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2021 Subaru Crosstrek Vs 2021 Impreza - One Is Red Hot The Other Ice Cold

Should you buy the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek or the 2021 Subaru Impreza? Here’s why the Crosstrek is a good pick, and you should wait for 2022 Impreza models.


Subaru brought the 2021 Crosstrek Sport and Limited trims with a 2.5-liter direct-injection Boxer engine with 30 more horsepower, and interest in the newly-refreshed Crosstrek skyrocketed. Demand for the new Crosstrek is high in North America, with retailers seeing the Crosstrek models fly off their lots as soon as they get them. Even before the new 2021 models arrived, Crosstrek was the hardest to find car in North America.

Why is the new Crosstrek so popular?

The Crosstrek offers a younger demographic a subcompact SUV with standard all-wheel-drive, a taller ride height (8.7-inches of ground clearance), fuel-efficiency, off-pavement performance (dual-function X-Mode), and the best industry safety crash scores and ratings.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek vs Impreza

Subaru hit the mark offering the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport and Limited trims with the 2.5-liter engine. The Crosstrek was underpowered and now comes with the power to match its other strong qualities.

There have been 76,924 Crosstrek sales through September compared with 32,155 for the Impreza compact sedan and hatchback models. Why is the Impreza so far behind its stablemate?

2021 Subaru Crosstrek vs Impreza

Should I buy a 2021 Impreza?

The Subaru Impreza is falling further behind all other models in the lineup. In September, when every Subaru model posted gains over last year, the Impreza compact sedan and hatchback dropped again. The Impreza was down 21.1 percent over the same month the previous year and is down 34.8 percent year-to-date, more than any model.

It’s not unusual for this to happen to a model before it gets a complete remodel. Interest wanes as the Impreza is now in the fifth year of its life cycle. Here’s why you should wait for the 2022 Impreza model.

What’s next for the 2022 Impreza?

A full redesign is coming in 2022, and the compact sedan and hatchback need something big to keep up with the competition. We know the next-generation 2022 Impreza will come with the new EyeSight X driver-assist safety technology. It could get a new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, and Subaru could drop the manual transmission.

Subaru will likely do something to catch the attention of a young demographic seeking sporty and fast. When the Impreza cut ties with the sport-tuned WRX in 2015, the Impreza compact lost its performance car nature. It’s been in a steady decline ever since.

Subaru is not one to make radical exterior changes, but Impreza needs more than other models. The compact car looks like a lowered version of the Crosstrek, and it needs to move away from the adventurous model with a radical new design.

The Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback could use a larger engine option like its stablemate Crosstrek just received. That would spark new interest in the Impreza models and give it a proper Sport trim with added power. The new 2.4-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine the 2022 BRZ will likely get would be a perfect choice.

If the 2021 Subaru Impreza is on your shopping list, it’s getting significant changes for the 2022 model year, and you should wait. Will it be enough to spark interest like the newly-updated 2021 Crosstrek? Subaru will make the reveal sometime next spring. Stay tuned.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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Dave (not verified)    October 25, 2020 - 5:24PM

I think the purchase advice is incorrect. If the current Impreza is attractive to a potential buyer, they'd be far better off financially to buy a "less in demand" '20 model, or better, a deeply discounted '19 left over, than wait for a new model that a dealer won't discount. If it's popular enough, it may get a significant mark-up. Better still, buy a nicely cared for lease return. But, wait until Dec '20 or later as demand and prices are expected to drop.