2018 Subaru Impreza Review
2018 Subaru Impreza Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- 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
Automatic wipers are now standard on Premium, Sport and Limited models. Otherwise, the 2018 Impreza is unchanged.
First off, if you're in the market for a traditional compact car with the stable traction provided by all-wheel drive, you can end your search with the 2018 Subaru Impreza. It's the only car in its class to offer it. But you don't need to live in a climate with a lot of rain or snow to appreciate the Impreza. Redesigned just last year, the current-generation model's build quality and technology interface are vastly superior to its predecessor's. Compared to other models in this class, the Impreza is a standout for its stellar handling, roomy cabin, available hatchback body style, and a number of widely available advanced driver aids.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0i 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$141/mo for Impreza 2.0i
Avg. Midsize Car
Still, shortcomings in a few key areas might give shoppers pause. The Impreza's most significant drawback is its lackluster powertrain. Though 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque look healthy on the spec sheet, we've found the Impreza is one of the slowest cars in its class. Matters aren't helped by the car's continuously variable automatic transmission. It isn't quick to react to driver inputs, and when it does finally rev the engine high enough for a speed burst, there's not enough power on tap to muster any meaningful acceleration. Constantly shoving the gas pedal just to keep up with traffic means the Impreza also has a hard time meeting its fuel economy estimates in the real world.
If you can overlook the Impreza's engine and transmission deficiencies, though, you'll find a capable small car with plenty of room, a comfortable ride and that enviable all-wheel-drive system.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Subaru Impreza as one of Edmunds' Best AWD Sedans for 2018.
What's it like to live with?
Edmunds owned a Subaru Impreza for one year and nearly 20,000 miles. To learn more about our experiences, visit the long-term page for our 2017 Subaru Impreza Limited. We cover everything from seat comfort to real-world fuel economy. All-wheel-drive performance was a staff favorite, but we were less impressed with its engine responsiveness and interior materials. If you have questions, chances are good we've answered them during our long-term test. There are no significant differences between the 2018 Subaru Impreza and our long-term car, so our observations still apply.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.4 / 10
Take a look at the 2018 Subaru Impreza and you'll find a capable small car with plenty of room, a comfortable ride and traction-boosting all-wheel drive. But some rivals offer better performance and nicer interior accoutrements.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Subaru Impreza Limited Sedan (2.0L flat-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).
|Overall||7.4 / 10|
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.
The Impreza seems peppy off the line at first, but this enthusiasm is short-lived. In Edmunds instrumented testing it took 9.4 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph, one of the slowest times in the class. Passing maneuvers on the highway take more planning than they should.
The Impreza's brakes feel great. You get good pedal pressure immediately, which makes it easy to modulate, and the brakes inspire confidence when needing to scrub off speed quickly. The Impreza stopped from 60 mph in 121 feet in testing, an average distance for the segment.
Steering is quick, responsive and generally pretty sporty. For a car in this class, there's a lot of steering feedback, especially on the Sport and Limited trims. Most shoppers will be happy with the level of steering effort and good on-center feel.
Handling is a strong point for this Impreza, regardless of trim level. Body roll is well-controlled, and the car goes where you want and provides you with lots of confidence along the way. Standard all-wheel drive only increases its sense of stability.
The CVT-engine combo rumbles at low speeds and whines at full-throttle acceleration; neither is ideal. But the sticking point is the occasional lack of response from the CVT. The transmission works better when you use the paddle shifters, which shouldn't be the case.
While it doesn't have big approach or departure angles like a true off-road vehicle, the Impreza is the only one in the class with standard all-wheel drive, and in that regard, it is more capable than most compact sedans and hatchbacks.
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.
The Impreza's front seats are well-bolstered, providing good support and firm cushioning. If you're in the saddle for long stints, they may get a little tiring for some. The rear seats are relatively flat but comfortable enough.
Ride comfort is excellent with the 17-inch wheels on our test car, and we'd suspect the 16-inch wheels would be, too. The suspension is compliant enough to shrug off small and large bumps without drama and without being overly soft and floaty.
Noise & vibration7.0
Wind noise is practically nonexistent on the highway, even at 80 mph. Road noise is a bit more pronounced, however, and the engine and CVT whine somewhat unpleasantly under full throttle. Our tester had no rattles or squeaks.
Our test car's optional automatic climate control is easy to operate through the three centrally located dials. A couple of the main air vents are right next to the steering wheel, right where you would grip, unfortunately cooling your fingers quicker than the cabin.
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.
Ease of use8.0
The radio controls, touchscreen interface and climate control knobs are generally easy to read and use, and the secondary top screen is surprisingly useful. Large fonts, high-resolution screens and simple button structures ease the learning curve dramatically.
Getting in/getting out8.5
The seats are mounted high enough that sliding in and out won't be a problem for most average-height adults. The roofline, while lower than the outgoing Impreza's, is still high and provides ample head clearance. Overall, entry and exit are effortless.
The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allows for a lot of adjustment and the driver's seat offers six-way adjustment, so there's plenty of range for all types of drivers to find a good fit.
This Impreza is bigger than ever before, and it shows. The cabin is on headroom, with tons of legroom in the front and a decent amount of room in the back. Those over 6 feet may find the back seat a little cozy, but that's common for this class.
Visibility is excellent out of the front thanks to a big windshield, small front pillars and small sectional windows near the windshield. A big rear window in both the sedan and the hatchback make for great rear visibility as well.
While the interior of this redesigned Impreza is a big improvement, it still isn't quite the class leader, especially the lower trim levels. Our top-shelf Limited trim test car closes the gap a bit and has nice soft-touch surfaces for your elbows to rest on.
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.
Small-item storage is decent but pales in comparison to class leaders such as the Honda Civic. The center storage console and door pockets aren't as deep or long as we'd like. There are several cupholders though, all capable of accommodating a standard water bottle or soda can.
Access to the trunk is much wider this year (4 inches wider on the hatchback; 5 inches wider with the sedan) but the trunk still only offers 12.4 cubic feet of storage. That's smaller than in the Mazda 3, Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra. If you want a utilitarian Impreza, go for the hatch.
Child safety seat accommodation6.5
Car seat accommodation is as excellent as ever. There's easy access to rear seat latches through velcro straps, and there are three anchor points behind the rear seats. There's plenty of space for a big rear-facing seat too, especially since the interior is even roomier than before.
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.
Audio & navigation8.0
Laid out much like a smartphone homescreen, the Limited's 8-inch touchscreen is familiar, easy to see and understand, and responsive to touch inputs. The navigation command structure is simple and finding points of interest is easy. But the stereo's speaker quality and max volume could be better.
Device integration might seem adequate on paper, but we've had some issues in testing. Bluetooth connects to a music source quickly, but the system has frozen on us more than once. When working, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are responsive and helpful in mitigating distraction.
Adaptive cruise control comes with the optional EyeSight package and it performs well. It doesn't slam on the brakes when you get cut off; it also doesn't follow too far behind. The underpowered engine, though, makes keeping up on hills a bit difficult. Lane keeping assist also works well.
Voice controls are simple, responsive and easily accessed through a button on the steering wheel. You can control radio and connected phone commands via voice control, which is pretty common but effective.
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
2018 Subaru Impreza models
Like many compacts, the 2018 Subaru Impreza is available as a sedan or a four-door hatchback. Features on the four available trims are identical between the two body styles. The base 2.0i is sparsely equipped, but it does have power windows and a touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay capability. The Premium counts alloy wheels and heated seats among its additions. Upgrade to the Sport and you get larger wheels, sporty suspension tuning, keyless entry and ignition, and a larger touchscreen. The Limited keeps some of the Sport's luxury features and adds leather and automatic climate control.
Every Impreza is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. (The related, high-performance WRX and WRX STI are reviewed separately.) A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2.0i and Sport models, and a continuously variable automatic with wheel-mounted paddle shifters is optional on those and standard on Premium and Limited trims.
The base 2.0i comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, remote locking and unlocking, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a driver information display, a height-adjustable driver seat, cruise control, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and a four-speaker audio system with a USB port and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The Premium trim is better equipped, with alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, heated mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, a sound-reducing windshield, heated front seats, Subaru Starlink services and a six-speaker audio system. The hatchback also adds roof rails and a cargo cover.
An available package combines blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, cornering lights and Subaru's EyeSight suite of driver aids (adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, automatic reverse braking, and lane departure warning and mitigation). A power sunroof is available as a stand-alone option or bundled with the above package.
For drivers who want a more exciting version of the Impreza, there's the Sport. It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, unique suspension tuning, keyless entry and ignition, an 8-inch touchscreen, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, unique interior and exterior trim, active torque vectoring for improved traction, a CD player, satellite radio and two USB ports.
A package with the blind-spot monitor and sunroof is also available; on the Sport, it further adds an eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. This package can be ordered with or without EyeSight.
At the top of the Impreza range, there's the Limited model. It combines the Premium's features with the Sport tech equipment, further adding 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat and automatic climate control system.
EyeSight, blind-spot monitoring and the sunroof are bundled into a package; it can be ordered with or without the Harman Kardon system and navigation.
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
2018 Impreza 5 door Sport: Unbeatable snow monster
g money, 03/06/2018
2018 Subaru Impreza 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.
4 out of 5 stars
Subaru, the no-brainer choice
2018 Subaru Impreza 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.
4 out of 5 stars
Why look elsewhere and pay more?
2018 Subaru Impreza 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.
5 out of 5 stars
Why would anyone complain about this vehicle
2018 Subaru Impreza 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.
2018 Impreza Highlights
|Combined MPG||26 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$143/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||all wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
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.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.5%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedPoor
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood