The redesigned 2024 Subaru Impreza, a five-door hatchback, confirms the manufacturer’s long-standing reputation for versatility and reasonable pricing. It’s a little car that can and has a lot new, including a debuting top-line RS trim.
Now 30 years old, the Subaru Impreza is available in Base, Sport and RS trim levels. The first two offerings are equipped with 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines with 152 horsepower. The RS features a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower. All models are powered by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and the carmaker’s signature all-wheel-drive system.
Subaru’s knack for value is evident with the Impreza’s long automotive grocery list of standard equipment. The RS builds on the Base model. It includes 16-inch steel wheels, adaptive LED headlights, roof rails, dual-zone, automatic climate control, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, a 7-inch dual-touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Besides a larger engine, the RS trim also features standard, dark gray-painted wheels, heated wipers and mirrors, heated front seats, a wireless phone charging pad and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Aesthetically, the RS trim also features a frameless grille, smartphone compatibility and a four-speaker stereo.
Every Impreza also comes with Subaru’s EyeSight safety system. It includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking and lane-keeping assistance.
The RS incorporates features from the Sport model, including 18-inch wheels, an 11.6-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker stereo, keyless access with a push-button start and a retuned suspension resulting in improved handling.
The Sport trim’s optional safety equipment is standard on the RS trim and it includes blind-spot warning, rear automatic braking and evasive steering assistance.
The new exterior design features a frameless black finish hexagonal grille, compact headlights, a more refined body, and a broad-shouldered stance. The theme is extended into the interior with gunmetal and simulated carbon fiber accents, black cloth seats with red cloth bolsters and carped floormats with the RS logo.
A sunroof, power-adjustable driver’s seat and a Harmon Kardon sound system are options.
Driving the Impreza is more about consistency and reliability than performance. The manufacturer’s vehicles resonate with the outdoors enthusiast. The lineups’ specific popularity includes mountain dwellers in California and Colorado. The Impreza hatchback (the Impreza sedan is defunct) and its siblings thrive in the mountains where inclement weather is the norm.
Subaru models aren’t known for their swiftness but the Impreza accelerates adequately with some ending strain on steep climbs. The carmaker’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system, including other manufacturers’ setups, provides power continuously to all wheels in all conditions. While chains may be required of most vehicles on snowy roads, Subaru drivers often forge ahead with the added equipment.
The new Impreza starts the vehicle’s sixth generation and it’s grouped in a successful array of competitors — the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Toyota Prius, Toyota Prius Prime and Volkswagen Jetta. The Impreza’s starting MSRP falls in the middle. It’s nearly $3,000 more than the Honda Civic and $7,000 less than the Prius Prime.
Like in many car segments, competition for the Impreza is ripe. It means a healthy challenge for carmakers to keep abreast of what the other manufacturers are offering. All of the top choices represent value, personality and strong, subjective attractions.
The Impreza, specifically in its RS trim, is sportier and quieter than some rivals and it has an intuitive navigation system. But it’s not as strong as its competitors in other areas, notably its utilitarian interior design. The estimated 26 miles per gallon in city driving and 33 MPG on the highways could be better.
Still, it’s not easy to find other than minor faults with the Impreza and its $28,975 price. It’s a bargain among small cars known for their respectable pricing and versatility.
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Article Last Updated: November 26, 2023.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.