2021 Subaru Impreza vs. Subaru Crosstrek: How Outdoorsy Are You?

Subaru is a unique breed because this brand delivers on both comfort and adventure. And if you specifically want a Subie ideal for city-driving, you might be interested in the Impreza or the Crosstrek. Both models have charming qualities, but how would you go about choosing between the two?

Driving the 2021 Subaru Impreza vs. Subaru Crosstrek 

A blue 2021 Subaru Impreza driving down a road
The 2021 Subaru Impreza in action | Photo via Subaru

The Impreza and Crosstrek are unquestionably related. So, as you’re doing your research on each model, you’ll see that they receive the same critiques. They come with the same 152-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. This four-cylinder is OK for city cruising and fuel efficiency. However, most critics say this powerplant makes for a pokey driving experience.

You don’t have the option to upgrade for more power with the Impreza, which is a bummer. Even so, this car still earns high marks for being fun to drive. It’s available with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic (CVT). The Impreza also allows you to pick between a sedan and hatchback body style. With the Crosstrek, you get a few more performance options.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek outdoors
2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

Like the Impreza, the Crosstrek offers a CVT, but a six-speed manual is standard. Additionally, all Crosstreks have AWD. The Crosstek’s taller ground-clearance contributes to its mild off-roading capabilities, which the Impreza can’t match. For the quickest Crosstrek experience, you’ll want to go for the new-for-2021 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 182-hp. And if eco-friendliness is a bigger priority for you, the Crosstrek is also available as a plug-in hybrid.  

Comparing car cabins 

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Interior
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Interior | Subaru

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The Crosstrek and the Impreza are both roomy enough to seat up to five people comfortably. Cloth upholstery is the standard for both. You can upgrade either with leather trimmings and heated seats for a more luxe feel. 

It’s worth mentioning that the Crosstrek has the advantage regarding cargo room. The Impreza sedan is below-average for storage space in the compact car class, as U.S. News notes. You’ll want to go for the hatchback body style for a larger trunk. 

Sideview of the Subaru Impreza's interior.
Subaru Impreza interior | Subaru

When it comes to in-car tech, the Crosstrek, and the Impreza both please. They come with user-friendly 6.5-inch touchscreen displays plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. More gadgets are available, including a larger touchscreen and a wifi hotspot. 

Furthermore, another bonus is that the Crosstrek and the Impreza offer the latest advanced safety features too. These new models are available with Subaru’s Eyesight suite. The suite includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and pre-collision braking. 

So, would you pick the Subaru Impreza or the Subaru Crosstrek?

A sign displaying the Subaru logo on display
A Subaru sign | Mario Tama/Getty Images

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The 2021 Subaru Impreza begins at $18,795, while the Crosstrek starts at $22,245. Really, it’s hard to go wrong with either one. You might want the Impreza because it’s slightly cheaper, and its smaller footprint makes it a little easier to maneuver. But if you want an elevated driver’s position, more power, and outdoorsy capabilities, the Crosstek is the better choice.