2011 Subaru Impreza Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Subaru Impreza

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Subaru Impreza Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Subaru Impreza

  • The 2011 Subaru Impreza's impressive performance and range of styles make it an appealing choice for a wide variety of compact car consumers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Standard all-wheel drive; roomy seating front and rear; punchy turbocharged engines; highly capable handling in WRX and WRX STI trims; wide variety of styles.

  • Cons

    Outdated four-speed automatic transmission; below-average fuel economy; below-average interior materials; substandard sound systems.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the Subaru Impreza gets upgraded audio features, STI-inspired styling for the WRX and a sedan version of the WRX STI. The lineup loses the 2.5 GT.

Full 2011 Subaru Impreza Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Subaru Impreza gets upgraded audio features, STI-inspired styling for the WRX and a sedan version of the WRX STI. The lineup loses the 2.5 GT.


Browsing through the 2011 Subaru Impreza lineup is akin to strolling down the cereal aisle at the supermarket. There's something here for everyone, ranging from the sensible base Impreza 2.5i hatchback to the wickedly fast WRX STI sedan. With such a wide-ranging lineup, it can actually take a bit of time to figure out what kind of Impreza you want.

The 2011 Subaru Impreza incorporates a number of changes that you'll want to pay attention to. Every Impreza trim level except the base model gets as standard equipment an updated audio system that features iPod integration and Bluetooth connectivity, though sound quality itself still ranks as subpar. There's also a new option for an inexpensive and removable (but dealer-installed) TomTom navigation system.

Those who crave performance will want to check out the 2011 Subaru WRX, which gets not only the STI's wide-body fenders but also improved handling thanks to wider wheels, wider track dimensions and stiffer subframe bushings. And then there's the STI itself, which gets a firmer suspension calibration and lighter wheels to sharpen its handling as well as a few more standard features (such as heated seats). This year is also the first year of the current-generation Impreza where you can order the WRX STI as a sedan in addition to the pre-existing hatchback.

This comprehensive lineup means the Impreza competes against a wide variety of other models. Base Imprezas go up against compacts such as the 2011 Honda Civic, 2011 Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3 and 2011 Volkswagen Golf. The Impreza is neither as fuel-efficient nor as value-driven as its rivals, but it does offer standard all-wheel drive, a notable advantage for those who live where rain and snow are a way of life. The Outback Sport hatchback, with its increased ground clearance and extra body cladding, can even serve as an alternative to a compact crossover SUV.

The performance-tuned WRX belongs to the sport compact club that also includes the 2011 Mazdaspeed 3, 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and Volkswagen GTI. Though lacking in features and refinement, the WRX is like Olympic runner Usain Bolt, as it boasts swift acceleration that beats them all. The WRX STI is a rally-bred performance machine that remains a compelling choice for Fast & Furious types drawn to big turbos, all-wheel drive and limited-slip differentials. Of course, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is an omnipresent thorn in the STI's side; enthusiasts are encouraged to test-drive both of these road rockets to see which suits them best.

As you've gathered by now, there are plenty of flavors of the Subaru Impreza. Whether you're a snow-belt resident looking for a basic compact with the advantage of all-wheel drive or a serious performance enthusiast seeking the sweet sensation of turbocharged thrust and agile handling, there's likely an Impreza worthy of a test-drive.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Subaru Impreza is available in four-door sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. Trim levels include 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, Outback Sport, WRX, WRX Premium, WRX Limited, WRX STI and WRX STI Limited. The Outback Sport is hatchback only, while the WRX STI Limited is sedan only.

The 2.5i comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a tilt steering column and a four-speaker stereo with CD player. The 2.5i Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port.

Options for the base 2.5i trim include a rear spoiler, a unique grille insert, foglights, an audio subwoofer, satellite radio and a package that bundles a center armrest with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a compass and a security system. The 2.5i Premium can be had optioned out with many of the aforementioned, as well as a sunroof package that also includes foglights, heated front seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.

The Outback Sport is similar to the 2.5i Premium trim level but has 17-inch alloy wheels, a raised suspension for more ground clearance, foglights, roof rails, bumper under-guards, unique exterior trim, special interior upholstery and a standard All Weather package (heated front seats, heated mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer).

The WRX is essentially a high-performance version of the Impreza that comes with a five-speed manual transmission (no automatic is available), a turbocharged engine, summer tires, a more aggressively tuned suspension, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column and special WRX trim and body styling. The WRX Premium adds the extra items from the 2.5i Premium as well as the sunroof package. Options include a dash-mounted navigation system, short-throw shifter and a turbo boost gauge. Stepping up to the Limited adds leather upholstery and xenon headlights.

The WRX STI is equipped similarly to the WRX, but ups the performance ante even further. It gains a six-speed manual transmission, 18-inch wheels, high-performance tires, Brembo brakes, front and rear limited-slip differentials, SI-Drive vehicle settings, an even more aggressively tuned suspension, a bigger hood scoop, xenon headlights, sport seats and faux-suede and leather upholstery. The WRX STI Limited adds foglights, 18-inch BBS wheels, the sunroof package and leather upholstery. A navigation system is optional on the STI trims as well.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2011 Subaru Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive. The 2.5i and Outback Sport models are powered by a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (boxer) four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional.

In performance testing, this normally aspirated 2.5-liter engine with the manual powered the Impreza from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. Though it benefits from all-wheel drive, estimated fuel economy is subsequently below average for a small car with this type of power -- the manual gets 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined, while the automatic drops the highway number to 26 mpg.

The WRX has a turbocharged version of the 2.5 that cranks out 265 hp and 244 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual is the lone transmission choice. Its 0-60 time in testing was a snappy 5.3 seconds, while fuel economy estimates are 18/25/21. The WRX STI gets even more turbo boost for 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. With its standard six-speed manual, the STI achieves fuel economy of 17/23/19 and, more important, reaches 60 mph in a blazing 4.5 seconds.


Standard on all Impreza models are antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints to help mitigate crash-induced whiplash. In Edmunds brake testing, a 2.5i came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, a good effort. The WRX stopped in 114 feet and the STI did the task in 106 feet -- both very good.

In government crash tests, the 2011 Subaru Impreza scored a perfect five stars for frontal crash protection, five stars for front occupants in a side crash and four stars for rear occupants in a side crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Impreza its highest-possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Whether you opt for the sedan or hatchback, the Subaru Impreza provides a spacious cabin with loads of head- and legroom. The hatch obviously provides more cargo room, with a maximum 44 cubic feet of space. Seat comfort in the 2.5i models is only so-so, and the driving position suffers from the lack of a telescoping steering wheel (it only comes on the WRX and higher trims). The seats are also much better on the performance-oriented models, though the STIs lack lateral support relative to their rivals.

The interior design is pleasant enough, but quality of the materials is on the cheap side for the compact class -- especially when you're paying $35,000 for the STI. The stereo and climate controls are simple and straightforward. Opting for the factory dash-mounted navigation system increases the complexity of the stereo, as its menus and graphics aren't the cleanest around. There is a new option, however, of a removable TomTom navigation system (dealer-installed) which might prove more user-friendly. Sound quality of the audio systems, even the upgraded ones, is disappointing.

Driving Impressions

The base 2011 Subaru Impreza rides and handles satisfactorily for a compact car, and its tenacious all-wheel drive is a boon for driving in bad weather. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer has more aural character than your typical economy-grade four-cylinder and also delivers adequate punch, at least when the manual transmission is specified. But performance is noticeably blunted when the 2.5 is paired with the lazy, antiquated four-speed automatic.

On the other hand, the turbocharged Impreza WRX is an impressive performance machine for the money, featuring upgraded power and considerably more athletic moves through the corners thanks to its firmer suspension and summer performance tires. The WRX STI kicks it up a few more notches thanks to limited-slip differentials front and rear, powerful Brembo brakes, a six-speed manual transmission and a turbocharged rush of acceleration whenever the throttle is wide open. Ride quality for the WRX models is acceptable considering the performance, but some drivers might object to the extra levels of road noise.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Already traded it!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Bought this car new in Feb 2011. Loved the looks and wanted that legendary Subaru reliability. Boy, we were sorely mistaken. We just traded it in after the last straw--and it's January, 2013. We had to have the engine REPLACED at 18K. REPLACED. This is a dealer-serviced car, driven gently back and forth to work and to the grocery store, etc. Engine knocked, we took it in, and it spent the next MONTH and change in the shop. After they replaced the engine, we thought everything was okay--until a few weeks ago, when it began knocking AGAIN. We took it back in. For the last time. We traded that heap and haven't looked back. This car was probably a lemon, but still disappointed.

Loving this little car!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

I have upgraded from a 2002 forester auto to a 2011 impreza LIMITED (canada & autralia only) with leather and wrx seats, i love the sound of the little boxer engine, good steering to! Fuel consumption is OK, in the city and pretty good on the highway! Its in my opinion the last true drivers N/A subaru! It feels planted I trust my car, i have the premium sound system ans i have to say its a bit disappointing! Good styling with the sport package to! Last , cargo space is not really good since it has a big bump in the trunk (sedan)

Great overall value!

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Bought new and now have currently about 28k miles. Overall great car, suspension is very forgiving but a little to soft for my opinion-that is my only gripe. MPG I average 28-30 on hwy and about 23-25 city. A lot of the wrx components can be switched to the 2.5i such as suspension or brakes. The 2.5i brakes compared to the wrx brakes are pretty stupid IMO; both have same caliper but different size rotors-I upgraded to wrx rotors using wrx caliper bracket and braking is much better now. Handles great in snow, the only thing that limits it is the crappy oem tires. Overall a great car for someone looking for a AWD vehicle at a great price. Do not overlook this car, you will not regret it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great awd and thats it

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

My wife and I purcarhased two new subarus in 2011. One a Legacy limited and the other a Impreza premium 5 door. The Legacy is great but the Impreza was a different story. I bought an automatic, should have bought a 5 speed. The 4 speed auto was terriable. The transmission got worse as i put miles on it. No mechanical problems just poor performance. The seats were a cheap material that faded fast. The tomtom navi was replaced after 14 months. The door trim rotted off. The center consoles plasic started comming off. The only good feature is the AWD. After 15 months i traded it for a 2012 Forester( i still love subaru). Im glad the impreza was updated.

Okay first impression from first

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

I leased a 2011 Impreza Outback Sport (all weather package) in April 2011. I've since put about 18k miles on it and am reasonably satisfied with it so far. It's not a performance model but it's fun to drive and with the seats folded down I get plenty of space to haul things like my entire acoustic drum set. It's your typical, versatile Subaru, but the the quality of the interior is a bit lacking. The seats' cloth is thin and feels flimsy. The front passenger door has rattled from the speaker's bass since day 1. The driver side head rest wobbles a bit. I can even feel where the posts end in the seat-back when I lean my head against it. Also the center console latch broke 3 weeks in.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Subaru impreza wrx review

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I have recently purchased a 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX and over all I'm happy with what the car has to offer. This car has undeniably good value for money in terms of the performance you get out, its more comfortable than I thought it would be, you have loads of leg and head room, the boot space is sufficient and its impossible to get bored driving about in it. There are, however, a few down falls that might get on your nerves. The amount of noise caused by rattling in the cabin is pretty irritating!, the traction control makes the gear changes a little jerky and the revs bounce slightly when its on, but at least that can always be turned off at the push of a button

Talk About The 2011 Impreza

2011 Subaru Impreza Discussions See all Started By

I'm looking to buy either an Impreza or Legacy, and am wondering if this is a good deal. It's around KBB price but I don't know how relevant that is for buying a pre-owned Subaru, and my time for shop...

When turning 90 degrees from a dead stop, there is a noise almost like you are driving over the "rumble" strips on the side of the road. It is not as loud or high pitched as that noise, but...

My daughter ordered a Limited Impreza on the first day the 2013 were open online in mid August. I see Subaru is bragging about such high sales in August but since hardly any 2012 left to pick from the...

Read more about the 2011 Subaru Impreza

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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