Buying Tips

2018 Honda Civic vs 2018 Subaru Impreza: Which is Better?

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Civic or Impreza

With this article, we’re going to answer the question of “Civic or Impreza?” by comparing the 2018 Impreza to the highly acclaimed 2018 Honda Civic. Excellent value aside, there are several ways in which the 2018 Civic stands out as a leader among its class; with a strong powertrain, a class-leading fuel economy, and an eye-catching design, it’s no wonder it has been Canada’s best selling car since the 1990s.

CATEGORIES WE’RE JUDGING

We’ll choose a winner by comparing the two cars across five categories:

  1. Pricing and Standard Features
  2. Power, Performance, and Fuel Economy
  3. Interior (including space and build quality)
  4. Safety
  5. Styling

Civic or Impreza

1. Pricing and Standard Features


2018 HONDA CIVIC

  • MSRP: $16,690 – $28,590

The 2018 Honda Civic starts at $16,690 and comes in 7 different trims:

  1. DX ($16,690)
  2. LX ($19,590)
  3. SE ($22,390)
  4. EX ($23,990)
  5. EX-T ($25,390)
  6. Touring ($27,590)
  7. Si ($28,590)

Lower Trims

Bottom line: the 2018 Civic offers more at a lower price, putting other compact to cars to shame.

The base DX trim offers a fair number of sought-after features, like Siri Eyes Free compatibility, HandsFreeLink bilingual Bluetooth wireless mobile phone interface, and power windows with auto-up/down for the driver’s and passenger’s side. By making the jump to the LX trim, you’ll gain Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated front seats, available CVT, SMS text messaging and email functions, USB ports, a 7-inch colour centre display with Driver Information Interface, and much more. You get all this for less than $3,000 more than the base trim.

On the SE trim you’ll enjoy an array of active safety and driver assist technologies, including Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Mitigating Braking system, and the list goes on. This trim also adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity key entry system with a push button start, and a remote engine starter. Plus, to handle our unforgiving Albertan road conditions, the SE Civic sits on 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

Higher Trims

The EX-T trim strikes the perfect balance between great features, power, and reasonable pricing. At this trim, the 2.0-litre engine is replaced by the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, which we’ll explore in more detail below in the “Power, Performance, Fuel Efficiency” section. This trim sits on 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and has fog lights and a deck lid rear spoiler. It includes all of the active safety and driver assist features you’ll ever need, such as a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning system, Lane Departure Warning system, Road Departure Mitigation system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist system, Honda LaneWatch blind spot display, 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking system, and more.

Skipping to the top trim, the Si trim delves into the realm of sports car performance as it is equipped with the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, 6-speed manual transmission, and a sport mode button. It generates 205 horsepower (which is fantastic for a car this size, at this price) and 192 lb-ft of torque. 18-inch aluminum-allow wheels, a centre exhaust finisher, and a rear wing spoiler add character and performance points to the Civic’s exterior.

Note that the information listed above primarily relates to the sedan, but the coupe and hatchback versions of the Civic offer comparable equipment and pricing.

2018 SUBARU IMPREZA

  • MSRP: $19,995 – $30,995

Like the Civic, the 2018 Impreza is available as a sedan or a hatchback, and the features on the four available trims are the same between the two body styles. However, you’ll be paying a bit more for the hatchback versions.

  1. Convenience ($19,995)
  2. Touring ($21,895)
  3. Sport ($24,395 – $27,195)
  4. Sport-tech ($28,595 – $30,095)

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the sedan version of the Impreza. Just keep in mind that the hatchback version will add about $900 to whichever package you go with.

The base Convenience trim ($3300 more than the Civic’s base model) has fewer features to brag about, although it does come with power windows, a STARLINK smartphone integration, a USB port, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen display compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It sits on 16-inch steel wheels, has remote locking and unlocking, and cloth upholstery.

The Touring trim is better equipped, gaining 16-inch alloy wheels (good for Canadian winters), heated front seats, and fog lights. But if you want the most exciting Impreza, you’re going to have to make the jump to the top Sport-tech trim. With a heated steering wheel, leather seating surfaces with silver stitching, a power tilting and sliding glass sunroof, an 8-inch infotainment system (with navigation, Sirius XM Traffic, and STARLINK), 18-inch two tone aluminum-alloy wheels, and a better suspension system, the subdued exterior will seem like a disguise to a well-rounded, comfortable compact car that drives quite nicely. The downside, however, is that you’ll be paying a heck of a lot more for the added convenience when compared to the Civic and other competitors.

WHO WINS?

The Civic.

When all is said and done, the 2018 Civic simply offers more lower prices. But the Impreza shouldn’t feel too bad – the Civic leads the whole class in value and feature offerings.

HONOURABLE CLASS MENTIONS

  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mazda 3
  • Toyota Corolla

Civic or Impreza

2. Power, Performance, Fuel Efficiency


2018 HONDA CIVIC

The 2018 Honda Civic performs exceptionally well no matter how you look at it. Smooth, fast, and frugal where fuel consumption is concerned, the Civic is just fun to drive. Customers have the choice between two formidable engines: a 1.5-litre turbocharged, direct injection 4-cylinder engine that produces 174 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque; and a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine that provides 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to a few upgrades, the Si trim equipped with the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine delivers 205 horsepower and 192 lb.-ft. of torque – a 10% torque boost over the previous model. Both are excellent and good on gas, but if you’re looking for some extra oomph, opt for the 1.5 litre turbocharged engine; it’ll give you that extra boost off the line without guzzling more gas.

Just like the two engine options, you can’t make a wrong choice when it comes to the two available transmission systems. The two options are a 6-speed manual transmission and a CVT. The CVT system is one of the best out there, and it does a good job at mitigating the issues people usually find with other CVT systems. What’s more, CVT-fitted Sport and Sport Touring hatchbacks come with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Fuel Economy

As far as fuel economy goes, the 2018 Civic sits near the top of its class, proving that power and fuel efficiency can indeed go together. At its best, the Civic manages an impressive 7.4 L/100km in the city, 5.6 L/100km on the highway, and a combined 6.6 L/100km (with the CVT and the more powerful 1.5-litre turbocharged engine). With the 2.0-litre engine and manual transmission the Civic gets 8.5 L/100km in the city, 6.0 L/100km on the highway, and a combined 7.4 L/100km, which is still better than the Impreza’s best. To make matters even better, the 2018 Civic also comes with an Eco Assist function, which, when turned on, will automatically engage your engine and other systems under the hood to run more efficiently and conserve fuel.

Also worth noting is the Civic’s refined suspension system. With an independent strut front and independent multi-link rear suspension working together to give the Civic a dynamic driving composure, you can always expect a smooth, sport-like drive.

2018 SUBARU IMPREZA

Don’t be fooled. Although the 2018 Impreza looks fast, it’s actually one of the slowest cars in its class. While the 2018 Impreza offers a nice all-wheel drive system that provides the stable traction needed for Edmonton winters, along with smart handling, good braking, and responsive steering, its lackluster powertrain will leave you wanting more. Indeed, Car and Driver has even gone as far as saying the 2018 Impreza is “as slow-moving as Homer Simpson after a night at Moe’s Tavern,” and “a tortoise in a class of hares.” Furthermore, its fuel economy ratings are mediocre at best, and if you choose the wrong model, you might as well get yourself an SUV, as you’ll be burning comparable amounts of fuel.

On the bright side, the 2018 Impreza is one of the only compact cars to offer standard AWD. If all-wheel drive is a must-have for you, your options become rather limited. Only the Mitsubishi Lancer presents an alternative of comparable size and price. The AWD offered by the Impreza is quite good, and provides you with enough stable traction to handle our wintery roads. But the Impreza’s AWD is the only real advantage it holds over the Honda Civic.

Beyond that, the Impreza’s powertrain and fuel economy disappoints. Its power comes from the Subaru Boxer engine, a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine that provides 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. That may look fine on paper, but according to Edmund’s testing, it took the Impreza 9.4 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) – one of the slowest times of this segment.

Fuel Economy

The transmission systems mated to the engine could also be improved. The five-speed manual transmission, which is standard to lower trims, is notchy and imprecise. The optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is fine, but a little slow to react to driver inputs.

In terms of fuel economy, if you choose the right Impreza, you’ll be burning a lot of gas for a car this size. There’s much better out there (notably, the Civic). When paired with the CVT, the Impreza can manage 8.4 L/100km in the city, and 6.5 L/100km on the highway. But when paired to the standard manual transmission, it will only get 10.1 L/100km in the city, and 7.7 L/100km on the highway. In sum, the manual models are sub-par when it comes to fuel economy, and the CVT models are average.

WHO WINS?

The Civic … and it wasn’t a close race.

Something of a multisport athlete, the 2018 Civic strikes a perfect balance between power, handling, fuel efficiency, and comfort. While the Impreza has an all-wheel-drive system that you can count on to prevent your car from getting stuck in deep ruts of snow, its powertrain and fuel economy ratings knock it off the shortlist of top-performing compact cars.

HONOURABLE CLASS MENTIONS

  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Mazda 3

Civic or Impreza

3. Interior


2018 HONDA CIVIC

The 2018 Honda Civic has an impressive interior. With plenty of cargo space and clever storage options, along with an array of advanced tech features and seating space, the Civic would be a top contender in all interior metrics if it weren’t for an infotainment system that’s a little bit more difficult to navigate. Let’s dive into the nitty gritty.

There’s an abundance of seating space in the 2018 Civic. Four passengers can sit comfortably, and a fifth passenger in the middle-rear seat isn’t as much of an inconvenience as it is in its competitors, including the Impreza. There’s legroom for miles and the headspace is more than adequate.

Quality Materials

Cargo space in the 2018 Civic is among the best of its class. The Civic has larger trunk space than any of its rivals. With the added option to fold down the split rear seats, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an object you can’t fit in the Civic. What’s more, Honda built in a bunch of ingenious additional storage compartments, like the massive center console with removable bins and cup holders that allow you to adjust the space to your exact needs.

High quality materials are found all trims. Should you want to experience a luxury-like interior, mid and upper-end trims offer amenities like heated rear and front seats, leather-trimmed seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a premium audio system that will transform the car into a concert hall.

The only downside to the 2018 Civic’s interior is its infotainment system. While capable of everything its competitors accomplish, it’s just not as intuitive. Plus, the lack of a knob-adjuster for the audio volume is a bit frustrating. But once you get past the learning curve, these issues fade to the background and are practically unnoticeable.

2018 SUBARU IMPREZA

People are greedy. They want a compact car with a spacious interior and all the high-tech features of today’s vehicles, even though the two concepts seem to contradict each other. Luckily for them, manufacturers listened.

We have very few qualms when it comes to the 2018 Impreza’s interior. Its cabin is spacious, its controls are intelligently laid-out and simple to understand, and visibility leaves little to desire. Thanks to a larger body, the Impreza can seat four people comfortably, but a fifth passenger in the middle rear seat will feel a little cramped. Headspace and legroom is a non-issue.

Getting in and out is relatively easy, and an easily adjustable driving seating position allows drivers to tailor their Impreza just how they want it.

Infotainment System

The 2018 Impreza offers a 6.5-inch touchscreen to lower trims. Higher end trims come with a larger 8.0-inch unit. Both have logical menus and good graphics, and the Subaru Starlink system that accompany them offers such services as Stolen Vehicle Recovery and hands-free smartphone operation for easy access to apps and content.

Standard to all 2018 Impreza trims are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An in-dash navigation system is exclusive to the top trims, as are a premium audio system, a sunroof, automatic high-beam headlights, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise-control, lane-keeping assist, lane departure-warning, and front and rear automated emergency braking.

To summarize, the 2018 Impreza gains points for its ergonomic friendliness and spaciousness. Its interior styling is a tad simple and the standard features found in the more affordable trims leave you wanting a bit more.

WHO WINS?

It’s a tie.

It was a close race.  If the Civic would revise its infotainment system, then it just might beat the Impreza in this category (because the Civic has more cargo space and a more attractive interior styling than the Impreza). Conversely, the Impreza will have to improve the availability of exclusive features, and should spice up its interior styling.

HONOURABLE CLASS MENTIONS

  • Mazda 3
  • Toyota Corolla

Civic or Impreza

4. Safety


2018 HONDA CIVIC

According to the NHTSA and the IIHS, the Civic ranks slightly lower than the Impreza in terms of safety. Nevertheless, it remains one of the safest options on the market beyond just compact cars.

The IIHS gave the Civic top scores on all counts for crashworthiness. The NHTSA awarded it the top score of five stars in all categories except one. This was a four-star rating for front-crash safety in coupe models. The reason it didn’t get named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHSA, like its Subaru counterpart did, is because of the headlights didn’t meet expectations.

The 2018 Civic is also child seat friendly, as the doors open wide and the latch points are easy to locate. However, installing a particularly bulky child seat has the effect of cutting down on legroom for the front seats.

All trims are equipped with six airbags, a backup camera, traction and safety control systems, and child-seat anchors. All active safety features fall under the umbrella of the new Honda Sensing technologies. It adds adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. These options are relatively inexpensive to add, so for the price of a coffee a day for a year, you can drive around the city streets feeling like Iron Man.

2018 SUBARU IMPREZA

Receiving a four-and-a-half star out of a possible five from Car and Driver, top marks in NHTSA crash tests, and the Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHSA, the 2018 Subaru is about as safe as a compact car can get.

It’s child seat friendly, thanks to a flat rear bench and doors that open wide. However, it is quite difficult to find the latches to hold the child seat down. This is a minor inconvenience, but a time-waster nonetheless.

All 2018 Impreza’s come standard with a rearview camera, seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control. Upper trims (Premium, Limited, and CVT equipped Sport models) can be further upgraded with the EyeSight package. This package consists of a number of active safety and driver assist technologies, such as adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

WHO WINS? 

The Impreza wins… narrowly.

Both the Civic and the Impreza show that “smaller” doesn’t mean “less safe.” Both cars boast more than adequate crash-test safety ratings. Both are available with all the latest active safety and driver assist features found on the market today. If safety is your utmost concern, you will be well-served by either vehicle. But because the Impreza received the Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHSA, it clinches a victory in this category.

HONOURABLE CLASS MENTIONS

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mazda 3

Civic or Impreza

5. Styling


2018 HONDA CIVIC

The 2018 Civic’s design, carried over from 2017, stands out as the more eye-catching of the two. It has a sportier look to it than the Impreza, and it also performs better on the road. Even if you’re not a fan of gaudy designs, don’t worry – the Civic’s design is daring, yet still pragmatic.

2018 SUBARU IMPREZA

The 2018 Impreza’s design is charming if a little uninspiring. Aside from headlamps that activate automatically when the windshield wipers are turned (on higher trims), the design is almost entirely carried over from the 2017 model.

Overall, it’s a decent-looking car. It has a crisp look, but ultimately, it doesn’t do anything to stand out.

WHO WINS?

The Civic wins.

HONOURABLE CLASS MENTIONS

  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Mazda 3

Civic or Impreza

Civic or Impreza: Final Verdict


The 2018 Civic wins, with a 3-1-1 record! Here’s how it all broke down:

  • Pricing + Features — Civic
  • Performance + Fuel Economy — Civic
  • Interior — Tie
  • Safety — Impreza
  • Styling — Civic

Although the 2018 Subaru Impreza put up a good fight, the 2018 Honda Civic comes out on top. Despite offering comparable interior space and better safety ratings, the Impreza can’t compete with the Civic’s excellent fuel economy, performance standards, and pricing.

To conclude, both vehicles are excellent choices for various lifestyles. Whether you need a commuter car, or whether you simply need to take the kids to and from soccer practice, both vehicles are up to the task. The Impreza is, by all means, a good car – the Civic is just better. Get in touch with your nearest Go Auto dealership to schedule your test drive.

There’s a reason the Civic has been the best-selling car in Canada for more than 20 years.


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