Subaru’s affordable compact Impreza is turning 30 years old this year, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a full redesign. The new sixth generation Impreza is arguably the best yet, with both an upgraded suspension and chassis, and a refreshed focus on what an Impreza is supposed to be.
The Subaru Impreza is the most affordable all-wheel drive compact passenger car on the market. That’s the core value proposition that has made the Impreza a winner during the past three decades.
The Impreza has been offered as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and as a four-door hatchback over the course of its production, but the hatchback is the foundation, representing the majority of recent Impreza sales. So starting with the 2024 model year, Subaru is dropping the sedan body and focusing exclusively on the hatch. Also, a new performance trim will recapture some of the Impreza’s glory days as an affordable performance car.
The redesigned Impreza is not very different from the outgoing model. There’s a little more sculpture to the body, and some cues that put the Impreza clearly in the same family as Subaru’s turbocharged WRX performance car.
The Impreza is good looking, neither frumpy nor trying too hard to look avant-garde or racy. The doors are good-sized, allowing easy access to the cabin, and the hatch reveals a wide, tall opening for cargo.
Subaru has long been criticized for their simple interiors. The interior of the new Impreza remains basic, mostly molded out of plastic, but that’s OK. Unless you want to fondle your dashboard, do you really care?
There are two things to note about the updated interior. One is that the front seats got a major redesign and they feel great. Improved side bolstering keeps you in place while driving and protects you in the event of a collision.
Second, the upgrade trims come with Subaru’s large touchscreen infotainment system. That’s oriented vertically and well-integrated with the dash. There’s enough room in the back seats to carry adults, and if you fold them down, you get 56 cubic feet of cargo room.
There are two engines offered with the Impreza. The Base and Sport trims come with the standard 2.0-liter horizontally opposed boxer engine. That’s good for 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. In the past this engine has been criticized for low power and lackluster performance, but the same engine in the closely related 2024 Crosstrek we reviewed a few weeks ago was much improved. Maybe that’s because of upgrades to Subaru’s continuously variable transmission, which is the only driveline offered with Impreza. Subaru’s signature symmetrical all-wheel drive comes standard on all trims.
The model we tested was the top RS trim level. This model name has a long history with Impreza, as the 2.5 RS was the first sports car built on the Impreza platform, in advance of the WRX by a few years.
Fittingly, the new RS also comes with a more powerful naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine. That powerplant is rated at 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. This engine, along with suspension tuning unique to the RS trim, makes the Impreza a very fun hot hatchback.
You won’t give up much of anything with the 2.5-liter engine. Fuel economy on the base trim 2.0-liter is 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined. The 2.5-liter returns just 1 mpg less across the board.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet rated the 2024 Impreza, but the Impreza line has a long history of excellent crash safety test results. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the Impreza as a “Top Safety Pick,” for the past 15 years, and there’s every reason to think that streak will continue.
All trim levels of the Impreza come with Subaru’s EyeSight safety system, which implements adaptive cruise control along with emergency braking, lane centering, and the usual collision mitigation technology.
The Impreza also comes with LED headlights that respond to steering inputs, and of course, there’s the AWD. Optional on the Sport trim and standard on RS is an extra package that implements emergency steering assistance and blind spot monitoring.
The Sport and RS trims also feature the 11.6-inch infotainment touchscreen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. The RS trim adds wireless charging, which is big enough to hold the largest modern iPhone in a protective case. The Subaru interface is easy to use, both in its native mode and with CarPlay.
The biggest changes to the Impreza are the ones you’ll notice behind the wheel. Subaru worked hard to give the new car a quiet, smooth ride, and it worked. The new Impreza is much more solid on the road, cornering without body roll, and soaking up bumps and road noise.
The 2.5-liter engine provides plenty of power, generally delivering a sporty yet civilized driving experience. When you compare the Impreza to other hatchbacks at or near the same price point, take care to note if the cars are boomy inside, and whether they feel light and tinny. The Impreza definitely feels a step above.
2024 Subaru Impreza RS Specifications
|Dimension||L: 176.2 inches/W: 70.1 inches/H: 58.3 inches/Wheelbase: 105.1 inches|
|Powertrain||2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine; continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||26 mpg city/33 mpg highway/29 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $24,085; As tested: $28,975 including $1,090 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The 2024 Impreza trim walk is simple and easy. The Base trim will retail at $24,085 including destination fees. The Sport trim still carries the 2.0-liter engine, but adds 18-inch alloy wheels, the sport-tuned suspension, the 11.6-inch infotainment screen and fog lights for $26,085. The Impreza RS costs $28,975 and adds the 2.5-liter engine the blind spot monitor and emergency steering, heated seats and wireless device charger. You can add a Harman Kardon stereo, power driver seat and a power moonroof for another $2,070 if you want.
But with a trim walk limited to less than $5,000, there’s very little reason not to buy the RS trim. A comparable Mazda3 hatchback with AWD will cost a minimum of $31,565. Even low-cost base trim crossovers such as the Hyundai Kona or Kia Seltos with AWD cost more than the base Impreza.
2024 Subaru Impreza RS — Frequently Asked Questions
How long do Subaru Imprezas last?
According to many tests and user reports, Subarus can go between 150,000 and 200,000 miles and last for more than 15 years without any problems. Subaru says 98% of the cars they sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today.
Do Subarus hold their value?
Subaru has been known for its models that depreciate less or hold their value better than other car brands.
Is AWD better than 4WD?
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.