2020 Honda Civic vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Impreza’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic and the Impreza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Civic is safer than the Subaru Impreza:

Civic

Impreza

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

20%

39%

Neck Stress

176 lbs.

247 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

192/350 lbs.

237/379 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

34%

Neck Stress

131 lbs.

208 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

70 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda Civic is safer than the Subaru Impreza:

Civic

Impreza

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

252 G’s

293 G’s

Hip Force

306 lbs.

400 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

68 G’s

79 G’s

Hip Force

356 lbs.

715 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

49 G’s

Hip Force

727 lbs.

824 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

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There are over 67 percent more Honda dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic’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 Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 16th in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

Engine

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The Civic’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 6 more horsepower (158 vs. 152) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Civic’s optional 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 22 more horsepower (174 vs. 152) and 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Civic Hatchback Sport/Sport Touring’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 28 more horsepower (180 vs. 152) and 35 lbs.-ft. more torque (180 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Civic 2.0 4-cylinder is faster than the Subaru Impreza (manual transmissions tested):

Civic

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

9.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88 MPH

81.4 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Civic is faster than the Subaru Impreza (automatics tested):

Civic 2.0

Civic 1.5T

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

6.8 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

15.3 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.1 MPH

93 MPH

83 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Civic Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Impreza Sedan:

MPG

Civic Sedan

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/36 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

32 city/42 hwy

Touring 1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

Impreza Sedan

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/36 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/36 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the Civic Hatchback gets better fuel mileage than the Impreza 5-Door:

MPG

Civic Hatchback

Manual

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

Auto

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

Sport 1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

Impreza 5-Door

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/36 hwy

Sport 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

The Civic 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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A six-speed manual is available on the Honda Civic, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Impreza.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Civic’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the Impreza:

Civic

Impreza

Front Rotors

11.1 inches

10.9 inches

The Civic stops much shorter than the Impreza:

Civic

Impreza

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Civic has larger standard tires than the Impreza (215/55R16 vs. 205/55R16). The Civic Sport/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Impreza (235/40R18 vs. 225/40R18).

Suspension and Handling

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The Civic has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Civic flat and controlled during cornering. The Impreza base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Civic 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.

The Civic’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Impreza doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Impreza (106.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

The Civic Touring Sedan handles at .90 G’s, while the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Civic Touring Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Impreza 2.0i Premium Sedan (26.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Honda Civic may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 200 pounds less than the Subaru Impreza.

The Civic Sedan is 4.8 inches shorter than the Impreza Sedan, making the Civic easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Civic Sedan has .3 inches more front shoulder room and .9 inches more rear legroom than the Impreza Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

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The Civic Sedan has a much larger trunk than the Impreza Sedan (15.1 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

The Civic Hatchback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Impreza 5-door with its rear seat up (25.7 vs. 20.8 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Civic Hatchback easier. The Civic Hatchback’s trunk lift-over height is 22 inches, while the Impreza’s liftover is 26 inches.

Ergonomics

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The Civic’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.

If the windows are left open on the Civic the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Impreza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Civic’s driver power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Impreza’s power window switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Civic Touring’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Impreza’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Civic has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Impreza has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Sport/Limited.

Both the Civic and the Impreza offer available heated front seats. The Civic Touring Sedan/Sport Touring also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Impreza.

The Civic EX/EX-L/Touring’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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Honda Civic 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 Honda Civic comes in coupe, sedan and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Subaru Impreza isn’t available as a coupe or four door hatchback.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Civic is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because it costs $591 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Civic than the Impreza, including $68 less for a water pump, $74 less for a muffler, $25 less for front brake pads, $40 less for fuel injection and $182 less for front struts.

Recommendations

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Consumer Reports® recommends both the Honda Civic and the Subaru Impreza, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Honda Civic outsold the Subaru Impreza by almost five to one during 2019.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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