2021 Kia Seltos vs. 2020 Subaru Impreza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Seltos’ standard Downhill Brake Control allows you to creep down safely. The Impreza doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

Both the Seltos and the Impreza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

Warranty

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The Seltos comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Impreza’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Seltos 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Subaru covers the Impreza. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Impreza ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 22 percent more Kia dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Seltos’ 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 Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 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 Kia vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The Seltos S 1.6T/SX’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 23 more horsepower (175 vs. 152) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Seltos’ 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.

Transmission

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

The Seltos offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Impreza doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Seltos

Seltos Turbo

Impreza

Impreza Sport

Front Rotors

11 inches

12 inches

10.9 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

10.3 inches

11.2 inches

10.8 inches

10.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Seltos has larger standard tires than the Impreza (215/55R17 vs. 205/55R16). The Seltos Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Impreza (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Seltos 2.0L has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Impreza.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Seltos is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Impreza.

For better maneuverability, the Seltos’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Impreza’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Seltos has a 2.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Impreza (7.3 vs. 5.1 inches), allowing the Seltos to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Seltos is 4.2 inches shorter than the Impreza 5-door, making the Seltos easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Seltos has .2 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more rear headroom and 1.5 inches more rear legroom than the Impreza.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Seltos’ rear seats recline. The Impreza’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Seltos has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Impreza 5-door with its rear seat up (26.6 vs. 20.8 cubic feet). The Seltos has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Impreza 5-door with its rear seat folded (62.8 vs. 55.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Seltos 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 Seltos and the Impreza offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Seltos S/EX/SX 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 Kia Seltos EX/SX has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Impreza doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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

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