Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2021 Subaru Impreza Sport is driving on an open road after leaving a Subaru Impreza dealership.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Impreza For You

At Car Buyer Labs, we want to help you choose the best cars for your needs and lifestyle. While lots of the cars out there are nearly interchangeable and only differ from the competition in a few small ways, there are some cars that really stand out from the crowd. One of those can be found at your local Subaru Impreza dealership – this is just about the only affordable compact car out there that comes standard with all-wheel drive. It is even available as a hatchback and offers a manual transmission!

If you are seeking a comfortable, well-built, compact vehicle that is ready for literally anything and is still fun to drive, there are few better options than the Impreza. But which version of the Impreza is best for you? It is available in four different trims and eight different models, starting with a base sedan or five-door hatchback, Premium sedan or hatchback, Sport sedan or hatchback, and Limited sedan or hatchback body styles, with a variety of different options. That is a lot of very different options that run the gamut from practical to premium.

Before we look at the 2021 Subaru Impreza’s trim differences, let’s see what binds them together. All 2021 models have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine that can make 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired with either an efficient Continuously Variable Transmission or a manual transmission. The latter offers five speeds and is standard in three versions (the base sedan and hatchback as well as the Sport hatchback). The 2021 Impreza has been given many awards, including earning a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, winning a Best Resale Value award from Kelley Blue Book, and being named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. Subaru was also found to be #1 in Brand Loyalty for two years in a row by J.D. Powers.

The Base Trim

If you want to stay within your budget, don’t worry. The 2021 Subaru Impreza base trim offers an impressive list of features at an easy-on-the-pocketbook price. It is equipped with 16-inch steel wheels and can be selected with a manual transmission or the Lineartronic CVT. But there’s more. Subaru engineers added advanced infotainment systems in the base model that features a 6.5-inch touchscreen along with Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and Android Auto. You and your passengers will be pleased with the base model’s smartphone compatibility, which is not always found at this price point.

A blue 2021 Subaru Impreza Limited is parked next to a lake.

The Premium Trim

If you choose to upgrade to the Premium model, you’ll be rewarded with the Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) performance management system as well as Subaru STARLINK safety and security. While the Lineartronic CVT is the only transmission option on this trim, it now features a seven-speed manual mode. The Premium model is equipped with 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and other upgrades that include a de-icer built into the windshield wipers for those cold winter mornings, fog lights, and heated side mirrors that are color-coordinated with the exterior of the vehicle. Are you seeking to smell some fresh breezes? The trim even has the option of a panoramic power sunroof providing natural light and fresh air for your passengers.

One of the big perks of owning the Premium model is that it is equipped with SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Many fans of SiriusXM Radio praise its ability to offer a wide variety of entertainment options and channels from all over the country and listen to their favorite music. You and your family will also enjoy having Wi-Fi capability wherever you go on the road, being able to work or play games while traveling in your Impreza.

The Sport Trim

If you are seeking an Impreza with a bit more sass, perhaps the Sport trim should be your choice. It offers an edgy personality, bold accents, plus better features – especially if you’re attuned to technology, style, and value. It’s no wonder that drivers enjoy pushing the limits on the Sport trim. That’s because it is equipped with the Active Torque Vectoring (ATV) performance system, which reduces understeer, improves handling and driving dynamics, and helps drivers take tight corners.

On the exterior, you’ll notice the Sport’s impressive 18-inch wheels for better handling and side mirrors with turn signals built into them. Adding to its charm, the Sport has side rocker spoilers giving it a more aerodynamic design. You’ll gain a trunk spoiler if you choose the sedan version, while the hatchback variant has a roof spoiler. No worries about messing with keys either; the Sport offers standard keyless access with push-button start.

The interior cabin has been enhanced with a huge eight-inch touchscreen. It is decorated with cloth seats adorned with bright red stitching, aluminum-alloy pedal covers, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. Drivers will appreciate its available power seat, while those who appreciate music while they drive can enjoy the 2021 Sport can be upgraded with an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and powerful amplifier. Your backseat passengers will be happy with convenient USB charging ports.

A red 2021 Subaru Impreza Sport is driving in the rain.

The Limited Trim

If you’re seeking something more luxurious than sporty, the Limited trim of the 2021 Impreza will be more to your liking. Subaru designers have styled the door handles in chrome, and the raised roof rails are silver. Your passengers will relax in leather-upholstered seats as they control temperature through the automatic system. The driver can get comfortable in their six-way power-operated seat. Drivers will also easily be able to view data such as fuel economy, climate, and vehicle performance on the Limited’s 6.3-inch color multifunction display.

The Limited version of the 2021 Impreza boasts upgraded navigation and safety systems. The in-vehicle navigation system, only available in this top-of-the-line vehicle, provides turn-by-turn directions to destinations and helps you easily get through traffic. Subaru engineers have also resolved all safety issues. The vehicle has numerous airbags throughout the interior cabin, a LATCH system for holding child seats, and three-point seatbelts.

You’ll never be far from help with the STARLINK technology system in the Impreza, which will call for roadside assistance, provide vehicle reports, remote engine start, and remotely lock and unlock the vehicle. The Limited version further sets itself apart from other trims with its automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking.

Are You Ready to Choose Your Impreza?

No matter which model you choose as your 2021 Subaru Impreza, you’ll find that this compact car offers features that can’t be found on others in its class. Its attractive price tag will keep you within your budget, while its all-weather driving performance will keep you safe in any season or weather conditions. Due to Subaru engineers designing it with standard all-wheel-drive and an exceptionally low center of gravity, you’ll be impressed with its traction on back roads and snowy, icy highways. But while all the important features are standard, Subaru still leaves you with plenty of choices: sedan or hatchback, manual or automatic – they are all designed with a roomy interior for you and your passengers and high-quality comfort for a quiet, smooth ride.