2021 Toyota Corolla 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 2020/08/06

The Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Impreza doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the Corolla 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Impreza.

There are almost 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Corolla’s warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Corolla’s reliability 18 points higher than the Impreza.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 19th in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 27th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Subaru is ranked 7th.

Engine

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The Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 17 more horsepower (169 vs. 152) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 145) than the Impreza’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Corolla SE/XSE 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder is faster than the Subaru Impreza (manual transmissions tested):

Corolla

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

9.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87.5 MPH

81.4 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Corolla SE/XSE 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder is faster than the Subaru Impreza (automatics tested):

Corolla

Impreza

Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

83 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Corolla

Impreza

2.0 4 cyl./6-spd. Manual

29 city/36 hwy

23 city/31 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Manual

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

31 city/40 hwy

28 city/36 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

31 city/38 hwy

27 city/36 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

1.8 4 cyl./Auto

30 city/38 hwy

n/a

1.8 4 cyl./Auto

29 city/37 hwy

n/a

Transmission

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

A six-speed manual is optional on the Toyota Corolla SE/XSE SE, 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.

The Toyota Corolla has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Impreza doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Corolla stops shorter than the Impreza:

Corolla

Impreza

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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

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

The Corolla XSE 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.

Cargo Capacity

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The Corolla has a larger trunk than the Impreza Sedan (13.1 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Corolla’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 Corolla and the Impreza have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Corolla 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 Corolla’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Impreza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla 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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Impreza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Corolla 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.

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

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla is less expensive to operate than the Impreza because it costs $464 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Corolla than the Impreza, including $88 less for a water pump, $25 less for front brake pads, $128 less for a starter and $194 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/08/06

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Subaru Impreza by almost five to one during 2019.

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