2020 Subaru Impreza

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2020
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2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
November 25, 2019

Buying tip

The spacious Subaru Impreza hatchback is more popular than the sedan for good reason.

The 2020 Subaru Impreza is a rational choice among compact cars, especially for those who need foul-weather traction.

The 2020 Subaru Impreza is as sensible as cars get, especially in practical hatchback form. Standard all-wheel drive, a good safety record, and wider standardization of collision-avoidance features this year adds to the compact car’s appeal.

We rate the 2020 Impreza range at 6.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Available as a sedan or a hatchback, the Impreza comes in base, Premium, Sport, and Limited trim levels. A 2.0-liter flat-4 is standard fare across the lineup. At just 152 horsepower, the engine is tasked with lugging around 3,000 pounds of small car. Passing requires planning, but good tuning of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) fitted to most versions helps the car feel sprightly around town. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on base trims and the Impreza Sport five door but is unlikely to be common on dealer lots. 

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The Impreza Sport has special chassis tuning including torque vectoring, which helps it feel more nimble on a winding road. It doesn’t include any more power, unfortunately. 

Standard all-wheel drive means that the Impreza is more sure-footed in winter than most of its competitors. The car handles confidently and has a plush ride that bests some larger cars. 

Interior space is also an asset, particularly the hatchback that is more spacious than many small SUVs and crossovers, including the Crosstrek. 

Good standard and optional infotainment systems include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as a bevy of USB ports and Bluetooth. This year, every automatic transmission Impreza comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and active lane control. Optional features include leather upholstery, heated seats, Harman/Kardon audio, and a power moonroof. 

With good crash test scores and decent fuel economy figures adding to the Impreza’s roster of assets, this small car is worth a look.


6

2020 Subaru Impreza

Styling

The 2020 Subaru Impreza won’t turn any heads, but it has a subtly upmarket look in most configurations.

Looking like a scaled-down version of the Subaru Legacy sedan, the latest Impreza has clean lines that won’t offend. 

We rate the 2020 Subaru Impreza at 6 out of 10, tossing a point in the car’s favor for its exterior.

Sedan and hatchback models share a front end with a wide grille and a low bumper. Pronounced wheel arches wrap around wheel sizes that range from 16 to 18 inches, and the Sport trim level features new machine-finish 18-inch wheels this year. Hatchbacks continue the roofline for a wagon-like profile that works best, especially with the Sport trim’s body kit.

If the Impreza hatchback looks familiar, that’s because Subaru’s Crosstrek is the same car with black fender flares and a suspension lift. 

The interior features a tall center stack with a 6.5-inch touchscreen for infotainment on most versions; a larger 8.0-inch display comes with Limited and Sport trims. Contrasting stitching on the door and instrument panels elevates the Limited just a smidge inside, but the Impreza trades mostly on its intuitive control layout and good outward vision. 

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5

2020 Subaru Impreza

Performance

The 2020 Subaru Impreza won’t win any drag races, unless they’re conducted in the snow.

With just 152 horsepower on tap, the 2020 Subaru Impreza is down on power compared to many of its rivals. We wind up at a 5 out of 10, with a point dialed back for its subpar acceleration but a point added back because of its surefooted standard all-wheel drive. 

The 2.0-liter flat-4’s 152-hp rating is joined by just 145 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is fitted to most Imprezas, although a five-speed manual gearbox comes standard on the base trim and the Sport hatchback. 

The CVT is among the best of its breed and largely works in the background to make the most of what power is produced. The stick shift has a notchy feel, though the clutch is light. This year, Impreza Sports come with a mode that simulates stepped shifting like a seven-speed automatic transmission. We haven’t sampled an Impreza with this new transmission tuning, though in other Subarus it delivers reasonably convincing performance. 

Handling is confidence-inspiring, though short of genuinely sporty. Feedback from the road is limited compared to the sprightly Honda Civic. The Impreza may have the edge when it comes to ride quality, however. Versions with the smaller 16- and 17-inch wheel options ride best. Sports have stiffer shocks and shorter sidewalls that transmit bumps more clearly. Sport versions also have a brake-based torque-vectoring system that grabs the inboard front brake caliper to aid in cornering, and the system works well. 

All-wheel drive helps the Impreza tackle light snow and wet roads more confidently than front-wheel-drive rivals, though winter tires are still a good idea for drivers who routinely face deep snow or ice. 

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2020 Subaru Impreza

Comfort & Quality

The spacious hatchback configuration represents the 2020 Subaru Impreza at its best.

About two-thirds of 2020 Subaru Imprezas are built as hatchbacks, and they are among the most rational vehicles on the road today thanks to their spacious interiors and excellent utilization of small-item storage.

We rate the lineup at 7 out of 10 thanks to the roomy hatchback. Sedans would rate 6 out of 10.

The Impreza has comfortable front seats that offer a decent amount of manual adjustment in most trims. Impreza Limiteds swap in a power driver’s seat, but no version has adjustable lumbar support. 

Rear-seat riders will find ample leg room and a comfortable bench. The Impreza may not be as spacious inside as some mid-size sedans, but it’s darn close. 

Hatchbacks boast upward of 55 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seatbacks down. Even with the rear seat upright, the Impreza hatch can lug nearly 21 cubes. Sedans can haul just 12 cubic feet of cargo, a figure that’s a little low even for a compact car. Most versions of the Impreza hatchback also include roof rails that work with cross bars sold through Subaru’s accessories department. 

Interior materials are in line with the Impreza’s price. Few surfaces impress, but few disappoint.

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8

2020 Subaru Impreza

Safety

Few compact cars have as impressive a safety track record as the 2020 Subaru Impreza.

This year, all automatic transmission versions of the 2020 Subaru Impreza include collision-avoidance technology as standard. Paired with above-average crash-test scores, we rate the 2020 Impreza at 8 out of 10 for its safety.

The Impreza now comes with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control, at least when equipped with a CVT. Manual transmission models are not available with that safety equipment. 

Blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts are optional on Premium and Sport trims and standard on the Impreza Limited.

The IIHS gave the Impreza hatchback top marks in its barrage of crash tests, earning a Top Safety Pick+ award in 2019 when equipped with EyeSight and LED projector headlights standard on the Limited trim; the standard halogen lights on other versions rated just “Marginal.” 

The NHTSA scored the Impreza at five stars in every category.

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2020 Subaru Impreza

Features

The 2020 Subaru Impreza is a good value.

The four trim levels available on the 2020 Subaru Impreza offer plenty of choice for most shoppers. We rate the lineup at 6 out of 10, giving the car a point above average for good value. 

Base sedans cost just shy of $20,000 and come with power features, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, USB ports, and cruise control. Most buyers will opt for the continuously variable automatic transmission that adds $1,300 to the bottom line, and even more will spend $500 more for the Impreza hatchback.

The range tops out at $27,200 for the Limited hatchback, which is a good value considering it comes with leather-upholstered seats that are heated up front, an upsized 8.0-inch touchscreen with a brighter display, active safety features, and more.

If we were spending your money, we’d opt for the Impreza Premium hatchback. At around $23,500, it comes with satellite radio, a CD player, heated seats, active safety tech, and a lot of smaller features such as two additional USB ports, upgraded suspension dampers, and a sound-insulated windshield that add up to a much nicer driving experience. 

The automaker’s infotainment interface is easy enough to sort through, and the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is among the best we’ve encountered. The touchscreens are bright and responsive, though prone to collecting fingerprints.

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2020 Subaru Impreza

Fuel Economy

Most versions of the 2020 Subaru Impreza are rated at 30 mpg or higher combined.

The 2020 Subaru Impreza is frugal for a small car, and it’s especially impressive for one with all-wheel drive. The lineup comes in at 6 out of 10 on our scale. 

Most Imprezas on dealer lots have the automatic transmission. In either sedan or hatchback configuration, they are rated at 28 mpg city, 36 highway, 31 combined. 

Impreza Sports ride on bigger wheels that cut into fuel economy slightly. They’re rated at 27/35/30 mpg as hatchbacks and 27/36/30 mpg as sedans. 

Manual transmission models are far less frugal in EPA testing. Hatchbacks are the greenest at 24/31/26 mpg, and other configurations are similar.

Review continues below

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6.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 6
Fuel Economy 6
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2020 Subaru Impreza Pricing Insights

  • 2019 Impreza still stock; 2020s arriving
  • Dealer discounting likely on 2019s
  • Lease a 2019 from $179 for 36 months
  • 0.9% APR for 72 months on 2019s
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