check the rear seat before leaving the vehicle is available across the line, while automatic power locks with a collision-detection unlock feature are now standard. The 2020 Impreza gets a mild front-end makeover, while the Sport and Limited trims tout new wheel designs and Si Drive. New standard equipment for the Limited includes blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert. See the 2020 Subaru Impreza models for sale near you
What We Like
- Sleek design
- Impressive fuel economy
- Generous rear-seat legroom
- Quiet cabin
- Quality materials
- Excellent safety ratings
What We Don’t
- Weak engine
- Limited rear-seat headroom
- No lumbar support adjustment
The Impreza is powered by a direct-injection 2.0-liter flat 4-cylinder boxer engine making 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed manual is standard on the base and Sport trims, with a CVT automatic standard on all other trims. Despite having standard AWD, the Impreza sedan returns fuel economy figures of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the manual and 28 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with the CVT automatic. City fuel economy increases by 1 mpg for the 5-speed manual hatchback model. The Impreza Sport posts slightly lower figures of 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy (hatchback) with the 5-speed manual and 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy (sedan) and 27 mpg city/35 mpg hwy (hatchback) with the CVT.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Subaru Impreza comes in two body styles — a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback — and four trims: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Sport and 2.0i Limited. Pricing below includes the $900 destination fee.
The Impreza 2.0i ($19,595 sedan; $20,095 5-door) includes a 5-speed manual transmission, 16-in wheels with plastic covers, steering-wheel-mounted controls for cruise control, audio and Bluetooth, STARLINK 6.5-in touchscreen media with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, a rearview monitor, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, incline-start assist, remote keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column and an eco-fuel economy gauge. The 5-door adds a rear wiper/washer. Options for this trim are limited to the CVT automatic that brings EyeSight (adaptive cruise control, collision-avoidance and automatic braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist), rear-door reminder, power trunk release (sedan), 4.2-in color LCD display, tire pressure monitor and a few dealer-installed add-ons, including a very affordable $500 Rockford Fosgate speaker and amp upgrade.
The Impreza 2.0i Premium ($22,995 sedan; $23,495 5-door) adds a CVT automatic transmission with a 7-speed manual shift mode, improved suspension dampers, 16-in alloy wheels, upgraded STARLINK audio with satellite radio and two additional speakers (for a total of six), the All-Weather Package (heated seats, heated side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer), welcome lighting, a sound insulation windshield and illuminated power window switches on all doors. The 5-door models gain roof rails and a rear cargo cover. Options for the Premium trim include a power moonroof, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, a power driver’s seat and keyless access with push-button start and PIN code access.
The Impreza 2.0i Sport ($24,395 sedan; $23,795 5-door) brings back the 5-speed manual transmission (5-door only) and adds Si Drive, a sport-tuned suspension, active grille shutters, 18-in alloy wheels, active torque vectoring, aluminum pedals, red stitching on the dash, seats, steering wheel and shifter, simulated carbon fiber trim, an 8-in STARLINK media system with a single-CD player, SiriusXM, a rear spoiler and exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. Options are the same as for the Premium trim, with one exception being the Harman Kardon audio upgrade.
The Impreza 2.0i Limited ($26,695 sedan; $27,195 5-door) brings the CVT automatic, 17-in alloy wheels, leather seating, automatic climate control, a 6-way power driver’s seat, automatic high beams, steering-responsive LED headlights, blind spot detection with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic detection, Si Drive, fog lights, a color LCD monitor, keyless access with push-button start and a rear-seat armrest with cup holders. Options include a power sunroof, voice-activated navigation and a 432-watt 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Every Impreza includes front, front-side-impact, side-curtain and driver’s-knee airbags. Also on board is electronic traction and stability control, a tire pressure monitor, a rearview monitor and, on manual models, incline-start assist. Available safety equipment includes the EyeSight driver-assist suite with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. Also optional is blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and reverse automatic braking.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2020 Impreza its highest rating of five stars in every crash test. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gives the Impreza its highest rating of Good in every crash test category, a Superior rating in the crash-avoidance and mitigation test and a Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Behind the Wheel
The 2020 Subaru Impreza is an impressive car for a number of reasons. Its stiff body and responsive steering engender a feeling of solidity not usually associated with a compact car. The Impreza’s interior shuts out most engine and road noise, and the seats are not only supportive, but they’re also incredibly comfortable, even after hours on the road. We do wish Subaru would offer adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat, however. As for legroom, this 6-foot-plus driver had no issues with the ample legroom, and even with my seat nearly all the way back, rear-seat passengers still had decent knee room and legroom.
The Impreza’s 2.0-liter engine includes a direct-injection system that allows the engine to operate more efficiently. Still, with only 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, the Impreza isn’t going to win over any Mazda3, VW Golf or Hyundai Elantra owners — that is, until there’s seven inches of snow piled up in their driveways. This lack of power, coupled with the added weight of the Impreza’s AWD system, makes for a lukewarm acceleration time of about 9 seconds to reach 60 mph — nearly double the time of the WRX STI. Passing power is also in short supply, but the paddle shifters on the CVT do help a bit in this area. The CVT does have its upsides: It delivers smooth, shift-free acceleration and great gas mileage.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Mazda3 — The Mazda3 has similar proportions but a slightly smaller rear seat. Its interior is also attractive, but its 8-in display screen doesn’t offer touch-screen functionality. However, the Mazda3 can be equipped with AWD, and it has better acceleration and handling abilities.
2020 Honda Civic — Like the Mazda3, the Civic can be either a simple car or an enthusiast’s dream. The Civic lineup offers more powerful engine options than the Impreza’s, but no AWD. Along with the Civic sedan and hatchback, there’s also a coupe model.
2020 Mini Cooper Countryman — The Countryman can be ordered with AWD, and its turbocharged engine makes it much more fun to drive. It also offers more upscale options and features but costs significantly more when so equipped.
Used Subaru WRX — A 2012-2016 Subaru WRX will give you much of the same interior space and reliability as the Impreza but with a lot more power under the hood. However, you’ll have to sacrifice the Impreza’s EyeSight option and the more advanced media setup.
We’d be hard-pressed to argue against any of the Impreza models, but if we had to pick one, it would be the 2.0i Sport. This model comes well equipped and can include either a manual or automatic transmission. However, if you want features such as automatic climate control, leather seating and navigation, the Limited is your best bet. Find a Subaru Impreza for sale