A number of changes to the 2024 Subaru Impreza aim to bring it more into line with the votes previous buyers have made with their wallets. Refined styling, a more powerful engine and the resurrection of the RS badge are intended to give the people more of what they have wanted over the past several years.
Among the first things I observed about the 2024 Subaru Impreza is how much quieter it is than examples I’ve sampled in the past. It handles better too — in part, I’m told, because its structure is more rigid than that of previous variants.
There have also been chassis updates, which play a significant role in that area as well. The 2024 model year also finds the Impreza hosting more standard equipment than before.
While still recognizable as an Impreza, the new look is more refined. A taller grille treatment affords the front end more gravitas. Meanwhile, the switch from chrome to black trim telegraphs the Impreza’s sporting nature more clearly. The same can be said for the revised wheel arch treatment, which gives it a more confident “stance.” Black rearview mirrors and rocker panel moldings complement the 18-inch sport wheels finished in dark gray.
The new taillight design blends more cohesively into the rear hatch, adding to the air of increased sophistication now radiated by the Impreza’s design. By the way, hatchback will be the de-facto Impreza configuration for the foreseeable future. The idea is that customers who prefer a trunk can opt for the WRX instead.
This seems a prudent decision — given the vast majority of existing Impreza buyers opt for the hatch.
The new interior treatment more closely aligns the Impreza with the current iterations of the WRX and Crosstrek. In fact, it’s almost a direct reflection, where the Crosstrek is concerned. A vertically oriented 11.6-inch touchscreen dominates the interior of the Impreza RS. The interface is standard on Impreza Sport and RS. The base model gets a 7-inch touchscreen.
Impreza RS also exhibits a tasteful implementation of faux gunmetal and carbon trim. Three-tone black, gray and red sport seats also grace the RS version of the Impreza. Additional RS-specific touches include leather for the steering wheel and shift knob, along with aluminum alloy pedals and RS logos on the floor mats.
Reasonably spacious for its size, the Impreza proved comfortable over long drives. The seats were supportive and grippy too. Dual zone climate control is now a standard feature across all Impreza models.
The 182-horsepower 2.5-liter engine — also found in the Crosstrek — further differentiates the 2024 RS from base and Sport versions. The 2.5-liter powerplant also harkens back to the 2.5RS model introduced back in 1998. It also provides a 30-hp bump over the other two Impreza variants.
All-wheel drive (of course) and a continuously variable transmission complete the powertrain. Here again, the WRX is your go-to if shifting gears for yourself is a priority. While some reviewers have bemoaned the lack of a turbocharged engine option, the WRX has you covered there as well.
On the other hand, the Impreza does offer torque vectoring, as well as the same dual-pinion steering configuration offered with the WRX. Along those same lines, the Impreza got a new brake booster system as well.
Safety and Technology
First things first, Subaru is to be commended for sticking with physical buttons for comfort and infotainment functions. All too often efforts to “clean up” the dash relying on touchscreens and voice activation for the operation of basic functions proves to be an inconvenience.
Subaru’s “Starlink” comes along with the aforementioned 11.6-inch touchscreen. The feature is comprised of Subaru’s Safety and Security Connect Services. These include the marque’s SOS Emergency Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, as well as its Remote Vehicle Locator.
The large-screen interface also offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. I found an auxiliary input jack, a USB-C port, and a USB-A port in the center stack, providing connectivity for pretty much every type of handheld device. My RS test car had the 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system too.
The Starlink system also enables Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist, which monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control and warns you if you drift out of your lane.
The revised chassis and steering configurations, along with the more rigid body structure has definitely enhanced the Impreza’s handling. The car is better planted, while simultaneously feeling lighter on its feet.
That said, I did wonder how much more appreciative I’d be of the added output were I permitted to manage gear changes with a manual transmission.
Yeah, the eight preset ratios were welcomed, however, the responsiveness I would like to have seen from an RS-badged Impreza just wasn’t there. And here, I’ll say once again (and feel free to sing along), that’s why Subaru offers the WRX.
Still, I did appreciate the agility the 2024 Impreza RS exhibited on mountain roads.
2024 Subaru Impreza RS Specifications
|L: 176.2 inches/W: 70.1 inches/H: 58.3 inches/Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
|2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine; CVT with all-wheel drive
|26 mpg city/33 mpg highway/29 mpg combined
|182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $24,085; As tested: $28,975 including $1,090 destination charge.
While I do get the decision to resurrect the RS badge for the 2024 Impreza, I also wish Subaru’s product planners had mirrored the original 1998 2.5RS a bit more closely.
Held by many to have tested the potential acceptance of the WRX here in the States, the ’98 2.5RS was decidedly more sporting oriented in nature. This iteration is let down by the decision to mate the 2.5-liter engine to a CVT. On the other hand, the ’24 RS exhibits considerably more refinement than did the ’98 — along with way more utility. Here again though, if an affordable compact sport-oriented four-door all-wheel drive car is really what you’re after, that’s why Subaru offers the WRX.
2024 Subaru Impreza RS — Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Subaru Imprezas fast?
The 2.5-liter engine is rated to deliver 182 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 is a quoted 7.5 seconds.
Does the Impreza RS have a turbo?
No, that’s why Subaru offers the WRX.
Is a Subaru Impreza expensive to insure?
All-wheel drive cars such as Subaru are designed for normal road use with occasional dirt or mild off-road driving use permanently engaged AWD systems. This has the active safety advantage of always having twice the grip of a driver selectable 4WD system.