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How Subaru Secretly Steers You Away From The Impreza And Into The Crosstrek

The redesigned 2024 Subaru Impreza is a great vehicle, but Subaru doesn't want you to buy it. They want you to buy another all-wheel-drive vehicle. See what's going on behind the scenes. 

Subaru doesn't want you to buy its new Impreza compact hatch.

The statement sounds absurd on the surface. Why would an automaker intentionally steer you away from one of its models and toward another? The better question is, why wouldn't they?

Let's look at the facts.

The all-new 2024 Subaru Impreza and redesigned 2024 Subaru Crosstrek may seem similar, but they do have their distinct features. Both vehicles share the same interior, infotainment technology, EyeSight safety upgrades, and Subaru's Global platform. 

In a recent YouTube video, Subaru says, "Compare size, ground clearance, engines, MPG, cargo space, interiors, towing capacity, price and more in this side-by-side review of the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek vs. 2024 Subaru Impreza. You’ll discover everything that makes these vehicles different and find which Subaru is right for you."

However, the Impreza offers a lower center of gravity, delivering a more responsive and dynamic driving experience, while the Crosstrek, with its lifted body and available roof rails, provides a more commanding sight line and better outward visibility. 

They share the same interior, infotainment technology, EyeSight safety upgrades, and Subaru's Global platform. Read my Cosstrek Vs. Impreza comparison here

My Point Is

Subaru spent the same research and development resources to build the new Impreza and the Crosstrek. Subaru engineers did upgrade the Crosstrek with its suspension and the new Wilderness technology, but the rest of the money was already spent when they redesigned the Impreza.

Subaru's best interest is to steer you towards the Crosstrek because it's where they put more of their resources. The same demographic purchases the Impreza as the Crosstrek: young urban buyers, so why wouldn't they? 

Subaru's decision to focus on the Crosstrek is not a loss for them when you don't buy the Impreza. In fact, they have more profit in the slightly more expensive Crosstrek. This strategic business move, when you think about it, is a testament to Subaru's foresight and understanding of their market. 

Smart Move Subaru

The first move Subaru Corporation made was to drop the Impreza from Subaru of Indiana's assembly line. That move made room for the Crosstrek to be built in America for the first time. Check out my report here.

The next decision was to build Crosstrek Sport, a new outdoor-themed Wilderness, and upper Limited models in America, and to keep production of the slower-selling Base and Premium trims in Japan. 

The top-selling model before the remodel was the Crosstrek Sport with the 2.5-liter Boxer, and now the new rugged Wilderness is the hot model with the same engine. Now, Subaru saves additional shipping costs from Japan for its top-selling model. 

Ok, there's more

Say a younger buyer walks into a Subaru dealer looking at the Impreza. There are only a few models sitting on the retailer's lots. Then they see the higher-riding Crosstrek with its off-road abilities and think; I can have the Crosstrek for weekend activities away from the city for a couple thousand dollars more.

The Crosstrek, which is now built in America, has additional inventory sitting on retailer's lots now because it's built in Indiana, which is a lot closer than Gunma, Japan, so customers have a larger selection of the most popular trim levels. 

Customers may have to order the desired Impreza trim in the exact color and features that they want. 

A strategic decision

Subaru can build fewer Impreza models in Japan and will have more room for new hybrid and electric models in the next few years. 

They are still gaining those Impreza sales. They are steering buyers towards the Crosstrek, and it's a win-win for Subaru and the customer. Just check the impressive Crosstrek sales in my report here, and you'll see what I mean. 

Subaru's strategic decision to steer buyers towards the Crosstrek is not just a business move but a move that benefits the customer. The Crosstrek, a tremendous all-wheel-drive, all-purpose vehicle, offers more than just a grocery hauler or urban commuter. It's a vehicle that can handle weekend activities away from the city, providing a sense of adventure and versatility. 

Need More Evidence?

The body style, size, and shape are the same.

As mentioned, the Crosstrek and Impreza have similar, right-sized body shapes. Here's where they differ. 

The Impreza has a lower center of gravity, delivering a more responsive and dynamic driving experience. That's all the Impreza offers customers that the Crosstrek doesn't have. 

But that's different from what many active customers want the most.

The Crosstrek's body is lifted, and it has available roof rails, so the total height difference between the two models is about five inches.

This extra height gives Crosstrek drivers a more commanding sight line, providing better outward visibility.

Active customers can tow a small trailer.

In the Crosstrek Wilderness, the standard towing capacity is up to 3,500 pounds, while the Impreza only has a 1,500 lb. towing capability. 

Ground Clearance, X-Mode, and Specialized Trims

With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-Mode, the Crosstrek is better suited for venturing off the beaten path. The Wilderness trim on the Crosstrek offers even more ground clearance (9.3 inches). Impreza sits 5.1 inches off the ground. 

Wilderness trims have all-terrain tires and, like the Crosstrek Sport and Limited, a more advanced dual-function X-mode for more extreme conditions, such as deep snow, deep sand, and mud.

Can you sleep on the roof?

The standard roof rails on the Crosstrek Wilderness can handle up to 700 pounds of static load for bikes, kayaks, or even a rooftop tent. Extra tie-down points provide even more cargo-hauling versatility, so you can bring any gear you need. But not on the Impreza. 

Cargo Space and Versatility

Ok, so the Impreza wins here. The Crosstrek has slightly less cargo volume than the Impreza due to the spare tire tucked away in the trunk.

Roof Rails and Crossbars

For cargo that won't fit in the cabin, roof rails come standard on most trims of the Crosstrek, and crossbars can be added. The Impreza doesn't come with roof rails. You'll only get standard mounting points to install available crossbars.

Interior Comforts and Conveniences

Depending on the trim, the Crosstrek offers perforated leather or water-repellent StarTex upholstery. Not so on the Impreza. 

Now, let's look at pricing. Because it has extra features and capabilities, the Crosstrek's starting price is about $2,000 more than the Impreza's. That's not much more when considering the Crosstrek's strengths. 

Here's What I Think Happened

I can't prove this, but I think Subaru executives sat around a conference table and figured out how they could still offer the Impreza small compact hatch, save in design costs, and then offer the hot new Crosstrek and sell more than ever.

They lure customers into its showrooms with the Impreza's lower price, limit the production of the Impreza so few are available, and then steer them towards the Crosstrek, and they have a more plentiful supply. 

It's not a deceptive plan but a secret one working for Subaru. 

What do you think? Click the Add New Comment link below and let us know.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News and Subaru reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

I’ve got you covered! - I cover all Subaru all the time - It’s called the “Subaru Report.” Check back daily for my expert Subaru analysis!

photo credit: Competition Subaru


Gary (not verified)    June 16, 2024 - 10:28AM

It's unfortunate this phenomenon is happening. Many car manufacturers alienate car enthusiasts which is a reason there's an increased interest for pre-owned vehicles from pre-2010. For some of us, a weekend out of the city is at a circuit racetrack for lapping days. I drive my sedan to national and provincial parks to go mountain biking, hiking, caving, etc., and all the roads that lead to parking areas are all paved or packed gravel roads. Never are they the off-roading ungroomed paths depicted in commercials and photos that the marketing team wants us to believe. CUVs and SUVs are unnecessary. Bring back the passenger car.

Wanda Whittenburg (not verified)    June 16, 2024 - 3:50PM

I wouldn’t buy any Subaru at this point I bought a 2016 impreza Subaru off the showroom floor. I’ve taken very good care of it. I’m a senior. I haven’t put very many miles on it and all the sudden my screen froze. A well known problem known to Subaru. All should be recalled but they will not pay for mine only prior to 2016. I’m having the same issues as 2017 and above Then the screen popped and cracked. My air conditioner knob no longer works except if I can do it between three and four then you get blasted but it’s the only one that I work 12 and three no longer work than last week I went to put my groceries in my trunk and both of the struts broke and it hit me in the head. I have replaced my headlight three times and they’re so clouded right now. It’s ridiculous. Almost unsafe to drive now. The front and back bumper is barely hanging on and paint peeling.

I’m sorry you can keep your Subarus. I should’ve kept my Ford focus that I gave My sister that is still running much better than my car and it was a 2010 Ford focus shame on you Subaru. I don’t have the money to fix these issues I no longer work and I’m poverty level so I have to run Ridiculous working car.

Ellen Arguimbau (not verified)    June 16, 2024 - 7:02PM

All you say may be true. But the Impreza is the perfect car for me. It's lower clearance allows me to load and unload my recombent tricycle with ease. I could not do that with the Crosstrak because of its
higher tailgate and slightly smaller interior storage space. My trike fits in with an inch and a half to spare.

Jack F. (not verified)    June 16, 2024 - 9:36PM

Owning a 2020 Crosstrek has been a pleasure. Solidly built, excellent in poor weather conditions, better mileage than rated, and Excellent handling. You mention the lower center of gravity of the Impreza, but the Crosstrek, due to the boxer engine, has a much lower center of gravity than any comparable SUV which makes it the sports car in its class. It is also comfortable on long drives and in the Limited trim has all the technology anyone really needed. Being a senior, with unstable knees, it is also at a height is easy to enter and exit without strain, unlike the Impreza which is too low for that. I just wish they would make one with the engine/drivetrain (automatic trans) from the WRX for a bit more excitement.

bobE (not verified)    June 16, 2024 - 11:00PM

Just saw the new Impreza on the road today. I thought it looked great. That said, highway mileage seems to have dropped below what my 2017 Impreza got.

The way I see it, Crosstrek is for old geezers who have trouble getting into low cars. The low sitting Impreza is better for young folks.

However, if I was in the market for a new Subaru, I'd get the Impreza. Alas, I'm a MINI guy now.

Chuck P. (not verified)    June 17, 2024 - 2:05PM

Saw a new Impreza at the dealership while my wife's Forester was getting serviced. I'm really disappointed in what they did do the Impreza when compared to my 2014 model. Lower to the ground than the 2014 (which was low, to begin with) and only available as a hatchback with way less trunk space with the seats up. It's almost like they're purposefully trying to kill the model off. And with them killing the Legacy, they really want out of the sedan market.

We have had 4 Subarus in our household so we're invested in the brand but I will likely move on in the next 2 years to look again at Toyota and Mazda for sedan options.

NMK (not verified)    June 18, 2024 - 6:19PM

They follow the herd thats all. SUV/CUVs are nothing more than a massive monkey see, monkey do herd mentality. Everyone likes to think they live this super rugged lifestyle. They NEED awd and to be off-road capable. Gotta have that 8" of ground clearance too. You are just a wuss if you dont, am I right..!?
Whats that you say.... None of them do any real off-roading? Driving on a gravel road and 1" of snow dust is the extent of their extreme driving? The car never actually needs awd? Spends all its time parked on a city street or nail salon parking lot....? That cant be true, they swore they were super rugged people.

Silentwolf (not verified)    June 18, 2024 - 9:44PM

Sportiness has left Subaru. Brz is underpowered, no Wrx hatch, and no turbo models for any of the regular line. CVT sucks the life out of the already anemic engines. There was a time when you went to Subaru for fun all weather handling cars, RIP subie.