Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

Subaru Impreza 2020 review: 2.0i-S sedan

EXPERT RATING
7.9
You may never know exactly why you like to drive the Subaru Impreza 2.0i-S Sedan so much, but don't worry - it won't take it personally.

So, you're thinking about a Subaru Impreza? The top-of-the-range one, too, the 2.0i-S? And the sedan version? Straight up, I'm going to tell you it's one of the best choices among its small-car rivals and its uniqueness is also its strength.

But is everything about this Impreza impressive? And is the sedan the right choice for you? Read on to find out.

Subaru Impreza 2020: 2.0i-S (AWD)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.2L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$31,160

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The 2.0i-S is the most expensive Impreza in the range, but the sedan costs $200 less than the hatch with it list price of $31,160 (before on-road costs). You're still getting the same standard equipment apart from the hatch's smoked-finish tail-lights.

The February 2020 update to the Impreza brought with it new equipment for all the grades in the range including the SI-Drive modes (see the driving section further down), a new alloy wheel design and auto door locking.

The 2.0i-S did well out of the update and scored more features such as new LED headlights, auto-power folding mirrors with passenger-side dipping mirror, front-view monitor, side-view monitor, memory settings for the driver's seat and a stitched sun visor.

It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (image: Richard Berry) It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (image: Richard Berry)

There were also a few more styling tweaks inside and out but read about those in the design section. For now, let's talk about the rest of the standard features that come on a top o' the range Impreza.

Deep breath, because there's a lot. There are leather seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reversing camera, six-speaker sound system, DAB digital radio, CD player, dual-zone climate control, power adjustable and heated front seats, privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers, proximity key, LED running lights and 18-inch alloy wheels. That's just the highlights reel, there are more but it'd be silly to list them all.

How does the Impreza compare with rivals on price? Well, there's the Toyota Corolla sedan in ZR form which lists for $33,635, and you can also compare the Impreza to a Honda Civic sedan in the RS grade for $32,840, and the Mazda3 G20 Touring with the Vision pack for $31,740.  So, as you can see the Subaru is priced well and you're getting great value for money.

The 2.0i-S is the most expensive Impreza in the range, but the sedan costs $200 less than the hatch with it list price of $31,160 (before on-road costs). (image: Richard Berry) The 2.0i-S is the most expensive Impreza in the range, but the sedan costs $200 less than the hatch with it list price of $31,160 (before on-road costs). (image: Richard Berry)

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

Subaru's Impreza is one of only a few small sedans which don't look they were styled the morning after the big party for the design team following their completion of the hatch version. If anything (and this will ruffle a few feathers in the Subie fan world) the sedan is a more traditional Impreza body-style than the hatch.

It's been years since the hardcore WRX became a standalone model in Australia and no longer the high-performance grade of the Impreza range, and the superb dynamics and aggro look justify the separation. Yep, the Impreza has a pretty sedate appearance in comparison, but that didn't stop the bloke in my street who owns a 2015 WRX from slowing right down to have sticky beak at the 2.0i-S out the front of my house.

The cabin was updated with a new door trim and piano black plastic was added around the climate controls. (image: Richard Berry) The cabin was updated with a new door trim and piano black plastic was added around the climate controls. (image: Richard Berry)

Mazda is the master of making affordable cars look and feel high end. The only other rival in my view which can match that standard is Subaru. Clean, refined exterior styling, with an outstanding fit and finish inside. There are prestige cars costing three times the $30K asking price of the Impreza that don't feel this premium and well made.

The 2020 update to the Impreza added the new grille and front bumper, the fog-lights have also been restyled and the alloy wheels have a new design. The cabin was updated with a new door trim and piano black plastic was added around the climate controls.

You can tell a 2.0i-S from the rest of the range by its larger alloys (18-inch), body-coloured mirrors, sunroof, LED fog lights and side skirts. Inside there's leather seats in Ivory or Black and a leather steering wheel.

There are prestige cars costing three times the $30K asking price of the Impreza that don’t feel this premium and well made. (image: Richard Berry) There are prestige cars costing three times the $30K asking price of the Impreza that don’t feel this premium and well made. (image: Richard Berry)

I'm a fan of the big integrated display, the sports pedals and how every touch point feels padded and cushioned.

You'll have to get used to displays which are busy with hard-to-interpret icons, though. From drive mode graphs to safety system alerts the little, colourful hieroglyphics are cute, but a bit messy and not at all necessary. It's a Subaru thing.

How big is the Impreza sedan? Well it's 4640mm long (165mm longer than the hatch), 1775mm wide, and 1455mm tall (25mm lower than hatch).

You can tell a 2.0i-S from the rest of the range partly by its sunroof. (image: Richard Berry) You can tell a 2.0i-S from the rest of the range partly by its sunroof. (image: Richard Berry)

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

The most practical Impreza is not the sedan - it's the hatch. You should know this right from the start. I found the hatch had more leg- and headroom in the rear seat, although at 191cm tall I still can sit behind my driving position in the sedan without my knees touching the seat back.

And while the boot in the sedan is 115 litres larger in cargo capacity at 460 litres (VDA) and it fit the two CarsGuide suitcases with ease (see the images), the hatch's tailgate opening is way larger and you can fold the rear seats down to open up 795 litres of space.

  • I found the hatch had more leg- and headroom in the rear seat. (image: Richard Berry) I found the hatch had more leg- and headroom in the rear seat. (image: Richard Berry)
  • I still can sit behind my driving position in the sedan without my knees touching the seat back. (image: Richard Berry) I still can sit behind my driving position in the sedan without my knees touching the seat back. (image: Richard Berry)

You can still fold the rear seats down in the sedan, which is what I did and loaded the Impreza up with a surprising amount of stuff I needed to clear out of the spare room. Take a look at the images – yes, that is an eight-foot Malibu surf board, and a pedestal fan and two heaters and a desk chair and a large plastic tub full of clippings of articles I'd written and for some reason still hold on to. They were all going to the in-laws 300km away which was a good chance to test the fuel economy too, and you can read about further on down.

The sedan's cabin storage is good with a decent-sized centre console bin, large door pockets and four cup holders (two front and two rear), but the hidey hole in the dash is too small to fit my big iPhone sideways.

For charging devices you'll find four USB ports (two in that hidey hole and two in the centre console bin) and two 12-volt outlets. The second row doesn't get USB ports or a 12V outlet. Making back seat passengers feel even more left out is a lack of directional air vents in the second row, too.

  • The boot in the sedan is 115 litres larger in cargo capacity at 460 litres (VDA) and it fit the two CarsGuide suitcases with ease. (image: Richard Berry) The boot in the sedan is 115 litres larger in cargo capacity at 460 litres (VDA) and it fit the two CarsGuide suitcases with ease. (image: Richard Berry)
  • You can still fold the rear seats down in the sedan, which is what I did and loaded the Impreza up with a surprising amount of stuff I needed to clear out of the spare room. (image: Richard Berry) You can still fold the rear seats down in the sedan, which is what I did and loaded the Impreza up with a surprising amount of stuff I needed to clear out of the spare room. (image: Richard Berry)
  • Yes, that is an eight-foot Malibu surf board, and a pedestal fan and two heaters and a desk chair and a large plastic tub full of clippings of articles I’d written and for some reason still hold on to. (image: Richard Berry) Yes, that is an eight-foot Malibu surf board, and a pedestal fan and two heaters and a desk chair and a large plastic tub full of clippings of articles I’d written and for some reason still hold on to. (image: Richard Berry)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

As with all Imprezas, the 2.0i-S has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol engine under the bonnet making 115kW and 196Nm. A boxer engine has cylinders which lay flat and pistons inside them which punch in and out horizontally like a boxer, as opposed to being aligned vertically and moving up and down. The benefits of a boxer engine include a lower centre of mass and a constant purr which Subaru owners imitate to themselves when they're in the shower.

If only you could have the Impreza with a manual gearbox, because the continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto, while smooth, results in fairly uninspiring acceleration and turns the purr of the engine into a drone when you put the boot in.

Like the rest of the Imprezas, the 2.0i-S is all-wheel drive.

As with all Imprezas, the 2.0i-S has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol engine under the bonnet making 115kW and 196Nm. (image: Richard Berry) As with all Imprezas, the 2.0i-S has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol engine under the bonnet making 115kW and 196Nm. (image: Richard Berry)

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

According to Subaru the Impreza should use 7.2L/100km after a combination of open and urban roads. I used the Impreza as a moving van for the strange collection of items mention above and after 307.5km of roads from inner Sydney to Maitland (city streets, suburban roads and motorways) the Impreza's trip computer reported 6.2L/100km.

I wasn't able to test that figure at the fuel pump, but in my experience of Subarus in the past the average fuel reading on the display is never far off what I measure at the petrol pump. So, I'm confident in saying that the Impreza isn't a thirsty beast.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Impreza scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2016 and back then not many small cars had the same level of advanced safety equipment. The world has changed, and the rivals are now far better equipped than they were, but the 2.0i-S's standard safety features are still impressive.

The 2.0i-S comes with AEB (forward and reverse), blind spot warning, lane departure warning, lane change and lane keeping assistance, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. There's also lane sway alert, lead vehicle start and brake light recognition. The 2020 update saw side-view and front-view monitors joining the regular reversing camera. There are rear parking sensors but not front ones – personally, I'd rather a 'beep' than a camera picture, especially when it's dark.

Under the boot floor is a space saver spare wheel. (image: Richard Berry) Under the boot floor is a space saver spare wheel. (image: Richard Berry)

For child seats you'll find three top tether anchor points and two ISOFIX mounts across the rear row.

Under the boot floor is a space saver spare wheel.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

The Subaru Impreza 2.0i-S is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. There's also a five-year/62,500km capped price servicing program. Servicing is recommended at 12 month/12,500km intervals with the first capped at $350.25, the second at $588.31, the third at $354.83, the fourth at $784.77, and the fifth at $354.86 for a total of $2433.02 over the five years.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

The Impreza 2.0i-S's rivals are front-wheel drive cars. The Impreza is all-wheel drive. I feel like I could just leave that there and not have to write anything else, but I'll go on. See, even people who never think the journey is more important than the destination will like the way the Impreza drives.

They won't have any idea that regardless of the speed, or corner, or the muddy water that's streaming down the hill and across the road, that the Impreza's all-wheel drive system is constantly 'feeling' and anticipating any loss of traction and diverting drive away from a wheel that might slip and to another that will help keep everything under control. To them the Impreza will just feel really stable and easy to drive.

Along with being dynamic the Impreza 2.0i-S is also comfortable. The combination of the softness and with good handling is thanks to nicely turned suspension set up and a good choice of tyre (Yokohama 225/40R18 front and rear), while the planted feeling is helped by the boxer engine creating a lower centre of mass.

The continuously variable transmission is the only part of this excellent team letting things down slightly with acceleration being a little lacklustre. A regular automatic or manual gearbox would make the Impreza superb to drive.

The 2020 update added Subaru's SI-Drive modes. The S mode is for a sporty driving setting which favours better acceleration and responsiveness from the engine, while the I is an intelligent setting that's better for fuel economy.

Verdict

The Impreza 2.0i-S Sedan is outstanding in the way it drives, the value for money, its fit and finish and safety features. If you're after a small car that's practical, the sedan isn't bad, but the hatch is better for usable space.

Would you chose a small sedan over a hatch? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing guides

$27,475
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$23,590
Highest Price
$31,360

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.0i (AWD) 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $23,790 2020 Subaru Impreza 2020 2.0i (AWD) Pricing and Specs
2.0i (AWD) LIMITED EDITION 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $25,590 2020 Subaru Impreza 2020 2.0i (AWD) LIMITED EDITION Pricing and Specs
2.0i Premium (AWD) 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $27,690 2020 Subaru Impreza 2020 2.0i Premium (AWD) Pricing and Specs
2.0i-L (AWD) 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $25,890 2020 Subaru Impreza 2020 2.0i-L (AWD) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.9
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption8
Safety8
Ownership8
Driving8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

Share

Pricing Guide

$31,160

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

View cars for sale