Check out our 2022 Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Corolla comparison to find which of these compact car stalwarts offers the best bang for the buck.
Get this, the Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Corolla competition has been going on for 30 years, which is when the Impreza nameplate first arrived. Going back another 26 years is when we first saw a Corolla, meaning these two stalwarts of the compact car segment understand the long game. Plus, they’re both on this 2022 List of Best Compacts, priming them for an interesting showdown.
Now in its fifth generation, the 2022 Impreza comes in four-door sedan or five-door hatchback flavors and includes Subaru’s famously standard Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive. Toyota unveiled the 12th generation of their venerable Corolla in 2018 and it’s a looker.
The 2022 Toyota Corolla distinguishes itself with an available hybrid powertrain that is a regular fuel miser, something of great importance these days. So, let’s take a closer look at which option is the best value in this Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Corolla matchup.
Subaru keeps things simple by offering the 2022 Impreza with a single powertrain consisting of a naturally aspirated 2.0L boxer four-cylinder making 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. They do offer a 5-speed manual transmission on certain models; however, the majority are sold with a CVT that features a 7-speed mode. In either case, AWD is the only configuration and one that Subaru stakes their reputation on.
Toyota splits their Corolla lineup with two naturally aspirated engine offerings. The first is a 1.8L four-pot making 139 hp and 126 torques, figures that drop to 121 and 105, respectively, in hybrid from. The other is a 2.0-liter version putting down 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. They too sell mostly CVTs but do offer a 6-speed stick with certain 2.0L-powered Corollas, which are front-wheel-drive only.
Both compacts come with the same basic vehicle warranty term of three years of 36,000 miles and powertrain term of five years or 60,000 miles. However, Toyota sweetens the pie with complimentary factory-scheduled maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance for the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership.
Neither of these cars, in any configuration, is going to set the performance world on fire. But that’s not what they’re intended for. These are competent transportation devices with a modicum of fun tossed in thanks to fully independent suspension across the board and the enthusiast-friendly manual transmission. For those in the Snow Belt, the Subaru is worth checking out for their tremendous AWD system however, a good set of snow tires on the FWD-only Corolla will get you down the road safely as well.
The Impreza features Subaru’s EyeSight group of driver aids, but only on Premium trim and above. It includes Automated Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control. Automatic high beams and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) are available but only on pricier models. Toyota, on the other hand, includes Safety Sense 2.0, their suite of active safety nets, on every 2022 Corolla, though like the Subie, BSM with RCTA is optional.
If fuel economy is a concern, which it surely is these days, the Corolla is your car. Models with the 1.8L motor are rated for 30/38 mpg in city/highway driving, while 2.0L models achieve EPA estimates as high as 32 mpg around town and 41 on the highway.
Then there’s the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, which sips fuel at a rate of 52 mpg combined, all without looking like a Dorkmobile. Equipped with the CVT, Subaru’s Impreza is a relative gas-guzzler with ratings of 28/36 mpg in city/highway driving. Granted, its toting around AWD hardware, but remember those snow tires?
Here’s an odd observation, the Subaru Impreza hatchback can swallow 55 cubic feet of stuff with the back seats down. The Corolla? Just 23 cubes, and that’s with the no-cost Enhanced Cargo Space option that expands available room by ditching the spare tire for an inflator kit. This is a significant disadvantage to the Toyota, particularly for those eyeing a hatch for ease of toting things around.
Otherwise, the two vehicles line up tightly on paper with 36 inches of rear legroom in the Impreza to the Corolla’s 35 inches, and sedan trunk space measuring 12 cubic feet on the Subaru versus 13 for the Toyota. They are also within one inch of each other on the front row legroom metric.
Both vehicles offer increasingly fancy varieties of fabric upholstery, though only the Impreza can be fitted with animal hides. On the convenience front, power windows, air-conditioning, and adjustable steering columns are standard fare in both vehicles, which is nice considering they both start at a bit over $20,000.
If total number of trims and associated features was the deciding factor in this Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Corolla comparison, the Corolla would easily strut across the finish line first. Base L models, which start at $21,450, have full LED exterior lighting, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Wi-Fi capability. The list of content improves as you move through the trim ladder to include automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, and available wireless charging.
Then there are the Nightshade and Apex versions. The former is essentially a blacked-out package of goodies that tacks on about $700 to the sporty SE model. Apex trim, on the other hand, costs several thousand bucks but brings a lowered and sport-tuned suspension, lightweight 18-inch wheels, and bronze accents. It’s a sharp-dressed little ride. In total, Toyota offers five models with entry prices that go as high as $25,850 for an XLE.
Subaru’s priciest model, the Limited, stickers for $27,355, a relatively big increase against the Corolla XLE in this compact universe. It does come with 17-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlights, leather upholstery, and an optional moonroof which is nice.
The Impreza Base trim starts lower than the Corolla at $20,290, for which you get 16-inch steel wheels, halogen lighting and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment interface with Apple and Android smartphone integration. Higher-level models match the Toyota with an 8-inch display, optional navigation, and a large color information display screen within the gauge cluster.
The 2022 Subaru Impreza, which you can read about in detail here, is a solid all-around AWD compact that will get the job done with no fuss. It offers a nice level of active safety systems, the option for hatchback hauling, and some fancy features like the 8-speaker audio system by Harman-Kardon. Like the Toyota, it has also earned a 5-Star rating from NHTSA.
However, the 2022 Corolla, which we review in-depth here, seems to be the beneficiary of more thorough development and engineering. It can be fitted with an incredibly thrifty hybrid powertrain, it has more standard driver aids, the warranty is better, and the Corolla offers some spice in Apex form. For those reasons, it’s the clear winner in this Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Corolla comparison.