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2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan

$18,695 - $25,795
Price Range (MSRP)
Subaru Impreza Sedan

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Review: A Missed Opportunity

by Roger Biermann

It's another year of significant improvements for the Subaru Impreza, a compact family sedan constructed on Subaru's modular Global Platform which is destined to underpin all of the brand's models going forward. The 2020 Impreza has undergone some important enhancements for the new year, upping the ante on trendsetting design and contemporary feature value. However, the standard all-wheel-drive system of the Impreza Sedan is still powered by a feeble 2.0-liter four-cylinder Boxer mill with a mere 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, which is directed either via a five-speed manual gearbox or CVT automatic - but neither is particularly good. The Impreza is ill-fated by its unrefined powertrain, with lackluster acceleration holding it back from being a potential class-leader. Considering that the accomplished Honda Civic and Mazda 3 also play the field in the free-for-all matchup, those disadvantages could prove detrimental for Subaru's smallest offering.

Read in this review:

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 Impreza Sedan?

There's a whole lot that's new for the 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan, from cosmetic enhancements to improved standard feature specification and available options across the board. All Impreza Sedans now come with a newly designed front grille and fascia, and the top-spec Limited features new LED headlights as standard. For all Impreza models, automatic power door locks, a collision-detection power door unlock function, rear seat occupancy reminder, and an overhead console shower light are now standard. The Premium is fitted with a high-grade color LCD combination meter, halogen foglights, an illuminated center console storage tray, and a tire pressure monitoring system with individual wheel ID registration as standard. Keyless access with push-button start and a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat has been made available for the Premium. Subaru's intelligent SI-Drive performance management system and dual rear console USB ports are now standard in the Sport and Limited which also get new wheel designs. The Sport now comes equipped with a seven-speed CVT that features a manual shifting mode and finally, Ocean Blue Pearl joins the exterior color palette.

Pros and Cons

  • Standard all-wheel-drive delivers dependable handling and all-weather traction
  • The cabin is commodious
  • User-friendly infotainment interface
  • Exceptional crash safety ratings
  • A vast array of driver-assist features
  • Torpid and underpowered powertrain
  • Both the manual gearbox and CVT are not ideal
  • Some rivals have better-looking interiors

Impreza Sedan Exterior

The Impreza Sedan looks like the typical sedan with its three-box layout, it's discernible mostly by its signature badge upfront flanked by chrome detailing and underscored by a prominent air intake comprised within the new lower fascia. Halogen headlights are standard on most models with the Limited boasting LED steering responsive headlights, the Premium gets halogen fog lights too, LED daytime running lights are standard on the Sport and Limited with LED fog lights fitted on the Limited only. The Base Impreza rides on 16-inch steel wheels with full covers, swapped with alloys for the Premium and increased to 17-inch alloys for the Limited. The wheel arches of the Sport Impreza are filled with 18-inch alloy wheels.

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Front Angle View Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Front Angle View Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Front View Driving Subaru
See All 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Alongside the hatchback variant of the Impreza, the sedan measures 6.5 inches longer than the hatch with an overall body length of 182.7 inches, it's 1.6 inches shorter though with a total height of 57.3 inches. Both share a wheelbase of 105.1 inches and a width of 70 inches. The base model with the manual gearbox is the lightest, carrying a curb weight of 2,976 lbs, the CVT-equipped base model weighs in at 3,047 lbs. The Limited is the heaviest model in the lineup with a curb weight of 3,142 lbs.

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Exterior Colors

  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Dark Blue Pearl
  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Ocean Blue Pearl
  • Lithium Red Pearl

Impreza Sedan Performance

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Front View Driving Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Rear View Driving Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Side View Driving Subaru

Engine and Transmission

The Impreza's powertrain is, unfortunately, its most prominent drawback; arguably its only one. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor disperses 152 hp and 145 lb-ft to all four wheels via either a five-speed manual or CVT in the base model and solely the CVT in all other models. The mill provides frustratingly little low-end pep, from there, the accelerator requires considerable spurring in order to get suitable power out of the engine. The CVT only saps the engine of power even further and its responses are notably slow, the manual gearbox performs only a little less lethargically and does little to increase driver engagement.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    5-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While the Impreza's dismal powertrain fails to impress in performance, its ride and handling dynamics are a whole other story. The Impreza brings it back when it comes to striking a fine balance between ride quality and handling, its steering is responsive and accurate which, along with its rigid chassis's capability to mitigate body-roll, give the Impreza a sense of athleticism when punted through bends. Its permanent AWD system keeps it firmly planted to the road and provides impressive levels of grip for all-weather climates. The Impreza is incredibly comfortable too, with upgraded Stablex dampers and a rear stabilizer bar featured on the suspension of the Premium and Limited. Ride comfort is exemplary, even with the sport-tuned suspension on the Sport and its larger 18-inch wheels, most road imperfections and typical undulations are dealt with impressively. The only qualm here is that the steering lacks a full sense of feedback even with the accurate responses.

Impreza Sedan Gas Mileage

There is at least one benefit to the CVT that otherwise damns the Impreza, and that's outstanding gas mileage especially for an AWD vehicle. The EPA rated the CVT-equipped Imprezas with gas mileage estimates of 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined, the Sport model, thanks to its larger wheels, is slightly less efficient, returning EPA scores of 27/36/30 mpg. The base model, equipped with the manual gearbox, returns EPA estimates of 23/31/26 mpg on those same cycles. Every Impreza is equipped with a 13.2-gallon gas tank which, when filled to the brim, gives the CVT-equipped models a maximum range of around 396 miles before running empty.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 23/31 mpg
* 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Manual

Impreza Sedan Interior

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Dashboard Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Infotainment System Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Infotainment System Subaru
See All 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Impreza Sedan can seat up to five occupants in impressive comfort, there is ample head and legroom up front even for drivers up to six-feet and passenger room in the rear is just as commodious. The front seats don't feature much adjustability as standard, but they are, along with the rear seats, pleasingly comfy and supportive and the cabin hosts a variety of soft-touch materials on key touch-points, cushy padding on the armrests, and a high-quality of fit and finish.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Impreza Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

The Impreza Sedan offers only 12.3 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk, that's vastly less room then what's offered by the hatchback variant which boasts 20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Both those cargo capacities are still on the smaller side of the class although 12.3 cu.ft. is still enough room for a month's worth of groceries for two. If more cargo room is required, the rear seats do fold down in a 60/40 split to expand the cargo room from the trunk.

In-cabin storage solutions are rather limited too, there's the typical passenger-side glove box, all four doors comprise usable pockets with bottle holder slots, there's a seatback map pocket behind only the driver's seat, between the front seats is a sizable concealed cubby and dual cupholders, the center rear backrest houses two more cupholders.

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Maximum Cargo Space Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Trunk Space Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Rear Spoiler Subaru
  • Trunk Volume
    12.3 ft³

Impreza Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

Every Impreza model is fairly well outfitted with features; the base model comes fitted with keyless entry, all-power accessories with auto up/down functionality on both driver and front passenger sides, a tilt and telescoping steering column, a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat and four-way manually-adjustable front passenger seat, and manual air conditioning. The CVT-equipped model specifically, also features a high-quality instrumentation display, tire pressure monitoring, cruise control, and an electronic trunk lid release. The Premium adds on to those with the contents of the All-Weather Package as standard: heated exterior mirrors, dual-mode heated front seats, and a windshield wiper de-icer. The Sport features SI-DRIVE drive mode selection as well as keyless access with push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and aluminum pedals. The Limited really advances things in terms of luxury, with a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, automatic climate control, and blind-spot detection with lane keep assist and rear-cross traffic alert all standard. All CVT-equipped models get Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology which includes automatic pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane-keep assist, lane departure and sway warning, as well as lead vehicle start alert.

Infotainment

Every Impreza is installed with Subaru's STARLINK multimedia system which comprises full smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, STARLINK apps, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone connectivity, voice activation controls, and AM/FM stereo. The base and Premium Impreza's are outfitted with a 6.5-inch high-res color touchscreen display, tethered to a four-speaker audio system in the base and a six-speaker audio system and CD-player in the Premium. The Premium also gets SiriusXM satellite and HD radio connectivity and features an additional USB charge port to the base models single USB port and auxiliary jack. The Sport and Limited are upgraded with eight-inch touchscreen displays and receive dual USB charge ports in the rear of the center console for rear passenger use. An eight-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system is optional for top-spec models.

Impreza Sedan Problems and Reliability

There have been no recalls yet for the 2020 Impreza Sedan, however, the 2019 model was recalled due to some faulty software that would potentially short circuit causing the car to stall. There is no predicted reliability rating for the current Impreza as yet but Subaru covers the new model with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Impreza Sedan Safety

The NHTSA gave the Subaru Impreza Sedan an overall safety rating of five out of five. Having scored top marks of Good for all six of the IIHS's specified crash test evaluations and a rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its front crash prevention measures, the IIHS gave the Impreza Sedan a Top Safety Pick+ designation. Every model is equipped with seven standard airbags, a rearview camera, cruise control, automatic power door locks with collision detection unlock function, and necessities such as ABS, stability control, and an advanced tire pressure monitoring system. All models with the CVT in place feature Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology which comprises adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane departure and sway warning, lane keep assist, and lead vehicle start alert. The Limited comes standard with blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear-cross traffic alert and reverse automatic braking which are optional for all other models.

Verdict: Is 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan a good car?

There's a whole lot appeal to the Impreza Sedan even with its frustratingly lackadaisical powertrain, it still delivers a sophisticated ride quality and rather sharp handling dynamics. Its permanent all-wheel-drive setup makes it more practical on the road than its front-wheel-drive rivals. Its standard specification levels are impressive and its infotainment setup even more so with its user-friendly and intuitive interface, crisp visuals, and full smartphone integration. These, along with its comfortable seats, quality in-cabin materials, and creature-comforts make the inside of the Impreza a very pleasant place to be. It's also a very safe family sedan, standard with an impressive level of advanced safety and driver-assist features as standard this year and having been rated with exceptional crash test scores by both key authorities. The Impreza would benefit greatly from some major improvements to its powertrain, it's otherwise an ideal daily commuter for the average American family with its sophisticated ride quality, contemporary features, exceptional gas mileage, and top safety ratings. It just needs a better engine.

What's the Price of the 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan?

The Impreza is reasonably affordable with the manual-equipped base model priced at a starting MSRP of $18,695 before Subaru's destination charge of $900 and taxes, registration, and licensing fees. The CVT-equipped base model is priced at $19,995, it's followed by the Premium with an MSRP of $22,095, the performance-optimized Sport has a sticker price of $23,495 and the Limited model closes the lineup with an MSRP of $25,795.

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base Sedan
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$18,695
Premium Sedan
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$22,095
Sport Sedan
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$23,495
Limited Sedan
2.0-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$25,795
See All 2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Trims and Specs

What Subaru Impreza Sedan Model Should I Buy?

Every Impreza Sedan is well-outfitted with features at the base level and with so many options available and four trim lines, there's a decent range of choice for buyers. With the efficiency-minded CVT equipped as standard, extended infotainment functionality, heated front seats, and extended access to various options, the Impreza Premium is the trim line we recommend as the one that delivers the most value for money. This model also comes with Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite of advanced driver-assists as standard along with a CD-player and SiriusXM and HD radio connectivity, it also gets availability to an optional power moonroof, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear-cross traffic alert all of which we'd suggest throwing in. The Sport and Limited feature some really appealing enhancements in features too, but the Impreza, in general, isn't sporty enough to justify opting for the performance-oriented Sport model, which, along with the Limited also loses the Impreza's affordability advantage.

Check out other Subaru Impreza Styles?

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Comparisons

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan Subaru

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan vs Subaru Crosstrek

The Impreza and the Crosstrek are equipped with the same unrefined engine, but because the Crosstrek is a little heavier than the Impreza as a crossover SUV, it's a lot slower in general. It's a little less fuel-efficient too, with its CVT-equipped models returning 27/33/30 mpg on the EPA cycles. The Crosstrek is available with a very appealing six-speed manual gearbox, however, it delivers better responses than the Impreza's manual gearbox but is a little less fuel-efficient too. The Crosstrek is a whole lot more practical with almost double the Impreza's cargo capacity and a maximum towing capability of 1,500 lbs. Though the overall passenger room in the Impreza is fine, there's a little more found in the Crosstrek. Specification levels are similarly matched, which makes sense since the Crosstrek is essentially a lifted version of the Impreza hatch. Where it differentiates itself is in the impressive ground clearance, making it a rugged alternative for those who regularly go mountain biking or hiking, while the Impreza is more of a regular day to day commuter vehicle.

See Subaru Crosstrek Review

2020 Subaru Impreza Sedan vs Subaru Legacy

The best advantage offered from the Legacy over the Impreza is its more powerful 182 horsepower, 176 lb-ft motor, which is pretty much as fuel-efficient as the Impreza's. There's an even more powerful turbocharged mill available in the top-spec model of the Legacy, too, but even the base engine is faster and feels more refined than the Impreza's mill. The Legacy delivers far greater performance and handling dynamics as well, it's certainly sportier than the Impreza but without any compromise in its luxury ride comfort. Another advantage is its far more premium interior, while the Impreza's can feel somewhat dull and mid-grade, the Legacy's is a bit more contemporary and upscale. It's a little more commodious too, thanks to a larger wheelbase and higher vehicle classification. The Legacy is a little more expensive than the Impreza and the top-spec variant surpasses the $30,000 mark, but it's worth it, it compounds on the luxury that the Impreza has but rids itself of the terrible powertrain for two more capable and refined ones.

See Subaru Legacy Review

Subaru Impreza Sedan Popular Comparisons