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Model Comparison Guide: Subaru Impreza vs WRX | Subaru

Model Comparison Guide: Subaru Impreza vs. WRX

Why drive a basic car when you can drive a Subaru? You shouldn’t have to settle for the bare minimum when it comes to your dream car, and the Subaru Impreza and WRX are anything but ordinary. When looking to purchase a Subaru Impreza vs. WRX, you need to know their key features and capabilities in order to make an informed decision. While these two types of vehicles may have many similarities, there are often certain unique features that make them stand out more.

If you’re torn between the Impreza and WRX, it’s safe to say it’s not going to be an easy decision to make. There’s much to love about these two cars, and at the end of the day, you want the car to complement your lifestyle. As a trusted automotive expert that has been in the car manufacturing industry for years, we know a thing or two about which car is ideal for you.

Performance and Power

When they said there was a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, they were talking about Subaru engines. What makes both the Impreza and WRX so powerful is their iconic BOXER engine. The Impreza has a 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder, 4-stroke petrol engine that delivers 115 kW and 196 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the WRX has a new 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged horizontally-opposed engine that delivers 202 kW and 350 Nm of torque.

Both models are coupled with the clever Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, our full-time driving system that gives you the control and traction you need to drive with confidence. Whether you’re making sharp turns or simply driving on wet roads, the SAWD system gives you grip without the tyres slipping.

Design and Styling

Next come aesthetics. Oh, where do we even start? We’re not stingy when it comes to giving our cars the best of the best, and their design and styling speak for itself. The Impreza comes in two ranges: the 2.0i Lineartronic TM CVT and the 2.0i-S ES Lineartronic TM. It’s a compact sedan built with a fancy roof spoiler and rail, attractive aluminium alloy wheels, and front fog lamps.

Now comes the dynamic and sporty WRX. She combines traditional design elements with contemporary additions. At every angle, this sporty sedan is shorter in height and features a signature bonnet scoop and hexagonal grille. To add the cherry on top, the multi-functional LED steering-responsive headlights complement the wider and more aggressive stance.

Did you know that the Impreza was awarded one of Ward’s 10 Best Interiors of 2017? It features a refined interior with the largest passenger volume in its class, with high-quality soft-touch materials, and leather seats, making it super comfortable to drive in. The WRX has an 8-way power driver’s seat with additional lumbar support. As well as luxurious, soft-touch Ultrasuede trim seats that are both comfortable and resilient.

Technology and Features

Subaru cars are the definition of advanced technology and confidence in motion. The Subaru Impreza and WRX feature an AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA infotainment system with an 8” high-resolution, multi-gesture touch screen. It also features Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth to listen to music or take important calls.

The Impreza vs. WRX models feature our EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which makes use of dual camera-based technology and integrates other driver-assistance technologies such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure, sway warning, lane keep assist, and more.

Driving Experience

The WRX is a performance-oriented model known for its turbocharged engine, sport-tuned suspension, and more aggressive styling, making it a better choice for those who prioritise spirited driving and handling performance. The Impreza, on the other hand, is a practical and comfortable compact car with the benefit of AWD, making it suitable for daily driving and adverse weather conditions.

The WRX often offers a more extensive range of driving modes compared to the Impreza. These modes can include Sport, Sport Sharp, and Intelligent (or similar names). Common modes on the Impreza may include Normal, Eco, and Sport, with the latter providing a slightly more responsive throttle and, in some cases, adjusting the transmission behaviour. The WRX typically has a more responsive and direct steering feel, and the Impreza is generally tuned for ease of use and predictable handling.

There’s nothing wrong with enhancing the performance of your Impreza or WRX; however, just remember that modifications should be done carefully and with consideration for your intended use of the vehicle.

Practicality and Versatility

Now, when it comes to looking for a car that suits your lifestyle, the Impreza vs. WRX are not entirely designed for the same lifestyle demands. For instance, if you have a family and do grocery errands and pick up the kids from school, the Impreza is made for you. It’s what we like to call a versatile and practical choice suitable for those with active lifestyles. The WRX is more of a performance-oriented model as it has a sportier suspension and turbocharged engine, which may not be ideal for daily commuting.

Both the Impreza and WRX typically offer seating for up to five passengers, with a standard configuration of two front seats and a rear bench seat. Because the WRX is available as a sedan only, it does not have as much cargo space compared to the Impreza, which offers greater cargo capacity and flexibility for hauling items.

Pricing and Value

The most important topic is pricing and value. In terms of starting prices and overall ownership costs, the Subaru Impreza is a better option compared to the WRX. Since the Impreza will no longer be a part of our range, the 2017 and 2018 Impreza second-hand models range from R200,000 onwards. It’s a practical and reliable choice for daily driving with good resale value. The WRX, on the other hand, is focused on performance and typically comes with a higher starting price, anywhere from R799,000 upwards. It may have higher maintenance and insurance costs, but it can offer a more exhilarating driving experience for enthusiasts.

Subarus, in general, tend to have good resale value due to their reputation for reliability and SAWD capability. While both the Impreza and WRX can hold their value well, the WRX may have a slightly higher resale value, especially if it’s a well-maintained performance model.

Subaru Impreza vs. WRX: Which is Right for You?

After all the comparisons, the billion-dollar question still stands: which is the right car for you? While we can’t tell you which one you should go for, we can give you a list of the key differences and advantages of each model to help you make an informed decision. Let’s look at some of them below:


  • Available in both sedan and hatchback, offering practicality and cargo space.
  • It offers better fuel economy, making it cost-effective for daily commutes.
  • Designed for a comfortable driving experience.
  • It is budget-friendly as it has lower starting prices and ownership costs.
  • Very reliable with a good resale value.


  • Geared towards enthusiasts seeking higher horsepower and sportier handling.
  • Equipped with a turbocharged engine for more power.
  • Features a sportier suspension setup for improved handling.
  • Offers a more performance-oriented interior design.
  • Can have a slightly higher resale value, especially for well-maintained models.

It’s crucial to schedule test drives for both the Subaru Impreza and Subaru WRX to truly experience their differences and advantages firsthand. A test drive will allow you to evaluate factors such as driving dynamics, comfort, and how well each model aligns with your lifestyle and driving habits. It’s the best way to make an informed decision and choose the Subaru that fits you best.

Whether you’re leaning towards the practicality of the Impreza or the performance-oriented nature of the WRX, consulting Subaru’s experts and experiencing both models through test drives will help you make the right choice that suits your unique needs and preferences.

Visit your local Subaru dealership to explore the WRX and Impreza models, or visit Subaru’s official website for more information and to schedule your test drive today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the main differences between the Subaru Impreza and WRX?

A: The Impreza is designed for daily commuting and practicality, while the WRX is geared towards enthusiasts who prioritise sporty driving. In terms of budget, the WRX generally has a higher starting price compared to the Impreza. From a performance aspect, the WRX is a high-performance model with a turbocharged engine, sport-tuned suspension, and more power, while the Impreza is a more practical and fuel-efficient compact car.

Q: Which model offers better performance: Impreza or WRX?

A: The WRX is designed for enthusiasts who enjoy spirited driving and is known for its turbocharged engine, sporty suspension, and all-wheel-drive capabilities.

Q: Is the WRX worth the additional cost compared to the Impreza?

A: If you prioritise performance and are willing to invest in a more engaging driving experience, the WRX can be worth the additional cost. However, if practicality, budget, and daily usability are more critical to you, the Impreza may be the better choice.

Q: Can I customise the Impreza or WRX with additional features?

A: Yes, you can customise both the Subaru Impreza and Subaru WRX with additional features and accessories to tailor them to your specific preferences and needs. It’s essential to use genuine Subaru accessories and consult with authorised Subaru dealerships or certified technicians.

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