2020 Buick Regal Sportback vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Regal Sportback and the Impreza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The Buick Regal Sportback weighs 598 to 1294 pounds more than the Subaru Impreza. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

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The Regal Sportback comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Impreza’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Regal Sportback 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Subaru covers the Impreza. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Impreza ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Regal Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Impreza’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Regal Sportback’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The Regal Sportback’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 98 more horsepower (250 vs. 152) and 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Regal Sportback’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 98 more horsepower (250 vs. 152) and 150 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Regal Sportback GS’ standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 158 more horsepower (310 vs. 152) and 137 lbs.-ft. more torque (282 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Buick Regal Sportback turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Subaru Impreza (automatics tested):

Regal Sportback

Impreza

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

9.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.4 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

17.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

84 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Regal Sportback’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Impreza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Regal Sportback has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Impreza (16.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Regal Sportback has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Impreza doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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The Buick Regal Sportback comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Impreza.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Regal Sportback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Impreza:

Regal Sportback

Regal Sportback GS

Impreza

Impreza Sport

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

10.9 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

12.4 inches

10.8 inches

10.8 inches

The Regal Sportback stops shorter than the Impreza:

Regal Sportback

Impreza

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Regal Sportback has larger standard tires than the Impreza (225/55R17 vs. 205/55R16). The Regal Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Impreza (245/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Regal Sportback has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Impreza. The Regal Sportback Avenir/GS’ 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Impreza Sport.

Suspension and Handling

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The Regal Sportback offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Impreza’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Regal Sportback has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Impreza doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Regal Sportback’s wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer than on the Impreza (111.4 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Regal Sportback is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Impreza.

The Regal Sportback GS handles at .83 G’s, while the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Regal Sportback GS executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan (26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Regal Sportback AWD uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Impreza doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Regal Sportback a Large car, while the Impreza Sedan is rated a Mid-size.

The Regal Sportback has .1 inches more front hip room, .2 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear legroom than the Impreza.

Cargo Capacity

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The Regal Sportback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Impreza Sedan (31.5 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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The Regal Sportback uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Impreza uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 28% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Regal Sportback (except Base/Preferred), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions and outside mirror angle. The Impreza doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Regal Sportback (except Base/Preferred)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Impreza doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Regal Sportback’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Impreza does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Regal Sportback GS offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Impreza doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Regal Sportback’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Impreza has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The power windows standard on both the Regal Sportback and the Impreza have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Regal Sportback is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Impreza prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Regal Sportback’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Impreza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

The Regal Sportback has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Impreza has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Sport/Limited.

The Regal Sportback’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Impreza Premium/Sport/Limited.

When the Regal Sportback with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Impreza’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Regal Sportback GS keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Impreza doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Regal Sportback Essence/Avenir/GS’ standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Impreza doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Regal Sportback GS has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Impreza.

The Regal Sportback’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Impreza doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Regal Sportback and the Impreza offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Regal Sportback has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Impreza doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Buick Regal (except Base/Preferred) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Impreza doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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The Regal Sportback is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Impreza doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Regal Sportback is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because typical repairs cost less on the Regal Sportback than the Impreza, including $31 less for a fuel pump, $103 less for front struts and $54 less for a timing belt/chain.

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