First, I'd like to point out that I originally had a 2015 base model Impreza that got destroyed because of someone on their phone, and thanks to the high resale value, got a 2016 with some spare change. On that note - I was hit at roughly 45MPH, and I got away with nothing more than a couple bruises and a stiff neck. I didn't have any passengers, but if I did, all of them would have survived too. If you want something safe, this is a great car. Anyway, since this car is effectively the same as the 2015 model, this review counts for both.
I'd also like to point out that some of the flaws with the car are easily addressable:
1. Bluetooth is highly dependent upon your device. I have experimented with multiple phones and they all had different levels of audio quality and reliability. What's also interesting is if you're having issues with any of the car's apps, it is still possible to play media through the Bluetooth "channel", but you lose the steering wheel controls to operate the app. Different phones behave differently via USB too; iPhones have the most functionality. Some phones will charge via the USB port, some don't.
2. If you have the hatchback like I do, you can reduce noise level with a solid trunk cover. I made one out of fiberglass and cloth. It looks decent and lowered the overall noise level by about 1 or 2 dB. I'm guessing the sedan model is slightly quieter, since the trunk (and the wheel well in the trunk) isn't exposed to the cabin.
3. The sound system is actually a lot better than critics claim. The problem is the car's default sound settings are dull. But, this is one of very few cars in it's class that has a pretty good equalizer. With a little adjustment, you can make the sound quality go from mediocre to enjoyable. The audio still won't be amazing, but you can make it good enough.
4. The complaints about noise and performance can really be pinned down to the CVT model. The manual has very average performance and doesn't drone. On the other hand, the CVT model can keep the RPMs lower, so that model is likely quieter at speeds below 20MPH.
5. The interior and user controls may be plain, but they're practical. You can operate them with gloves. You can operate them without taking your eyes off the road. They'll stand through wear and tear without looking so tarnished. Would you rather have something that looks cool now but tacky a decade later, or something that looks bland but doesn't embarrass you?
6. It'd be nice if the car was slightly more powerful. But, you can tune the engine to make it a little more responsive at lower RPMs. I figure for most people, that isn't worth doing.
Anyway, this is a very comfortable and practical car. Other cars in it's class are hardly more fuel efficient (while lacking AWD), have less passenger and cargo space, have worse visibility, have considerably less ride comfort, and less reliability. This car isn't exciting, nor is it meant to be. It's competitive but also has a niche. I would not recommend this car for anyone who lives in hot/dry climates, but the effects of AWD are very noticeable. If you do anything off paved roads, get the Crosstrek.
There's enough info out there about what makes this car good. But, I do have a few complaints about it that you might not have heard:
* The rear windshield wiper intermittent timer is way too short, and using the spray for the rear wiper will sometimes be a little drippy if you recently used it.
* Shifting from 1st into 2nd is pretty difficult to do smoothly without wearing out the clutch. All other gear shifts are fine.
* Reverse doesn't have synchros, so it can be a bit tough sometimes.
* Some panels feel incredibly cheap. A little bit of underlying structuring wouldn't add much to the cost or weight of the car but would make these thin plastics feel more solid.
* The exhaust pipe starts to rust within weeks. Pretty much everything else looks good, but I wonder how long this exhaust will last.
* If you don't use the key remote, you may find the alarm system to be pretty obnoxious (it can be turned off though). The seatbelt chime is also annoyingly loud.
* During the winter, the car takes longer to warm up than anything else I've been in. It can take as much as 15 minutes until I start feeling a little bit of warmth through the vents. You could consider that a good thing in terms of efficiency and friction within the engine.
* Coldness really hurts fuel economy. You might lose as much as 4 MPG (compared to summer temperatures) if the temperature is below freezing.
2.0i Sport Premium PZEV 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
I traded in a 2013 Ford Focus due to various issues with the car and decided on a Subaru not only for the AWD but the reliability and decent price tag. I really love the car and got my Subaru in IceSilver with the Sport Premium all weather package because it had just the right options for the price. I paid a little over $22K here in Virginia Beach.
I want to first start out with the Bluetooth connectivity because in my opinion it could be better. At times it will just stop working or will lower the volume when listening to music for no apparent reason. I do have an iphone 6s+ so maybe there is some issue there I dunno.
Secondly, I want to mention the backup camera because I feel the video is a bit choppy/sluggish at times and could be improved like the one that's equipped on my 2015 Toyota Corolla.
Thirdly, I would have really liked to see LED headlight's as an option because after driving my Toyota Corolla which has LED headlight's the Subaru looks bland in comparison. I think LED's would make this a much more beautiful car and I could have saved some money since I opted for the fog light option to brighten up the roads a bit more.
I really like the black interior and the red light's on the instruments accent it well. The cloth seats are probably the most comfortable seats I've sat in. They are very soft and the heated seats work great.
I've read other reviews stating there is to much road noise but to be honest I have not experienced anything out of the ordinary when comparing it to my other cars. As far as the CVT and only being 148HP this thing is very quick off the line and has no problem what so ever getting around other cars. It's peppier than my Corolla for sure.
This car really does handle well but I do have the upgraded 17" rim and tires. All in all I'm very happy with my purchase and it feels great driving the car during my daily commutes.
2.0i Sport Premium PZEV 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
Traded my 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited for the 2016 Sport Premium. What an upgrade! So quiet inside on the country roads and interstate. I got an extended warranty for cheap from the dealership and great service. This feels like driving a Bmw but better with the AWD.
2.0i Sport Premium PZEV 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Going from a 99 civic DX everything seems different- quieter, tighter control, more comfortable, less road noise and rattles, more power, and so on. WRX was my first choice but that will be another time. The Imprezza is very pleasing. The shifting and handling is not too different than the WRX which is my main amusement in driving. The hatch back allows me to get my occasional bale of hay or put my fishing or golf stuff. I'll have to wait till next winter to see the AWD in snow. For now it feels like all 4 wheels say go and it takes to the road. I hope it holds up a long time automobile buying is a drag.