2020 Subaru Impreza Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine, visibility, and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2020 Subaru Impreza is designed to be a car with the adventurer in mind. Even the automaker claims that it is “engineered to last,” but many customers will not agree. It seems this Subaru model was produced with a defective engine, poorly manufactured auto glass and a malfunctioning powertrain.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2021   2022

Problems with the Engine

Arguably, the most important component of any vehicle is the engine. When everything is working right, it feels like anything can be accomplished. However, when the engine starts to fail, each drive becomes a nightmare.

That’s what this NHTSA complaint talks about. “The contact owns a 2020 Subaru Impreza. The contact stated that while driving at an undisclosed speed, the vehicle lost motive power and stalled without warning. After stopping the vehicle and inspecting under the hood, the engine was restarted and the vehicle operated as designed. The failure recurred on multiple occasions. The cause of the failure was not determined. An unknown dealer was notified of the failure. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 10,000.”

While some of the information is lacking from this complaint, it’s clear that the engine isn’t doing what it should. Also, Service Bulletin #11-200-20R talks further about trouble with the motor. In this communication, Subaru acknowledges that the engine isn’t designed for starting in sub-freezing temperatures or while driving in high altitudes. Because of this, an update is required for the Engine Control Module to make it operate correctly. This isn’t an issue when living in the swamp area of Florida, but owners in the mountains of Colorado might certainly have trouble. Apparently, the Impreza only wants to live in particular parts of the country.

2020 Subaru Impreza Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Air Bags
Electrical System
Exterior Lighting
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings

Problems with the Visibility

Seeing out of the windshield should be a main priority when driving, but that becomes difficult when the glass won’t stop breaking.

Here’s one account left on the NHTSA website. “My windshield cracked about 2500 miles. I went to the dealer and they said it was a stone chip however I didn’t see one. A couple of weeks ago and it cracked in the middle horizontally just below the rearview mirror. The two cracks were not connected initially. However, I hit a bump in the road and they did connect. The crack goes almost all the way across from one side to the other of my windshield at this point.”

While Subaru isn’t talking about the glass issues, even though there are class action lawsuits, there are other structure-related concerns. Service Bulletin #07-173-20 talks about how the power rear gate can open on its own without help from the owner. All of these defects together create an unsafe vehicle that people should run away from.

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Problems with the Powertrain

Finally, a look at the powertrain shows further issues with the design and functionality of the transmission.

Here is one Edmunds review to consider. “I own a 2008 Subaru Impreza wagon with standard transmission, always liked the car. Decided to buy a 2020 since the 08 is getting tired. Bad move, first of all whoever designed the interior did not design it shifting in mind. The cover on the console storage bin gets in the way and makes it very uncomfortable to maneuver the shift lever. Then there’s the horrific rev hang which keeps your RPMs up there when you push in the clutch to shift. It makes it very difficult to shift smoothly. I took it back to the dealership to see if they could do something to fix it and they said no that’s the way the computer is programmed. Not sure what I’m going to do with this thing, whether I’ll keep it or trade it on something else but with the rev hang and trying to maneuver the shifter around the console lid it’s a very unpleasant driving experience that’s for sure. For now I’m driving the 08 mostly and I’m glad I didn’t get rid of it.”

However, Subaru doesn’t feel the need to respond to these issues. Instead, the automaker remains silent, hoping that people don’t believe the experiences coming from existing drivers. In all, the Impreza simply doesn’t impress.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Subaru pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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