2018 Subaru Impreza Review
Pros & Cons
- Standard all-wheel drive delivers secure handling and wet-weather traction
- The cabin is quiet, comfortable and surprisingly roomy for a compact car
- A healthy selection of advanced safety features is available on most trims
- Available manual transmission for those who want to row their own gears
- Slow acceleration, even with this generation's more powerful engine
- Transmission is loud under heavy loads
- Interior materials are of a lower quality than many rivals
- Hard to match fuel economy estimates in the real world
List Price Range
$14,999 - $22,998
Used Impreza for SaleSee all for sale
Which Impreza does Edmunds recommend?
The hatchback isn't much more expensive than the sedan, so we'd pick that one for its improved cargo capacity. We think the Premium trim offers the right balance of features for the price. Plus, it's the only trim with which you can order the safety-based EyeSight package without it being bundled with a sunroof. The Sport is another solid pick since it adds desirable options such as keyless entry and a larger touchscreen with satellite radio. Try it before you buy this one, though, since its sporty suspension tuning will likely affect ride comfort
Edmunds' Expert Review
Aside from poor acceleration and a CVT automatic that doesn't always do as we'd expect, the Impreza performs very well. Handling is well sorted, brakes are responsive and confidence-inspiring, and the steering is sporty and communicative. A solid showing for the most part.
A relatively quiet and smooth ride makes the Impreza a breeze to drive on the highway. The seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, even if they are a bit on the firm side for extra-long road trips.
Though functionality has always been a strong point, the 2017 Impreza's interior represented a big leap forward for Subaru. Thanks to a spacious cabin, large windows and thoughtfully laid out controls, the Impreza is one of the more ergonomically friendly options in the segment.
Between the two available Impreza bodies, we'd recommend the hatchback. The sedan we tested has limited trunk space, but child seat accommodation is excellent.
Tech is much improved in the newest Impreza, with a redesigned touchscreen and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Our test car had some issues with the touchscreen, but when it is functioning correctly it provides a vastly improved experience over the old system.
|Overall||7.4 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
2.0i Sport 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
The good stuff: I have a bad back and so far have had no issues with seat comfort. So far, the longest trip in the Impreza was about 90 miles each way. I will be driving it to South Carolina soon and that is 1500 miles round trip so we will see how that goes. My normal driving to work and back home is 3.6 miles round trip with zero highway and a total of 12 traffic lights (usually get at least 8 red lights) so my city fuel mileage is poor at around 19.8 mpg. But, that's any car I would own because of the driving I do. My highway mileage however was awesome!!! That last trip which was 180 miles round trip, I got 40.8 mpg doing an average of 70 mph going from central to eastern PA so the highways are not flat. Lots of hills to climb. Cargo area is big for this size car. I can fit 2 sets of golf clubs sideways behind the back seats. Fold the seats down and the cargo space is huge. Handling is great. The Impreza Sport has 18" wheels and always feels stable. Never gets "squirly" on me and I'm an aggressive driver. I also have the EYESIGHT driver assist system so the adaptive cruise is something I will never give up. The car has cloth seats and they are heated as well as the outside mirrors. I can't think of any other car in this class to have those 2 things as standard equipment or even available as an option. I have never sat in the back seat so I can't comment on that (you will have to ask my dog). Snow driving is absolutely unmatched by any other compact car, SUV, or CUV on the market. This Subaru and every other Subaru just cannot be beat by any thing else on the market. They go thru the snow like nothing else....PERIOD!!! Off the line performance is OK. I would love a little more power but with the driving I do it's adequate. I will say, after 1000 miles the power has really come alive ( I only have 1400 miles on it). Off the line is still a bit slow but when you get the engine cranked up it really flies. So if you test drive one, ask to drive one with a few thousand miles on it and you will see what I mean. I only have a few complaints. The infotainment system was a little buggy at first. Subaru came out with an update and almost everything is cured. Once in a blue moon I will get a screen freeze or the back up camera won't turn on. I just shut the car down and wait about 30 seconds and restart the car and it is fine. Just like a smart phone it needs a re-boot once in awhile....no big deal to me. I wish the car had fog lights, a power drivers seat, and auto climate control. Those items are standard on the limited trim. I can't even get the fog lights as an add on...kinda stupid there Subaru! So, if you need cargo space, great handling, highway fuel mileage, and get me thru anything mother nature throws at me kinda car...look no further than this car.
2.0i Premium 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
I’ve been stalking the compact car segment since 2010. Through and through, Subaru is the best choice. Excellent resale value, cheap to maintain, excellent ownership experience. I finally decided I wanted to take a leap and lease my first new car. I test drove a toyota yaris ia, but I backed out because the subaru was not much more expensive and a much better overall package. I went with the 2.0i premium in white/tan cloth because I’m cheap, couldn’t be happier. The interior space is fantastic, and the hatchback is an improvement over past impreza hatchbacks. I’ve only put 76 miles on the odometer, but after a mix of highway, city, and backroad driving, I can tell I will enjoy this car. It will suit most anyone’s needs. It’s not sporty, but it can be playful, its not a cloud on wheels either but its perfectly tolerable. The steering doesn’t return-to-center very much. Minimal feedback from the front wheels. Brake pedal is top notch. Very smooth and easy to modulate. Gas is very touchy. From a stop, it has a decent punch, but it likes to lock the torque converter early and hold the engine at 1150 rpm if you don’t try to accelerate hard, which makes it feel slow, but when you mash it like you mean it, the cvt is very responsive and it will get up and go. When you let off the throttle, it will hold the rpm at 1250 and engine brake while cutting fuel injection. When slowing down, re-activation of fuel injection is very noticeable and jerky. Manual mode works well. Shifts are near automatic quality, but still on the slow side. Good response time though. Nice turning radius. Nice visibility. I’m not crazy about many of the interior design elements like the dashboard, windshield base, or gauge cluster. I much prefer the gauge cluster of the crosstrek, which looks like it belongs on a luxury car, but these gauges look clunky and dull. There are a bunch of weird shapes and angles going on inside the interior that don’t impress me. Overall I’m very pleased with this car. Looking forward to buying it once my lease is up, unless the 2021s turn out to be 10x cooler. Update: I now have 483 miles on it. My opinion of the car has soured a bit. I really don’t like the throttle pedal. It’s way too sensitive. It is genuinely difficult to sustain slower speeds than 35 mph without gradually building speed. This is an issue because I drive on a military installation with 0 tolerance for speeding and 90% of the speed limits are 25 or slower. This means that my foot is pushing the pedal only a few mm just to go 25mph without slowly increasing in speed. Its exremely irritating because transition from no throttle to some is very jerky thanks to fuel injection cutoff, and I have to reduce my throttle input to very near 0 without actually going to 0, because 1, its jerky, and 2, it will slow down aggressively. The only way to make sure I’m not still gaining speed is to check the speedometer frequently.
2.0i 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
This iteration of the Impreza is far better than the 2006 and 2014 models my wife and son have owned. Strong on-road character in tracking and cornering, very quiet ride even in the base model, and the CVT pulls strong while keeping the engine revs wherever they need to be while delivering between 35 and 40mpg. I have a 98 mile commute each day and I expect my vehicles to always get me through at least a quarter million miles before I start looking for a replacement. And yet I don’t baby them through Maine winters and the logging roads that bring me to my favorite trout waters. So after considering each of its peers, there was no other vehicle that could exceed the Impreza’s features or capabilities. It’s a much better value than what Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, or even Jeep offer (and I’ve owned five Jeeps over the years). It is quiet and its drivetrain is the best AWD platform available. Sure, I could have spent more for the Crosstrek’s better ground clearance and towing capability but the reality is that I wanted the best value for my money and I needed to maximize my fuel economy. This base Impreza delivers it all and I highly recommend it to everyone who needs a comfortable and capable daily driver.
2.0i Limited 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
This is my second Imprezza Hatchback. I bought a 2015, also a limited and drove it for 2 years. Although I really did like that car, the one reason I traded to a 2018 was my own fault which I will address later here. I became aware that the '15 was the last year made in Japan. This vehicle with the new platform is 10 times the car. The quietness of the ride and interior design makes this a no-contest between the two. I have read a ton of research reports complaining about the acceleration problems. I would ask those people just exactly how fast they want to go and how fast the want to accelerate. I have had this car for just over a year and have 18,000 miles on it and have had ZERO issues with that. A good friend lives up a very steep hill. When I hit that hill and punch it, it goes...right now. This is my fourth CVT, the first two being Nissan Altimas and then the 2015 Subby. Although the Nissan's were a bit more smooth, I have no problems with this one. I noticed one of the reviewers here complained about the gas mileage. My question to him would be "Just how fast do you drive". Yes, I am 74 years old and generally drive the speed limit or barely over it on the highway. I have not touched the "A" trip meter and through 18k miles the car says it has averaged just a touch over 28 MPG. That number of course is off. The actual average, using my own numbers is right around 26.5 mpg. That is the AVERAGE from highway and city over 18,000 miles. At highway speeds on multiple trips, while the on-board computer says I have gotten over 43 mpg, I have accurately figured up to 41 MPG at 60 miles per hour and I will verify that at 75 MPH, I can accurately predict an actual 36 MPG with the odometer reading 38 MPG. Ok, now lets get into the one HUGE drawback on Subaru's vehicles....and it is the same on their entire line as far as I can tell. The transmission. Subaru has insisted on installing a sealed, non-serviceable tranny in their cars. You cannot check the transmission fluid level, nor can you add fluid. In addition, there is a major design flaw on the underside of the car. The transmission has what, for all the world, looks like an oil pan and drain plug. On my 2015, I made the mistake of draining my trans fluid. I am told I am not the only one to do this. Professional oil change places have made the same mistake with a resulting blown transmission. Even though I had the problem resolved without issue on the 2015, that was the reason I dumped it and went to the 2018 and will not make the same mistake again. But the design flaw is still there. Overall however, this hatchback gives me all the room in the world, especially with both rear seats down. I have come to the conclusion that it may very well be the last car I ever buy. I average about 15k a year and, at 74 years old, I plan on getting to 200,000 miles with this.
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Impreza models:
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Sounds an audible warning when vehicles are approaching from the side, such as when backing out of a parking space.
- Subaru EyeSight
- Bundles several driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and lane keeping assist.
- Reverse Automatic Braking
- Applies the brakes automatically if a collision is deemed imminent while reversing.