2020 Subaru Impreza

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Updated: May 4, 2020

2020 Subaru Impreza

The 2020 Subaru Impreza is as reliable and sensible as cars get. Every Impreza is all-wheel drive, has at least 30-mpg gas mileage, and has an excellent safety record.

For 2020 the Impreza gets safer, with more standard collision-avoidance features, namely automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection (on all but the manual base model), adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.

A 2.0-liter flat-4 engine is standard. With just 152 horsepower, the engine is asked to carry 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, but’s uncommon on dealer lots.

The Impreza has confident handling and a plush ride that’s better than some larger cars. The interior is more spacious than many small SUVs and crossovers.

The Impreza Sport has separate chassis tuning including torque vectoring, which helps it feel more secure on a winding road. For 2020 it gets new 18-inch alloy wheels with a machine finish.

As either a sedan or hatchback, the Impreza with the CVT is EPA-rated at 28 mpg city, 36 highway, 31 combined. The Impreza Sport, with bigger wheels, is rated at 27/35/30 mpg. The manual transmission is far less efficient, at 24/31/26 mpg.

The Impreza aces the NHTSA safety tests, with five stars in every category. The IIHS gave the Impreza hatchback top marks in its crash tests, earning a Top Safety Pick+ award in 2019 when equipped with EyeSight and LED projector headlights; the standard halogen lights rated just “Marginal.”

Model Lineup

The Impreza comes in base, Premium, Sport, and Limited trim levels.

The base sedan with manual transmission costs a bit less than $20,000, and includes power features, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, USB ports, and cruise control. The hatchback costs $500 more, and the continuously variable automatic transmission adds $1,300. With the CVT, the base model adds automatic emergency braking.

Optional features include leather upholstery, heated seats, Harman/Kardon audio, and a power moonroof.

The Impreza Premium hatchback costs around $23,500, and comes with satellite radio, heated seats, two additional USB ports, upgraded suspension dampers, and a sound-insulated windshield. Blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts are optional.

For $27,200 the Limited hatchback comes with leather-upholstered seats heated in front, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with a brighter display, blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts, and more.

Exterior

The Impreza has clean lines, with a wide grille and low bumper. Pronounced wheel arches wrap around wheel sizes that range from 16 to 18 inches. The Sport’s new machine-finish wheels look sharp.

The hatchback is better looking, with a roofline that turns into a wagon-like profile. About two-thirds of all Imprezas are hatchbacks.

Interior

The instrument panel 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. Also on the Limited, contrasting stitching on the dashboard and doors adds a touch of class.

The controls are located in natural places, and there is excellent storage for small items. The infotainment interface is easy enough, with touchscreens that are bright and responsive. The standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is among the best we’ve encountered.

The Impreza has comfortable front seats that offer a decent amount of manual adjustment. The Limited has a power driver’s seat, although lacking adjustable lumbar support.

The Impreza has nearly as much interior space as a mid-size car. The rear passengers have ample leg room and a comfortable bench seat.

Behind the rear seat in the hatchback, there’s nearly 21 cubic feet of storage space, vastly surpassing the 12 cubic feet in the trunk of the sedan. With the rear seat folded, there’s more than 55 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

With just 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter flat- engine, the Impreza is down on power compared to many of its rivals. But that’s balanced by the upside brought by the well-programmed CVT, which is markedly superior to what you usually find in a CVT. It feels almost like a regular automatic transmission, and makes the most of the modest horsepower.

In the Sport model, the CVT is even better, with a driving mode that simulates stepped shifting like a 7-speed automatic transmission.

Cornering is confident, if not quite sprightly like the Honda Civic. There’s only so much feedback from the road.

The Impreza has a better ride than the Civic, however. Versions with the 16- and 17-inch wheels ride best. The Sport model has stiffer shocks and shorter sidewalls on its 18-inch tires, and that makes road bumps somewhat more vivid. But it’s all a balance. Sports also have a brake-based torque-vectoring system that grabs the inboard front brake caliper to aid in cornering, and the system works well.

Subaru’s superior all-wheel drive, perfected over decades, enables the Impreza to breeze through light snow and over wet roads. Although winter tires are still a good idea in snowy states.

Final Word

The 2020 Subaru Impreza loads up on value and safety. It nails all the important categories for a practical buyer: safety, passenger comfort, fuel economy, and all-wheel drive.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection