2019 Subaru Impreza Review
The comprehensive Subaru Impreza review
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What's in this guide?
|Car Advice||74%||"Subaru has the makings of a proper range-topper here, but the powertrain in the i-S drags it down. The Impreza has its strengths, but value just isn't one of them at this point in the range."||Read more|
|CarsGuide||73%||"Because it has been built for a world where SUVs dominate, it's a better commuter car than ever before, just don't expect it to have that wild rally spark from days past."||Read more|
|WhichCar||90%||"In this new-generation Impreza, Subaru has built a very practical small hatchback and sedan that can engage someone who appreciates a sporty car."||Read more|
|Motoring||74%||"The Impreza does everything Subaru says it will – honestly and relatively proficiently. While elements of the driving experience feel off the pace of rivals, safety, comfort and cabin ergonomics remain redeeming features.|
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How does the Subaru Impreza compare with its peers?
A comprehensive review of the Subaru Impreza
Subaru Impreza pricing
Subaru offers four different Impreza models (not including the WRX performance variants), all as either a sedan or hatchback.
A 2.0i sedan starts from $25,490 driveaway. A hatchback carries a $200 extra charge, with a sticker price of $25,690. Highlights include AWD, a CVT transmission with manual paddle shifters, air conditioning, cloth seats, an electronic parking brake, smart key and push-button start, 17-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured mirrors and door handles, Halogen headlamps with auto-off, reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, a 6.5-inch LCD touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB, Siri compatibility and USB charging ports.
The biggest stand-out feature of the Impreza range has to be all-wheel drive (AWD) on all models.
For buyers who desire additional comforts and extra features, the 2.0i-L AWD starts at $28,490 as a sedan. The hatchback body can be yours from $28,690. This trim builds upon the base 2.0i spec, adding dual-zone air conditioning, a leather steering wheel and gear shifter, premium cloth upholstery, a tyre pressure monitoring system, door mirror indicators, halogen daytime running lights, front fog lights, an 8-inch touchscreen in addition to a 6.3-inch LCD multi-function display.
Subaru also installs the EyeSight driver assist safety system, which features the following:
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Brake Light Recognition
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keep Assist
- Lane Sway Warning
- Lead Vehicle Start Alert
- Pre-Collision Brake Assist
- Pre-Collision Braking System
- Pre-Collision Throttle Management
2.0i Premium AWD
Starting from $30,490 for a sedan or $30,690 in hatch-guise, the Premium line Impreza brings a power sunroof and satellite navigation.
The top-of-the-range 2.0i-S AWD is fully optioned. It costs quite a bit more than other models, at $33,590 as a sedan or $33,790 for the hatch model. For the extra outlay, you'll receive: an 8-way power adjusting driver's seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a leather-appointed steering wheel and gear shifter, sports pedals, 18-inch alloys, heated and power-folding door mirrors, LED daytime running and fog lights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, self-levelling LED headlights with dusk-sensors, side sill skirts and steering-responsive headlights.
This model also has Subaru's Vision Assist, which is made up of:
- Blind Spot Monitor
- Lane Change Keep Assist
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Reverse Automatic Braking
Click on a price to compare car loans for the Subaru Impreza.
|2.0i AWD||2.0i-L AWD||2.0i Premium AWD||2.0i-S AWD|
|2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, hatchback: $25,690|
2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, sedan: $25,490
|2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, hatchback: $28,690|
2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, sedan: $28,490
|2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, hatchback: $30,690|
2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, sedan: $30,490
|2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, hatchback: $33,790|
2.0-litre petrol, auto CVT, sedan: $33,590
Subaru offers an impressive paint palette at no extra cost on the Impreza.
- Crystal White Pearl
- Ice Silver Metallic
- Pure Red
- Quartz Blue Pearl
- Venetian Red pearl
- Dark Blue Pearl
- Dark Grey Metallic
- Crystal Black Silica
OverviewWhy would you buy the Impreza when there are so many enticing hatches out there? Several reasons. First, all models are AWD, meaning it will appeal to people who like to venture into the mountains or down gravel roads. Secondly, it is well assembled, with stout and long-lasting materials to a high level of fit and finish. Third, it's something that's a bit different. And finally, if you're a Subaru enthusiast, this car will be right up your street.
|Car Advice||"Subaru has a loyal following, and the fact the Impreza is all-wheel drive makes it unique in its segment, which will be enough for some. The in-car and active safety technology is nice, too, but we're left wanting more."|
|CarsGuide||"The Impreza 2.0i-S is packed with safety and luxury features and offers fantastic value by flying under the asking price for most equivalent high-spec competitors."|
|WhichCar||"You get a lot for your money with any Impreza, but arguably the best value comes at the top of the price scale with the 2.0i-S."|
|Motoring||"The Subaru Impreza competes with cars including the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai i30 and Volkswagen Golf. But unlike those models, it distinguishes itself with all-wheel drive – helping create a competitive point of difference."|
Engine and performance
Subaru is well known for its use of Boxer engines, where the pistons lay horizontally, as opposed to vertically or in a V shape, earning them the alias "flat-four". Subaru says this makes for a lightweight, low and flat engine block. In turn, that's supposed to reduce the centre of gravity, bettering the road handling.
Subaru 2.0-litre Boxer petrol
All Imprezas have a 2.0-litre Boxer engine. The powerplant outputs 115kW @ 6,000rpm and a peak torque measurement of 196Nm @ 4,000rpm.
Subaru Impreza gearboxes
Subaru developed a CVT automatic transmission for the Impreza. This gearbox is a type of automatic transmission, where a constantly adjusting mechanism replaces fixed ratio gears. Subaru presets the CVT for simulated gear shifts, meaning it has the equivalent of seven fixed ratios. Otherwise, it seamlessly accelerates from the off, without observable gear changes.
Car reviewers' impressions of the Subaru Impreza engine and transmission line-up
Reviewers described the 2.0-litre Boxer engine as about average for its class. It's a comparatively unique design compared to other manufacturers, thanks to the pistons being turned 90 degrees into a flat position. Though it may sound new, the engine configuration was actually designed before the 1900s and has been commonplace in aeroplanes, motorbikes and vehicles like VW Beetle and Porsche 911. Subaru has made use of the Boxer design since 1966.
This particular iteration apparently is a bit pedestrian. Testers longed for more spirit and more muscle. With peak-torque not kicking in until 4,000 revs, journos also yearned for the boost of a turbocharger.
CVT gearboxes almost universally attract flak for their execution. In theory, they should improve passenger comfort and fuel efficiency. In practice, they'll often sap the car's acceleration and make it feel a bit mundane. Often, they also have a reputation for being loud and whiny.
Subaru's CVT was no different. It seems that reviewers felt it created a sense of being disconnected from the engine. However, nobody complained about droning noises from the transmission and some testers actually believed it worked well, at least in the city.
Subaru Impreza engine and transmission statistics
|Subaru Boxer petrol|
|Engine type||Boxer, direct injection, Dual Overhead Cam, Active Valve Control System|
|Fuel type||Petrol (91 Ron)|
|Cylinders||Four, horizontally opposed|
|Fuel tank capacity||50 litres|
|Max power||115kW at 6,000rpm|
|Max torque||196Nm at 4,000rpm|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||6.6L/100km and 7.2L/100km (hatch/sedan)|
|Emissions standard||Euro 6|
|Top speed (km/h)||N/A|
|Transmission||CVT with manual mode (Seven preset ratios in manual mode)|
|Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)||650kg/1,200kg (hatch only)|
Subaru Impreza fuel economy
Subaru installs a flat-four, Boxer petrol engine into the Impreza.
2.0-litre Boxer petrol
Subaru lists the fuel economy for the 2.0-litre flat-four in Impreza brochure for the 2.0i, 2.0i-L and 2.0i Premium models as:
- Combined: 6.6L/100km
- Urban: 8.4L/100km
- Extra-urban: 5.6L/100km
The top-of-the-range 2.0i-S uses slightly more petrol:
- Combined: 7.2L/100km
- Urban: 9.1L/100km
- Extra-urban: 6.1L/100km
Subaru writes in the Impreza brochure that fuel use statistics were a result of an ADR 81/02 test. As test conditions are strictly controlled, they do not completely reflect real-world fuel usage. Traffic volumes, driving style, a vehicle's mechanical state of repair, differing fuel batches and weather conditions can all influence fuel use.
On test, how much fuel did the motoring experts burn through? Actually, the majority of car reviewers were happy with the economy and found it matched the brochure claims.
When you think of the Impreza, it's hard not to envision those classic blue, yellow and gold WRC rally cars that seemed to dominate the 90s. Some buyers might expect this Impreza to be equally as fast and hardcore. But that's a bit of a stereotype. If you want a performance Impreza, you'll have to buy the WRX or WRX STI.
The standard Impreza is better suited as a daily driver. It handles nicely around town and motoring experts found nothing that the average car owner would particularly struggle with or dislike. In fact, they were surprised that even though this isn't a hot hatch, it'll still change direction with vim and vigour. The suspension is pegged roughly between bone-jarring and perfectly comfortable, according to one tester.
One overriding handling trait reviewers noticed, the AWD grip and hefty steering make the Impreza feel reassuringly secure and planted. Even a little SUV-like according to some. That'll be handy if you live down a dirt road or in the mountains. Journalists were quick to remind possible buyers that other hatches do a better job in the handling department, but the Impreza does decently well and is one of the only hatches for sale with four driven wheels.
Interior and features
The interior design of the Impreza impressed reviewers. They said it felt airy and spacious (it's supposedly larger than the previous generation model). Apparently, it is also well built to a high standard. All the driver touchpoints, like the steering wheel and pedals, are reportedly nice, beefy and feel chunky. Reviewers liked that.
Things that motoring journalists missed was the lack of a premium-branded sound system that you conventionally get on higher trim models. Another common bugbear was the level of road and wind noise inside the passenger compartment, which sounded elevated compared to some of the Impreza's rivals.
Rear passengers should have plenty of room, at least for a vehicle in this class. Another plus point was the seats, which are described as comfort-biased. Subaru is obviously aiming this at wide-reaching demographic and you could imagine small families getting on with Impreza just as well as a couple or a solitary commuter.
Impreza 2.0i AWD interior specification
Buyers who plump for this base model shouldn't be disappointed because it still it has reams of tech and equipment. You'll get AC climate control, a choice of black or ivory cloth seats (not regularly seen in the segment), 17-inch alloys, paddle shifters, smart-key and push-button start, 2 USB ports, body-coloured external fittings, halogen headlamps with automatic shut-off, a rear spoiler, a reversing camera, Bluetooth, cruise control, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Siri functionality and an electronic parking brake. The rear seats are 60/40 split folding.
Impreza 2.0i-L AWD interior specification
Stepping up to the 2.0i-L bags you lots of more stuff. The AC becomes dual-zone, the steering wheel and gear shifter are clad in leather, there's the choice of two premium cloth seat coverings, a tyre pressure monitor, power-folding mirrors, daytime running lights, front fog lights, the EyeSight safety suite, an enlarged 8-inch touchscreen and finally, a 6.3-inch LCD multi-information display.
Impreza 2.0i Premium AWD interior highlights
Why would you spend extra on this model? If you really can't do without in-car satellite navigation and an electric roof.
Impreza 2.0i-S AWD interior highlights
This model is showered with additional luxuries. Instead of cloth seats, you'll get leather ones, with heating elements for the front passengers. There are sports pedals, 18-inch alloys, heated mirrors, chrome door handles, LED fog lights, LED DRLs and LED headlamps with dusk-sensors and self-levellers. Down the side runs swept sill skirts, plus there are extra driver safety assists.
Subaru Impreza safety and driver assists
|2.0i AWD||2.0i-L AWD||2.0i Premium AWD||2.0i-s AWD|
|5-star ANCAP rating||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|4-wheel disc brakes||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Auto Vehicle Hold||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic parking brake||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear-view reverse camera||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Vehicle Dynamics Control system:||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Ring-shaped passenger safety cell||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|ISOFIX anchors (x2)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic Throttle Control system (ETC)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|EyeSight Driver Assist system:||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|DataDotDNA security system||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Immobiliser security system||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Subaru Impreza interior and comfort features
|2.0i AWD||2.0i-L AWD||2.0i Premium AWD||2.0i-s AWD|
|Blue interior illumination||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Cabin and cargo area lights||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Dual-zone climate control||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Floor heater ducts for rear passengers||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Front and side demisters||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear windscreen demister||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Adjustable steering wheel||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|One-touch lane change indicator||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Paddle gear shifters||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Steering wheel controls||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Auto stop-start info||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|Electrical component operating condition display||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Fuel economy and journey information||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Outside temperature and clock display||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Preventative safety display||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|4.2-inch LCD screen||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Centre console box||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Retractable cargo blind||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|2 x 12V/120W power jacks||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Boot unlock on remote fob||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Power windows and mirrors – front||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rain-sensing front windscreen wipers||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Rear seat centre armrest||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Remote central locking fob (x2)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Smart key and push-start ignition||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors||Not lit||✔||✔||✔|
|USB charging socket (x2)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Carpet trim – black||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Gear shift surround||Silver||Piano Black||Piano Black||Piano Black|
|Leather steering wheel and gear shift||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Seat trim – cloth||✔||Premium cloth||Premium cloth||✖️|
|Seat trim colour – choice of black or ivory||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Seat trim – leather||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|60/40 split-folding rear seats||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|8-way power seat driver||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Heated seats – front||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Bluetooth audio streaming and handsfree mobile||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|6.5-inch LCD infotainment touchscreen||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|8-inch LCD touchscreen||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Voice command recognition||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Subaru Impreza exterior highlights
|2.0i AWD||2.0i-L AWD||2.0i Premium AWD||2.0i-s AWD|
|Body-coloured door handles||✔||✔||✔||✖️|
|Body-coloured rear garnish (hatch)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Chrome type door handles and window sills||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Detachable module type windscreen wipers||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Body-coloured door mirrors||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Heated door mirrors||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Indicators in door mirror||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Privacy glass – rear door, rear quarter on sedan, plus rear window on hatch||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear spoiler – hatch||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear window wiper – hatch||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Shark fin antenna||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Side sill skirts||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Spacesaver spare wheel||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Daytime running lights||✖️||Halogen||Halogen||LED|
|Front fog lights||✖️||✔||✔||LED|
|Headlights – halogen with auto-off||✔||✔||✔||✖️|
|Headlights – self-levelling LED with auto-off and dusk-sensing||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Rear combination lights and rear LED stop light||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Steering responsive headlights||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
The Impreza is impressively specced, has a relatively well-performing engine and gearbox, is comfortable and has the stand-out selling point of being AWD. Reviewers admired the interior design, saying it was spacious and inviting and that the car made a great all-rounder. There were a few complaints regarding the use of a doughy CVT transmission (a common complaint with any manufacturer who opts to use one) and some testers wanted a bit more power and acceleration that a turbocharger would deliver. Overall though, the Impreza seems like a genuinely unique hatch or sedan.
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