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2019 Impreza

The Subaru Impreza is a reasonably affordable and fuel-efficient compact car that stands out with standard all-wheel drive. It's offered as a sedan (detailed here) and a hatchback.


The non-enthusiast may find it tricky to spot the current-generation Impreza in the wild. While the concept car Subaru built to preview the design seemed a bit of a departure from the previous model, the production version is a lot more loyal to its roots.

That said, there are differences. The sides especially are more sculpted and the character lines more pronounced. A careful look at the front-end also reveals new fog light surrounds, a more aggressive chin spoiler and a more intricate look to the bumper areas flanking the grille. The overall design is more evolutionary than revolutionary but there are some notable differences. The sides are more sculpted and the character lines more pronounced. Looking carefully at the front end also reveals redesigned fog light surrounds, a more aggressive chin spoiler, and a more intricate look to the bumper areas flanking the grille.

The sheet metal hides a modular architecture called Subaru Global Platform (SGP). It also underpins the Forester and it will spawn the next-generation Outback.

Life aboard

One of Subaru's traditional weaknesses has been interior luxury -- or lack thereof. While loaded-up models were rarely short on must-have features, they often felt poorly integrated. Take a look at the audio interface in a top-spec model from 2016 for further evidence of this shortfall.

Things are looking up. Not only are features such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard from the base model on up, they're packaged in significantly more attractive and well-integrated hardware. Even base models get a 6.5-inch, full-color multimedia interface. There are nicer materials all around, even at the lower end of the trim hierarchy. The Impreza is still no match for a Mazda3 or a Volkswagen Golf, but it's certainly an improvement.

The cabin offers space for five passengers, though the middle seat gets tight if you try to fit three adults on it, and 12.3 cubic feet of trunk space. Get the hatchback if space is your main concern; it offers 20.3 cubes with both rows of seats left up and a crossover-like 55.3 cubes with the rear seats folded down.

Technical specifications

Power for the Impreza comes from a naturally-aspirated, 2.0-liter flat-four engine that makes 152 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 145 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. All-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission comes standard on some versions, but most trim levels come with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Fuel economy checks in at 28 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway, and 32 in a combined cycle for the most efficient Impreza.

Standard and optional features

The Impreza line-up includes four trim levels named 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Sport, and 2.0i Limited, respectively.

The list of standard features includes a 6.5-inch touch screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, power windows, 60/40-split rear seats, power door locks, power side mirrors, a multi-function display in the instrument cluster, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, an alarm with an engine immobilizer, and carpeted floor mats.

Buyers have several option packages to choose from. They bundle popular equipment like EyeSight, a moonroof, and an upgraded sound system made by Harman Kardon.

Occupant safety

Every Impreza comes standard with dual front, front side, and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's side knee airbag, traction and stability control systems, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Subaru's EyeSight suite of electronic driving aids is available across the board, though usually at an extra cost. It includes high beam assist, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, blind spot detection, and lane-keeping assist, among other features.

Key competitors

Subaru launched the Impreza into one of the most cut-throat market segments. Its competitors include perennial best-sellers like the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, and the Hyundai Elantra. Buyers can also look at the Volkswagen Jetta and the Mazda3.