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2021 Subaru Impreza Review

The 2021 Subaru Impreza ranks near the bottom of the compact car class. It offers a spacious interior and playful handling but falls short because of its sluggish acceleration and poor predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty handling
  • Intuitive infotainment controls
  • Roomy cabin
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Sedan has tiny trunk
  • Underpowered engine
  • Terrible predicted reliability rating

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Subaru Impreza's #10 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Subaru Impreza has a score of 7.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 27 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 7.6
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 10.0 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Subaru Impreza a Good Car?

Yes, the Subaru Impreza is a good compact car. It’s somewhat sporty and boasts an intuitive infotainment system and plenty of passenger space. Another plus is the Impreza’s standard all-wheel drive, which is rare – even as an option – in this class. With a continuously variable automatic transmission, the Impreza offers great fuel economy too. However, its lackluster acceleration and awful predicted reliability rating may give some shoppers pause.

Why You Can Trust Us: 27 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like horsepower ratings, gas mileage, and cargo space dimensions with 27 professional Subaru Impreza reviews.

This 2021 Impreza review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Subaru Impreza?

While the Subaru Impreza has its appealing traits, many of its rivals outclass it. The Honda Civic is even more fun to drive, and the Mazda3 provides a nicer interior and can match the Impreza with an all-wheel-drive option. You might even consider the Subaru Crosstrek. This small SUV offers a cargo hold that rivals the Impreza hatchback’s, and it also provides a stronger engine option that’s lifted from the Subaru Outback and Subaru Legacy.

Compare the Impreza, Civic, and Mazda3 »

2020 vs. 2021 Subaru Impreza: What's the Difference?

Subaru made no major changes to the 2021 Impreza.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Impreza »

Here are the key changes for the Impreza since Subaru redesigned it for 2017:

  • 2018: no major changes
  • 2019: EyeSight suite of driver assistance features made available in every trim
  • 2020: EyeSight added to standard features list in CVT-equipped models
  • 2021: no major changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Impreza, 2019 Impreza, and 2020 Impreza reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Subaru Impreza Cost?

Pricing for the Subaru Impreza sedan starts at $18,795. The Subaru Impreza hatchback costs $19,295. The range-topping Limited trim has a starting MSRP of $25,895 and $26,395 for sedan and hatchback models, respectively.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru Impreza Versus the Competition

Subaru Impreza vs. Subaru WRX

For blistering performance, the Subaru WRX outclasses the Impreza. Its base turbo-four is more powerful than the Impreza’s engine, and the WRX can be had in an even stronger WRX STI trim. Either way, the WRX’s dynamic handling helps make it fun to drive, and it’s the only other compact car to come standard with AWD. If you don’t need that kind of performance, then go with the Impreza. It’s a lot more affordable than the WRX.

Compare the Impreza and WRX »

Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has much in common with the Impreza. Both cars come in hatchback and sedan body types, and both have user-friendly infotainment systems. The Toyota has better fuel economy estimates and a stronger predicted reliability rating than the Subaru, which help make it a better choice. However, if you want all-wheel drive, get the Subaru, as it’s not even an option in the front-wheel-drive Toyota.

Compare the Impreza and Corolla »

Compare the Impreza, WRX, and Corolla »

Impreza Interior: Impressive

Impreza Cargo Space

The Impreza’s cargo space varies by body style. The sedan has a 12.3-cubic-foot trunk, which is one of the smallest in the class. On the other end of the spectrum is the Impreza hatchback, with 20.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a total of 55.3 cubic feet behind the front seats. That’s one of the largest cargo holds in the compact car class, and it’s on par with what you’ll find in SUVs like the Subaru Crosstrek.

How Many People Does the Impreza Seat?

Up to five people can sit in this Subaru. Cloth upholstery comes standard, though you can upgrade to sport cloth with contrast stitching or even leather upholstery. Heated front seats and a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat are available too.

There’s enough space in the Impreza for two average-sized adults to sit comfortably in the rear, even with taller individuals seated up front. The seats have plush cushioning and remain comfortable on long trips, and the cabin’s insulation keeps out harsh road noise.

Impreza and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The whole setup is easy to use.

Impreza Interior Quality

For the most part, this Subaru has a handsome cabin. Fit and finish is top-notch, and there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces. Still, there are a few cheap plastics too.

Impreza Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Using Subaru’s StarLink infotainment system is straightforward. The responsive touch screen has well-organized menus and bright, visible graphics. Additionally, the system’s physical buttons and knobs are placed within easy reach for the driver.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a four-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, navigation, three more USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a six- or eight-speaker stereo
  • Other available features: a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Impreza Performance: Needs More Horses

Impreza Engine

Regardless of body style, there’s only one engine available in the 2021 Impreza. It’s a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out an unimpressive 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. While the engine can haul the Impreza around town, it struggles to help it accelerate with any haste.

Shoppers can choose between a five-speed manual and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Models with the CVT also have Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive), which includes a Sport mode for more spirited driving. Still, the powertrain drones under hard acceleration, and some critics note that the CVT makes the car seem less responsive than models with the manual transmission.

Impreza Gas Mileage

Fuel economy estimates vary from 22/30 mpg city/highway for the manual transmission-equipped Subaru Impreza Sport hatchback to 28/36 mpg for CVT-equipped Impreza sedans and hatchbacks. Those estimates at the top end are great for the class, especially considering the Subaru’s standard all-wheel drive.

Impreza Ride and Handling

Few compact cars blend agility and comfort as well as the Impreza. Other than the Subaru WRX, it’s the only car in the class with standard all-wheel drive. Strong brakes and light, responsive steering help it feel sporty around turns, and body roll is controlled. The ride is generally smooth, too.

Read more about performance »

Impreza Reliability

Is the Subaru Impreza Reliable?

The 2021 Subaru Impreza has the lowest-possible predicted reliability rating of two out of five.

Subaru Impreza Warranty

Subaru covers the Impreza with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Impreza Safety

Impreza Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Subaru Impreza an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests.

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 Impreza.

Impreza Safety Features:

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane change assist
  • Lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warning
  • Forward and reverse automatic emergency braking
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert

Read more about safety »

Impreza Dimensions and Weight

The Impreza is between 14.7 and 15.2 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,976 to 3,150 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Subaru Impreza Built?

Subaru builds the 2021 Impreza in Indiana.

Which Subaru Impreza Model Is Right for Me?

Subaru makes the 2021 Impreza in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Both come in four trim levels: base, Premium, Sport, and Limited. The Impreza hatchback adds a roof spoiler and costs $500 more than the sedan in every trim except the Sport, where the hatchback is $600 less than the sedan. All-wheel drive is standard throughout.

The base model is a good choice, as it can be had with plenty of safety and tech features. The Sport adds athletic touches like larger wheels and sport cloth upholstery, but shoppers after something more performance-oriented may want to consider the Subaru WRX instead.

Subaru Impreza

The Impreza has a starting MSRP of $18,795. It comes with a manual transmission, a rearview camera, and 60/40-split-folding rear seats. Subaru’s StarLink infotainment system is also included, which features a 6.5-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and a USB port.

A continuously available automatic transmission (CVT) can be added for $1,300, and models with the CVT also get Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver assistance features, which includes a pre-collision warning and braking system, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning.

Subaru Impreza Premium

The Premium sedan retails for $22,195. It adds the CVT and paddle shifters, Subaru Intelligent Drive, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, a second USB port, heated front seats, fog lights, the EyeSight suite of safety features, and alloy wheels.

For $1,970, you can get a package that adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, proximity keyless entry, and a moonroof.

Subaru Impreza Sport

Prices start at $22,995 for the Sport hatchback. It gains sport cloth seats with red contrast stitching, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum-alloy pedal covers, Active Torque Vectoring, proximity keyless entry, two rear-seat USB ports, an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, and HD Radio. Notably, while the Sport sedan has standard EyeSight, SI-Drive, and a CVT, all of those are optional in the hatchback.

A package that’s similar to the one that’s offered in the Premium trim is available for $2,470 and includes an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

Subaru Impreza Limited

With a starting MSRP of $25,895, the top-of-the-line Limited sedan picks up standard reverse automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, automatic high-beam headlights, automatic climate control, leather-trimmed upholstery, and everything from the Premium and Sport’s option packages except the moonroof and Harman Kardon stereo. You can get both together for $2,350.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2021 Subaru Impreza specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Subaru Impreza is a good car. Its ride manages to be both engaging and comfortable, and its spacious seats and intuitive tech help make its cabin inviting. Furthermore, it’s one of the few compact cars to have all-wheel drive. However, this is a competitive segment, and there are a number of competitors that offer better power, more cargo space and a stronger reliability rating.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Subaru Impreza compact sedan and hatchback come with a blend of ingredients that no rival can quite match. All-wheel drive is the most obvious asset, which is standard here, bringing a wonderful sure-footedness whenever the weather turns rough." -- Autotrader
  • "Apart from being reasonably fun to drive and a solid value, the Impreza lacks the overall refinement and fuel frugality of its classmates." -- Car and Driver
  • "As a compact sedan or hatchback, it’s efficient, reliable, practical and has great resale value. With standard all-wheel drive, some would consider it a must in cold-weather states." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

Plunging Sales: Subaru has sold 34.8 percent fewer Imprezas in 2020 than it did during the same span in 2019. In addition, Impreza sales sit in the lower half of the compact car class this year. Class titans like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are each outselling the Impreza by more than 5 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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2021 Subaru Impreza

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