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What do our experts think of the 2021 Subaru Impreza? We look at powertrain, interior options, trim levels and more. Find out our thoughts here. 

What’s New for the 2021 Subaru Impreza?

Now five years into its fifth generation, the 2022 Subaru Impreza continues the automakers’ signature offering of lineup-standard AWD. Updates this year include the EyeSight suite of driver aids fitted to Premium trim and above. That model also now features SI-DRIVE, which allows drivers to select from two performance management modes. You can still buy a base model for under $20,000, helping the Impreza maintain its long-running history as an affordable compact car.

2021 Subaru Impreza - media.subaru.com

2021 Subaru Impreza – media.subaru.com |  Shop 2021 Subaru Impreza on Carsforsale.com

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $19,720

Drivetrain

Drivetrain

AWD

Drivetrain

Fuel Economy

28 City / 36 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats

Seating

Seats 5

The Breakdown

Inexpensive base model

Manual transmission

AWD is standard

Bland styling on base models

Weak engine output

Poor fuel economy with the stick

Inoffensive but unexciting transportation

2021 Subaru Specs

Trims & Pricing

Base - $19,720
Premium - $23,120
Sport - $24,520
Limited - $26,820

2021 Subaru Impreza Powertrain

2021 Subaru Impreza 2.0L H4 - carsforsale.com
2021 Subaru Impreza 2.0L H4 - carsforsale.com

Every 2021 Subaru Impreza comes with a naturally aspirated 2.0L four-cylinder engine in a “boxer” configuration, which you can learn more about in our Engines Explained article. Transmission options include a 5-speed manual and CVT with 7-speed manual shift mode controlled by steering wheel-mounted paddles. Output is rated at 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque powering all four wheels across the lineup.

This power won’t set your hair on fire but in combination with four-corner independent suspension and available torque vectoring, the Impreza offers competent handling characteristics, one of the reasons it’s hot-rodded WRX cousin landed on this list of Top 10 AWD Sedans. To that end, all 2021 Imprezas also feature Vehicle Dynamics Control, a system that monitors wheels speeds, steering angle, brake pressure, yaw rate, and lateral g-force. It can apply braking force and moderate engine torque to lend a virtual hand in marinating the desired path.

2021 Subaru Impreza Fuel Economy & MPG

While there are plenty of compact cars with 40 mpg fuel economy ratings, keep in mind the Impreza is strictly an AWD vehicle. In sedan form, with the CVT, it is rated for 28 mpg in city driving and 36 on the highway. Mazda’s AWD 3 sedan achieves the same city efficiency but only 33 on the highway. Those who enjoying rowing the manual transmission will suffer in this category, as the 5-speed hatchback is rated for 22/30 mpg in city/highway driving.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

While both the sedan and hatchback versions of the 2021 Impreza seat five and offer 36” of rear legroom, the 5-door hatch offers quite a bit more cargo space. Sedans come with a 12 cubic foot trunk with the hatch boasting 21 cubes of space behind the rear seat. Fold that seat down and space jumps to 55 cubic feet. Considering the 5-door variant is only $500 more than any of the 4-door trims, it is quite a value.

Basic cloth upholstery is to be expected in this segment on entry-level models, but you can find leather seating on the top-spec Limited trim. Power locks and windows are lineup standard and heated front seats are included on Premium trim and above. Living up to its name, the Sport model adds some interior pizazz with special cloth fabric contrasted with red stitching. As you move through the models, amenities like a leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear seat center-armrest are unlocked.

Entertainment & Technology

2021 Subaru Impreza - carsforsale.com
2021 Subaru Impreza - carsforsale.com

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring software is included on every 2021 Subaru Impreza. Base and Premium models come with a 6.5” touchscreen display to manage these systems. If you want the larger 8.0” infotainment interface, you will need at least an Impreza Sport. At that level, you’ll also gain SiriusXM live traffic data, a CD player and 6.3” color information display in the gauge cluster. Entry-level models come with a measly four speakers; however, there is a Harman Kardon system, with twice as many speakers, available via optional package on the Sport model and above.

Safety Features

Subaru notes that the Impreza has been an IIHS Top Safety Pick every year since 2008. The 2021 model also earned a 5-star rating from NHTSA. Much of this can be chalked up to robust safety systems like EyeSight, which includes Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Keeping Assist. Under the subscription-based Safety & Security blanket comes automated collision notification and an SOS emergency assistance button. Additional active safety measures include Reverse Automatic Braking and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

2021 Subaru Impreza Trims & Pricing

2021 Subaru Impreza Base - media.subaru.com
2021 Subaru Impreza Base - media.subaru.com

Base – $19,720

Like every 2021 Subaru Impreza, the base model comes in 4-door sedan form with the option to make it a 5-door hatchback for an extra $500. If you want a manual transmission, you are limited to this trim or the Sport. Looking somewhat dowdy with 16-inch steelies and hubcaps, the base Impreza keeps it inexpensive with halogen lighting and black mirror caps.

Manual air-conditioning controls are found inside, along with cruise control, a single front USB port and 6.5-inch infotainment display with Apple and Android smartphone integration. Note that for next year, this pricing remains unchanged as we discuss here.

2021 Subaru Impreza Premium - media.subaru.com
2021 Subaru Impreza Premium - media.subaru.com

Premium – $23,120

Styling on the Premium is upgraded with 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and body-colored trim. On the amenity front, this model comes with heated side mirrors, a wiper deicer system, and heated cloth seats up front. Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver aids and Safety & Security systems are all on hand here. Other highlights include a Wi-Fi hotspot and STARLINK cloud-based app connectivity.

2021 Subaru Impreza Sport - media.subaru.com
2021 Subaru Impreza Sport - media.subaru.com

Sport – $24,520

Painted black with machined faces, the 18-inch wheels on Impreza Sport do a lot to improve the cars’ looks. There is even a trim-exclusive Lithium Red Pearl paint job available. Inside, the steering wheel and shifter are wrapped in leather and the cloth seats feature sporty red stitching. This trim features a larger 8-inch touchscreen, adds dual rear USB ports, and can be optioned with a moonroof.

2021 Subaru Impreza Limited - media.subaru.com
2021 Subaru Impreza Limited - media.subaru.com

Limited – $26,820

Top-spec Limited trim boasts the SI-DRIVE selectable mode system, 17-inch wheels, and LED headlamps that swivel based on steering input to better illuminate the road ahead. It sports a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a choice of black or ivory leather upholstery, and automatic climate control. High Beam Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert are also standard equipment. For $2,350, an optional package brings embedded navigation, the Harman Kardon stereo and a moonroof.

Warranties

Subaru’s factory warranty includes 3 years or 36,000 miles of coverage on the overall vehicle and a 5-year/60,000-mile term for powertrain components. There is also a 5-year warranty on body-panel rust perforations, but you will not find any complimentary maintenance. Roadside assistance is available via the STARLINK Safety & Security connectivity that costs $4.95/month.

What we think

2021 Subaru Impreza - media.subaru.com

2021 Subaru Impreza – media.subaru.com |  Shop 2021 Subaru Impreza on Carsforsale.com

By their very nature, compact cars are going to be less amenity and feature rich than larger cars or SUVs and yet, Subaru includes AWD across the 2021 Impreza lineup. That is normally a big-ticket option, but the Impreza offers it on even the sub-$20K base model. You can check out our review of a used 2017 model to access this drivetrain for even less money.

The engine could use more power but the handsome hatchback styling and rare-these-days manual transmission alleviate that somewhat. For about $25,000, I would be all over the 5-door Impreza Sport with the 5-speed stick, thanks to the more connected driving experience and upsized infotainment system. I’d probably even spring for the single option package to net the moonroof and Harman Kardon stereo.

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Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his 1990 Cherokee and 1989 Starion, so it’s not surprising that he would put his mechanical engineering degree from the University of New Hampshire to use in the car world as a vehicle dynamics engineer. Now engineering sentence structures, his writing infuses his auto experience with his time in marketing and his sales experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he focuses on some of the more technical mechanical systems that are found under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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