In the small car segment, the Subaru Impreza is often overshadowed by more popular nameplates. There are two primary reasons for this: the Impreza's higher-than-average pricing and a lack of brand awareness regarding Subaru vehicles. But things are changing and Subaru's sales have been surging in recent years as consumers are discovering that the Subaru Impreza can be an excellent choice among compact cars.
The Impreza's most notable edge is its distinctive powertrain, as this model has always been available with all-wheel drive. This provides it with extra traction in slippery conditions and, on higher-horsepower models, works in combination with the Impreza's well-sorted chassis to provide entertaining handling. The Impreza has always been powered by its unusual horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, which emits a distinctive growl during acceleration. Competitive in most other respects except for the fuel economy of the previous generations, the Impreza is an excellent alternative choice for a new or used small sedan, wagon or hatchback.
Current Subaru Impreza
The mainstream Subaru Impreza was redesigned for 2012, and adopts less quirky styling that's obviously inspired by its larger Legacy sibling. In addition to the new look, there's also more room in the cabin and more fuel efficiency under the hood.
All Imprezas have four doors and are available in sedan and hatchback body styles. Trim levels for both include 2.0i, 2.0i Premium and 2.0i Limited, while the hatchback can also be had in 2.0i Sport Premium and 2.0i Sport Limited trims. The high-performance WRX and WRX STI trim levels continue, but oddly enough in the previous-generation guise, which is covered below.
These non-WRX/non-STI Imprezas are all powered by a 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional. Either way, all-wheel drive is standard. With the CVT, the 0-60 dash takes 9.6 seconds, a bit slow compared to some speedier rivals, though they don't have the Subie's all-wheel drive.
Standard feature highlights of the 2.0i include full power accessories, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a four-speaker audio system. The Premium adds alloy wheels, cruise control, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity and upgraded audio with auxiliary/iPod/USB inputs. Stepping up to the 2.0i Limited adds automatic headlights, automatic climate control, heated seats and leather upholstery. The Sport versions further add bigger (17-inch) wheels, roof rails, two-tone body color, heated mirrors and heated seats. Option highlights include a sunroof and a navigation system.
In reviews, the Impreza 2.0i struck us as a well-rounded small car, with a compliant ride, composed handling, well-weighted steering and confident brakes. Though the acceleration isn't exactly zippy, the improved fuel economy is certainly welcome, as is the advantage of all-wheel drive for snowbelt dwellers. Of course, the WRX and WRX STI are a kick to drive, with their spirited turbocharged engines and more agile handling. The STI version further thrills enthusiasts with its increased output, front/rear limited-slip differentials, powerful Brembo brakes and six-speed manual transmission.
Read the most recent 2014 Subaru Impreza review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Subaru Impreza page.