2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback

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2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Review: Mmmm, Vanilla

by Jay Traugott

The Subaru Impreza Hatchback has been kept up-to-date with continuous year-on-year enhancements since the fifth-generation model's debut in the US for the 2017 model year; this wouldn't be problematic if the Impreza Hatchback was without fault. But, unfortunately, the new Impreza is still equipped with the timid 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a sparse 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. With outputs directed via either a five-speed manual gearbox or CVT automatic for the Impreza's all-wheel-drivetrain, the recipe isn't exactly a pretty one: the powertrain is underpowered and unrefined, leaving much to be desired. But there's very little else to complain about. With exceptional ride quality, solid handling dynamics, and high standard specification levels that bode well alongside its core competitors, the Honda Civic and the Mazda 3, we just wish there was some pizazz from the existing powertrain to do justice to an otherwise brilliant Hatch.

Read in this review:

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2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Impreza Hatchback?

For the 2020 model year, all Impreza models now come standard with an automatic power door lock/unlock system and a collision-detection power door unlock function. A rear-occupant in-seat reminder is standard in all but the manual-equipped base models and Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist technology is also now standard in all CVT-equipped models. Halogen fog lights, a high-grade combination meter with color LCD, an advanced tire pressure monitoring system, and an illuminated center console tray are stock items on Premium trims, while new dual USB charging ports are added to the rear console of the Sport and Limited. A six-way power-adjustable driver's seat and keyless entry with push-button start are also made available for the Premium. In terms of cosmetics, the grille, front fascia, and rear combination lights have all been redesigned for the new model year, along with the LED headlights on the Limited and the wheel styles of both the Sport and Limited configurations. Finally, Ocean Blue Pearl is added to the exterior color palette for the range.

Pros and Cons

  • Exceptionally well-balanced ride quality and handling dynamics
  • Permanent all-wheel-drive provides improved all-weather traction
  • Impressive crash-test safety ratings from NHTSA and IIHS
  • Expansive feature specification levels at the standard level
  • User-friendly and intuitive infotainment system
  • Frustratingly lackluster engine
  • Unengaging manual gearbox
  • Sluggish and noisy CVT
  • Gas mileage from the manual gearbox is below par
  • Some trim pieces feel cheap

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

Prospective buyers in the USA can set their sites on the manual-equipped base Impreza, titled the Impreza five-door, which has an MSRP of $19,195; optioning for the CVT will ask an additional $1,300. The Premium is priced at an MSRP of $22,595, the manual-equipped Sport is given an MSRP of $22,895, it'll cost an additional $1,100 to option in the CVT for the Sport. The Limited closes off the lineup with an MSRP of $26,295. All those prices are excluding Subaru's destination and delivery charge of $900 as well as any tax, registration, and licensing fees.

Best Deals on 2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
Premium Hatchback
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
Sport Hatchback
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
Limited Hatchback
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Trims and Specs

2020 Impreza Hatchback Exterior

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Front Angle View Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Rearward Vision Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Driving Front Angle Subaru
See All 2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Exterior Photos


  • Length 175.6 in
  • Wheelbase 105.1 in
  • Height 57.3 in
  • Max Width 70.0 in
  • Front Width 60.6 in
  • Rear Width 60.8 in
  • Curb Weight 2,985.0 lbs

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

2020 Impreza Hatchback Performance

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Driving Front Angle 1 Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Rear View Driving Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Steering Wheel Design Subaru

Engine and Transmission

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

Fortunately, when it comes down to its ride and handling dynamics, the Impreza does manage to impress, despite its unrefined powertrain. With a suspension setup tuned for comfort, it rides with sophistication, without ever feeling too floaty. Most road imperfections and typical everyday undulations are adequately absorbed, even by the Sport's sport-tuned suspension and underpinnings. What's more impressive is that the Impreza delivers apt handling dynamics at that, Subaru having found an uncompromising balance between ride quality and handling dynamics. Body roll is mostly mitigated, whether taking sharp bends or long corners, which - along with the Impreza's sharp and responsive steering - give it a sense of verve. There could be more tire and road feedback provided via the steering, however. The brakes are good; stopping power is plentiful from top speeds and the act comfortably smooth, the pedal itself is firm and easy to modulate in everyday driving. Its permanent AWD, along with its refined chassis, avails it with some confidence-inspiring road grip and body composure at all times and is a great benefit for drivers in all-weather states.

2020 Impreza Hatchback Interior

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Central Console Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Infotainment System Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Climate Control Subaru
See All 2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 43.1 in
  • Front Head Room 39.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.0 in

2020 Impreza Hatchback Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Dashboard Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Front Seats Subaru
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Back Seats Subaru
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    55.3 ft³

2020 Impreza Hatchback Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback A Good car?

The Subaru Impreza is simply a powertrain away from near-perfection and is possibly even a transmission short. Other than the engine and drivetrain letting it down, it is a highly appealing and value-packed offering overall and makes for a great compact family vehicle for getting from point A to point B on a daily basis. Along with an exceptional ride quality, it also manages to portray some handling prowess; that doesn't mean that the Impreza is particularly fun-to-drive, as the lackluster engines make it difficult to drive this slow car in any way that could be misconstrued as entertaining. Its standard AWD setup and refined chassis further accord it with some improved all-weather traction and control, an advantage it holds over many of its rivals.

Furthermore, the Impreza's leading safety ratings are worth noting: outfitted with a vast selection of safety and advanced driver-assist features as standard, and having received top-notch crash-test safety ratings from both the NHTSA and the IIHS. This, along with the how much highly functional tech and specifications you get for the money you pay, makes it a more than suitable family commuter and a great value for money buy, just not a very quick one.

What Subaru Impreza Hatchback Model Should I Buy?

The Impreza Premium is the model we recommend; as the mid-spec trim, it's still relatively affordable, but with a few more valuable creature-comforts that the base models don't come standard with or even have the option to equip. It also receives access to the lineup's only options package, which we do suggest including for everything it comprises - keyless access with push-button start, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, blind-spot detection with lane-change assist and rear-cross traffic alert. This model doesn't have the option to the manual gearbox, but it's no great loss as the CVT - despite being terrible to use - remains significantly more fuel-efficient.

Check out other Subaru Impreza Styles

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Comparisons

Subaru Crosstrek Subaru
Subaru Legacy CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Subaru Impreza Hatchback152 hp24/31 mpg$20,295
Subaru Crosstrek 152 hp27/34 mpg$24,995
Subaru Legacy 182 hp27/35 mpg$24,395

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback vs Subaru Crosstrek

The Crosstrek is, as the name alludes, a crossover SUV; it's equipped with the same lackluster powertrain as the Impreza, and costs around $3,000 more while sharing most of the Impreza's structure. But, it offers the mighty benefit of a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission option. While the gearbox certainly improves the driving experience overall, as opposed to that of the Impreza's, it's not as fuel-efficient as the hatch. With an impressive ground clearance and the same permanent AWD system, the Crosstrek also offers vastly improved off-road capability to that of the Impreza. Additionally, while both vehicles share the same amount of cargo room the Crosstrek offers greater practicality with its maximum tow capability of 1,500 lbs. There's a little more passenger room in the Crosstrek as well. The two vehicles are otherwise identical, but because of the six-speed manual gearbox that's available within the Crosstrek lineup and the versatility it offers, it's the better vehicle of the two. Get the Crosstrek, and go on an adventure!

See Subaru Crosstrek Review

2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback vs Subaru Legacy

The base price of the Legacy is only around $3,500 more expensive than the Impreza, and considering its more powerful engine and far more powerful turbocharged motor option, it's certainly worth the extra clams. The Legacy's powertrain as a whole feels a lot more refined than the Impreza's, it's faster off-the-line and more responsive at higher speeds, and only a little less fuel-efficient. Apart from the benefit of avoiding the Impreza's unrefined powertrain, the Legacy also offers advantages in its much more contemporary and visually appealing cabin, which comprises nicer materials, a more modern design, and an 11.6-inch vertically oriented high-res touchscreen display mounted in the dash. Both vehicles are similar in the way of features, safety, and crashworthiness - but the more potent engine, attractive, premium cabin, and loads of passenger space on the larger Legacy make it the winner of the competition here, despite the price premium.

See Subaru Legacy Review
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