Subaru’s are by far some of the most popular vehicles for people who like to get outdoors and camp. They come with all-wheel drive, higher clearance, and plenty of space for gear.
The Subaru Impreza is a bit different from other Subaru models, and many people looking to buy one, wonder if they can use it the same way as other Subaru models. One of the big questions about the Impreza is, can it tow a small travel trailer?
Not every Subaru model is made for towing. While some certainly are, others just don’t have the towing capacity or features to handle towing even small trailers. If you’re looking at purchasing or already own a Subaru Impreza, here’s how it stacks up when it comes to pulling a travel trailer:
- What is the Subaru Impreza
- Can a Subaru Impreza tow a small travel trailer?
- Can a Subaru Impreza be modified to tow a camper?
- 4 categories of trailers that a Subaru Impreza can tow
Let’s quickly run over some of the characteristics of a Subaru Impreza.
What is the Subaru Impreza?
Introduced in 1992, the Subaru Impreza is the most compact vehicle in the Subaru line-up. Like other Subaru models it has become incredibly popular thanks to high reliability, longevity and the ability to handle varying road conditions.
The Impreza comes in two body styles: a sedan and a hatchback. It is the only model that Subaru makes that comes in a sedan version. If you are looking for the benefits of a Subaru but don’t want the typical Subaru wagon look, the Impreza Sedan is a great option.
However, if you like the wagon look, but don’t want something as big as the CrossTrek or Outback, the 5-door hatch back option is a great alternative. This smaller option is great for people that want to get outdoors and have plenty of space for carrying their gear, but in a smaller footprint.
Impreza mechanical specs
The Subaru Impreza comes standard with a 4-cylinder engine serving up 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. It comes with either an automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The automatic transmission is fine, but it’s the manual transmission that you should consider for the best performance.
The Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive and has very responsive steering and braking for added safety and control.
Fuel economy, comfort, and performance features
The Impreza is a great combination of performance and comfort. It is one of the biggest selling points for the model. Not only is it functional, but it has plenty of comfort features to make sitting in your car enjoyable.
If you’re looking for a vehicle with great standard fuel economy without buying a hybrid, the Impreza is a great option. The automatic transmission has a great EPA rating of 36 mpg for highway and 28 mpg for city, while the manual transmission boasts 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city (though experienced manual transmission drivers may experience better fuel efficiency than the rating).
When it comes to comfort the Impreza has plenty of features to make the ride enjoyable. There’s plenty of legroom for backseat passengers, and all passengers will enjoy comfortable seats, soft armrests and plastic finishes that don’t look cheap.
Most Impreza owners agree that the hatchback model is more desirable than the sedan from the comfort and functionality perspective. The premium trim level of the hatchback has fun features like paddle shifter, lane-assist, heated front seats, a ton of smartphone apps and integration options, and plenty of USB ports for your devices.
Optional comfort package (yes there is only one) includes hands-free entry for the hatchback, blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring, sun roof, power adjustable seats and push-button start.
When it comes to added performance, the 2022 Impreza comes with Subaru’s SI-Drive, which improves engine performance thanks to added controls on the Impreza’s steering wheel.
Can a Subaru Impreza tow a travel trailer?
So, now that we know what an Impreza is, the real question is can it tow a travel trailer?
The Impreza when you drive it off the lot, with no modifications is not made for towing. The engine is not made for towing heavy loads, and towing can damage the engine.
Impreza’s, unlike some other Subaru models, do not come with installed hitches. You can certainly add a hitch but be conservative about what you want to tow. In general, with some modifications, the Impreza can tow no more than 2.000 pounds.
Can a Subaru Impreza be modified to tow a trailer?
The Subaru Impreza is not really intended or made for towing. When you dig into the specifications the Impreza has a listed towing capacity of 0 pounds in the United States and only 1.000 pounds in Europe.
You would be really hard pressed to find a travel trailer with a towing capacity of less than 1.000 pounds.
Subaru dealers do not offer the options for making the Impreza a towing vehicle, but that hasn’t stopped some Subaru owners. You can add a trailer hitch to your Impreza, but make sure that you use an experienced mechanic that has the proper tools and knowledge to add the hitch without causing damage.
If you add a hitch you can expect to increase the towing capacity to increase from 1.000 pounds to around 2.000 pounds. And remember; 2.000 pounds includes the trailer AND all of your gear, so you’ll need to plan carefully and make sure you don’t overload your Impreza.
And do remember, even though you’ve installed a hitch on your Impreza, this doesn’t mean that it’s engine can handle towing. Towing more than 1.000 pounds puts your engine and transmission at risk of damage. If you don’t damage the engine, you can certainly reduce the anticipated life of your Impreza’s engine significantly.
4 categories of trailers that a Subaru Impreza can tow
If you are committed to towing a travel trailer or any trailer for that matter with your Impreza, here’s some options that your Impreza should be able to handle, provided the proper equipment and moderate driving conditions.
1. Popup campers
Some of these come with a trailer weight of around 1.000 pounds. Of course, these are the smaller popups on the market, and they may only have enough room for two or three people.
If you’re up for towing a 1.800 pounds popup camper, then the TAXA Outdoors Cricket is an amazing choice.
I’ve also written a post on the 10 best popup campers with bathrooms that you might want to check out. Some of them you’ll be able to tow with an Impreza.
2. Teardrop trailer
You’ll need to do some research here before you run out and buy a teardrop trailer. Some have a towing weight of around 1.500 pounds, so if you don’t load it with a ton of stuff, you might be OK pulling a teardrop with your Impreza.
You can also go for something like the Timberleaf Pika which weighs just over 1.000 pounds. It’s only 12′ in length so it’s not huge but it’ll do the job.
There are a bunch of these small teardrop trailers that your Impreza will be able to tow. I’ve written an article on the 10 Best & Most Functional Micro Campers (in 2022) where I’ve included a few other examples besides the Timberleaf.
3. Small gear trailers
If you just need some extra space for your gear, there are plenty of small trailers that you can pull behind your Impreza that hold just your gear. Many of these have towing weights of less than 1.000 pounds so an easy task for even a standard Impreza.
4. Ultralight travel trailers
These small travel trailers are in many cases not much larger than a tent. If you’re just looking for a place to sleep that is sturdier than a tent, check these out. Some have towing weights as little as 700 pounds!
When it comes right down to it, your Impreza might not be the best vehicle on the market for towing a travel trailer. Sure, it can be done, but you really need to consider the wear and tear on your Impreza’s engine and transmission.
Certainly, you can use your Impreza for towing a small trailer with your gear, but we’d recommend considering another Subaru model, such as the CrossTrek for towing a travel trailer, even the small ones.