The 2014 Subaru Impreza and Toyota Camry are two of the more popular cars sold in the U.S. and also have some of the most loyal fans
Subaru and Toyota are two car brands that have captured a large section of the U.S. car buying market and its imagination. Both manufacturers have built an impressive fan base and in some cases, the makes and models have attained near cult-like status in certain sectors. At the heart of these two car companies’ lineups you will find two of the more competitive sedans sold in the U.S.: the Impreza and the Camry. If you happen to be in the market for a sensible, affordable and reliable family sedan, taking on a Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Camry comparison may be an inevitability. If you’re a big fan of one of these over the other, it probably won’t challenge your core beliefs to see how these two stack up.
Here’s a brief 2014 update:
2014 Subaru Impreza: an overview
The Impreza first entered the U.S. car market in 1993 as a sedan or wagon option. Since then, the car has grown to become the third biggest horse in Subaru’s stable (from a sales standpoint) behind its Forester and Outback lines. According to U.S. new sales figures through the end of August 2014, the Impreza is the 60th best-selling car in the U.S. and is enjoying just over a 9 percent growth in sales, year-over-year.
The 2014 Subaru Impreza is an all-wheel drive vehicle, still available in two basic body types – a sedan or hatchback. It also comes in some basic trim/option packages:
- Impreza 2.0i
- Impreza 2.0i Premium
- Impreza 2.0i Limited
In the hatchback world, you can get two other trim/option packages:
- Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium
- Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited
(There are two other options in this line, the Impreza WRX and the Impreza STI, but these are two high-performance versions of previous-generation Imprezas and both deserve their own separate reviews if not racetracks to test them on.)
The Impreza 2.0i comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB/iPod integration, and an auxiliary audio input. The hatchback version also features cargo tie-downs, a roof spoiler and a rear windshield wiper.
The Impreza 2.0i Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, an adjustable front center armrest, a cargo cover (on the hatchback), and a six-speaker sound system.
The 2.0i Limited includes all of the above items and adds automatic headlights, foglights, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a rear center armrest, a touchscreen audio interface, and HD radio.
The 2.0i Sport Premium adds standard roof rails and foglights to the regular Premium equipment list and includes an alloy wheel and all-weather package items as standard. Its 17-inch wheels also have a darker finish.
The 2.0i Sport Limited bundles the Sport Premium model's additional features with the amenities of the 2.0i Limited (including automatic climate control and leather upholstery).
For 2014, all Limited trim options now come standard with a rearview camera.
Power and efficiency
All 2014 Subaru Imprezas feature the workhorse of Subaru engines, the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder horizontally opposed "boxer" that produces 148-hp and throws down 145 pound-feet of torque.
All versions (except the Limited and Sport Limited) feature a standard five-speed manual transmission linked to an all-wheel-drive system with a 50/50 front/rear power distribution. Optional on most Imprezas (and standard on the Limited models) is a CVT (automatic transmission) paired with a different all-wheel-drive system that apportions more power to the front wheels (but transfers power to the rear-end when more traction is needed).
You can expect to get pretty respectable gas mileage when you select an Impreza. The sedan with the stick is rated at 34-mpg on the highway and 25-mpg in the city (the hatchback version loses you one-mpg on the highway for some reason, aerodynamics we guess.) Any Impreza you get with the CVT (in both the hatchback and sedan) are rated at 36-mpg on the highway and 27-mpg in the city.
Every 2014 Subaru Impreza comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and whiplash-reducing front head restraints. The Impreza earned five of a possible five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for overall protection, with four stars for total frontal crash protection and four stars for total side-impact protection. The Impreza also earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for cars in its class.
2014 Toyota Camry: an overview
Vanilla ice cream. Good quality, consistently produced, very reliable vanilla ice cream. That’s the impression many people have of the Toyota Camry and it may be one that Toyota readily embraces. First introduced to U.S. car buyers in 1998, the Camry is consistently ranked as the best-selling “car” in the U.S. (peeling away trucks and SUVs, though the Camry routinely outsells any SUV.) It’s a competent, mid-size sedan that doesn’t oversell or underperform (generally speaking) and continues to make Toyota boatloads of money.
For the model year 2014, Toyota pulled a very old (and some would say very tired) marketing trick: it released upgraded versions of certain trim and option models, referring to them as 2014.5 Camrys. In general, the 2014 Camry comes in five basic trim/option packages:
- Camry L
- Camry LE
- Camry SE
- Camry SE Sport (new for 2014)
- Camry XLE
The 2014.5 Camry models are ones built after November of 2013 and you can see highlights of some of the differences in these models below.
The 2014 Toyota Camry also comes in several hybrid versions (covered in another guide.)
The 2014 Camry L features 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, split-folding rear seats, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, and a USB/iPod interface.
The 2014 Camry LE adds automatic headlamps, power door locks with remote keyless entry, audio controls on the steering wheel, and an outside temperature display.
The 2014 SE includes a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport seats and unique interior and exterior styling treatments. The 2014 SE Sport adds 18-inch wheels, a sunroof and an eight-way power driver seat (this only applies to the four-cylinder engine versions.) If you elect to add the V6 engine to your 2014 SE, you won't get the sunroof, but you do get the 18-inch wheels and power driver seat as well as keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, voice controls, HD and satellite radio, and the Entune smartphone and Web integration system.
The 2014 XLE actually features the same basic equipment layout as the LE, a softer suspension setting, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, foglights, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an eight-way power driver seat. Add the V6 to your 2014 XLE and you’ll get HD and satellite radio, Entune, a navigation system, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a four-way power front-passenger seat, and heated front seats.
The 2014.5 Camrys have some subtle differences in what’s standard with each trim option. All 2014.5 Camry models include the rearview camera as standard. To add to the confusion, Toyota renamed the audio and infotainment systems that come with the 2014.5 models. The base system is called Entune Audio, the midlevel is Entune Audio Plus, and then finally and Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite. The Entune Audio Plus is standard on the 2014.5 XLE, and it adds satellite radio, HD radio and traffic/weather reporting. The 2014.5 SE and XLE trims with the V6 engines come with Entune Premium Audio with Nav and App Suite, which adds the navigation system and smartphone app integration (such as Bing, OpenTable and Pandora) as standard.
Power and efficiency
One advantage the Camry line of options offers drivers over comparable mid-level sedans is that you can pick a few models with extra power. Every 2014 Toyota Camry features front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission.
The entry-level Camrys in any trim package feature its reliable 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out a respectable 178-hp and 170 pound-feet of torque. With the SE or XLE trim packages, you can upgrade to a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates a nice and peppy 268-hp and delivers 248 pound-feet of torque.
Even with the bigger engine, the Camry holds its own when it comes to fuel efficiency. The basic 4-cylinder gets you 35-mpg on the highway and 25-mpg in the city while the beefier V6 still gets you 31-mpg on the highway and 21-mpg in the city.
Another reason why the Camry has earned a loyal following is that it consistently offers safety upgrades and innovations without adding cost for these features (consider the addition of a rearview camera as standard equipment on those 2014.5 Camrys.) The 2014 Toyota Camry comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and knee airbags for both driver and passenger. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert comes with the SE and XLE options. The NHTSA gave both the 2014 and 2014.5 Camry five of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Camry also earned a Top Safety Pick designation from IIHS for cars in its class.
Prices and warranties
While what you pay for any specific car will depend on where you live, the time of year you purchase and the ability of a local dealer to offer you incentives and other deals, we can give you a pretty good idea of where you’ll land on cost when you’re conducting your Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Camry comparison. Here are the starting MSRPs for each, listed by the base entry level of each trim/option package:
2014 Subaru Impreza
- Impreza 2.0i -- $18,395
- Impreza 2.0i Premium -- $19,795
- Impreza 2.0i Premium (hatchback) -- $20,295
- Impreza 2.0i Limited -- $22,195
- Impreza 2.0i Limited (hatchback) -- $22,695
- Impeza 2.0i Sport Premium -- $20,795
- Imperza 2.0i Sport Limited -- $23,195
Compare these starting baselines for price with these for the Camry line:
2014 Toyota Camry
- Camry L -- $22,425
- Camry LE -- $22,870
- Camry SE -- $23,740
- Camry SE Sport -- $25,430
- Camry SE 3.5L V6 -- $27,850
- Camry XLE -- $25,810
- Camry XLE 3.5L V6 -- $30,705
There is very little daylight to be found comparing the standard warranty covering a 2014 Subaru Imperza and the 2014 Toyota Camry. Both cars are covered by these warranty options:
- 3-year/36,000 mile limited bumper-to-bumper warranty
- 5-year/60,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
- 5-year/unlimited mile limited rust/perforation warranty
Both Subaru and Toyota offer owners several extended warranty packages that also fold-in additional roadside assistance support. Manny of these packages offer car owners an affordable way to extend warranty protection and get the peace of mind that can come with roadside assistance.
A quick comparison
Completing a direct, apples-to-apples comparison in any 2014 Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Camry evaluation present s a few wrinkles. For one thing, you can’t properly compare a V6 version of the Camry with any offering in the Impreza line, as all of them are four-cylinder only. On the other side, it may be unfair in some ways to stack up the AWD options of every Impreza with the front-wheel drive only Camry.
In an attempt to make this as fair and informative as possible, we offer this quick comparative summary of which car has an advantage in some important categories. We’re making this comparison between the entry level 2014 Impreza 2.0i and the entry level 2014 Camry L:
- Power – edge to Camry
- Transmission options – edge to Subaru as you can get either standard or automatic
- Fuel economy – a dead heat
- Room and comfort – another near dead heat (though the 2014.5 Camry has a few more standard amenities)
- Safety – another dead heat (though again, the 2014.5 Camry does now offer the rearview camera standard)
- Price – big advantage to Subaru
What it comes down to in the end when sizing up these two near-iconic mid-sized sedans is how much more power you want and if you’re willing to pay for it. It may also come down to something that has been true of car enthusiasts since the first horseless carriages rolled out on cobblestone streets – just what kind of car enthusiast are you. In this case, knowing if you’re a Subaru driver or a Toyota driver may come down to scheduling a test drive with a local dealer and finding out for yourself. Reply! can assist in this capacity by putting you in touch with local dealers who can take you for a spin in a new Subaru Impreza or a new Toyota Camry, today!