2024 Subaru Impreza RS – Fun Haver


The Impreza nameplate has always been very important for car enthusiasts, mainly due to its rich rally history. For non-enthusiasts, it has always offered a different value proposition, as it is one of the few entries that you can find in a standard all-wheel drive. The updated Subaru Impreza still offers the same golden formula, with crucial improvements.

The Looks – Exterior & Interior

The new Subaru Impreza may look similar to the outgoing model, but there are important changes. Even though it is still the same platform, the front fascia is completely different. The sleek LED headlights, big front grill, minimal amount of unpainted plastic trims and sharp lines give the Impreza a sportier and more premium look. Unlike its SUV sibling, the Impreza does not get unpainted claddings on the fenders, and it does not have the same ground clearance, rugged looks or road presence.

Even though Subaru calls it “all-new”, it is more of a big update rather than a completely new platform. However, there are new trims introduced to make the Impreza more appealing in a class full of heavy hitters like the Honda Civic. The RS trim is new to this generation of Subarus. The brand used to have the RS trim back in time as it stands for Rally Sport, now it is not really meant for rallying, but it indicates that it is the sportier trim with RS badging on both front doors, black accents and a bigger 18″ black wheels.

Even though it is the sportier trim, it is not here to replace the sportiest WRX, so there are no quad exhaust tips, spoilers, or anything offensive when it comes to looks. Just like the front end, the taillights, trunk and rear bumper are also updated, the updated Impreza looks much sharper from all angles. Even though it does not have the Crosstrek’s ground clearance, it has a similar rear design and dimensions.

There are important updates in the interior as well. The most obvious one is the large vertical infotainment system that we used to see pretty much all other Subaru models, it finally trickled down to the Impreza. The 11.6-inch touchscreen does not offer the best screen quality or resolution, but it is one of the easiest infotainment systems to use and it is still impressive to have for a compact hatchback. You still get physical controls and a volume knob, so it is not annoying to interact on a daily basis.

The rest of the interior also feels very similar to all Subaru models, which is a pro if you are shopping for an Impreza, but can be a bummer if you own a more expensive Subaru. The interior quality is quite good for the price range, you get a nice diversity of materials, a minimal amount of glossy black plastics, and despite having a giant screen, it still gives you that analog user experience.

One of the main reasons for the analog user experience is the gauge cluster, as it still does not have a fully digital instrument cluster even with the highest trim. There is only a small digital screen in the middle of two analog gauges, which shows a lot of information that you can only control through the steering wheel. The only gripe I had is the number of physical buttons on the steering wheel, you need a lot of time to get used to the layout, and there are unnecessary features placed on the steering wheel, like the “S” and “I” driving modes that could have been sent to the infotainment screen.

The RS trim comes with cloth seats that have red accents, and they are pretty comfortable despite not having a lot of adjustment options. Also even though you don’t get leather seats, the heated seats are standard with the RS trim, which is the right combination for colder climates. The most surprising part is that even though the Impreza is still a compact hatchback, it comes with great interior space. At 6’1″, I had no issues and didn’t feel cramped inside.

Like the Crosstrek, the new Impreza offers the same amount of interior space, meaning that you get the same levels of practicality except the Impreza sits significantly lower, so getting in and out can be a little bit more painful. Once you get in, the rear seat passengers get a decent amount of legroom and headroom. There are no air vents for the rear seat passengers, but they at least get 1x USB-C and 1x USB-A ports to charge their electronic devices. Installing a front or rear-facing child seat is no issue, the front passenger seat would still be usable. The only problem is the 40:60 folding rear seats, you have to install the child seat behind the driver’s seat if you want to fold the rear seat to maximize the cargo space.

Speaking of cargo space, it is a traditional hatchback, you can utilize it based on your needs. In typical Subaru fashion, you get a very usable overall cargo space. Even though it is not the largest entry in this segment, you still get 20.8 cubic feet (588 litres) of room behind the rear seats, which can be increased all the way up to 55.3 cubic feet (1566 litres) with the rear seats folded down.

The Drive – Specs & Experience

New to 2024, the Impreza finally gets the bigger corporate 2.5 litre horizontally opposed naturally aspirated engine that pushes 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. The lowest two trims still come with the older 2.0-litre engine, so if you want more horsepower, the RS trim is the way to go. The bigger 2.5 litre engine is a no-brainer considering you get a lot more horsepower with minimal difference when it comes to the fuel economy numbers.

Just like any modern Subaru for the last 15 years, it comes with a continuously variable transmission and a standard Symmetrical all-wheel drive system. The CVT is responsive and also comes with 8 fake shifting points in case you want to use the paddle shifters located on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, there is no longer a manual transmission available in any trims, that’s when you have to consider the sportier WRX if you are looking for one.

The word “Symmetrical” is more than a marketing gimmick, as it comes with equal-length axles for all wheels with a full-time AWD system, which means it avoids torque steering and is sure-footed on all surfaces. Unlike the Crosstrek, you do not get X-Mode and it is acceptable for a compact hatchback not meant to be off-road.

The bigger 2.5-litre engine is the right fit for this weight and size, it offers a decent amount of roll-on power. The CVT feels a little rubberbandy, but that’s very normal especially when it is matched with a naturally aspirated engine, it wants to be in the right RPM range and that’s usually the top end when you try to accelerate. The only con is the overall fuel economy, it is slightly worse than the competition, but it might be a worthy trade-off if you are living in the colder climate, there aren’t many compact hatchbacks that come standard with an AWD system.

The updated Subaru Impreza is a terrific daily driver. For long trips or highway driving, the EyeSight system works very well, it covers a lot of area behind the rearview mirror, but it still works even in inclement weather unlike most other systems located in the front grille. The noise, vibration and harshness levels are low, except for the start & stop system which shakes the whole car abruptly every time it starts the engine. I wish it just remembers the settings you choose for disabling start & stop and enabling the Auto Vehicle Hold feature like you would in a Subaru Ascent, unfortunately, the Impreza resets your settings every time you shut it off, and you have to go through the infotainment menus to find those two features every time you start it up

The Verdict

At the end of the day, the Subaru Impreza delivers a lot more than what you expect from a compact hatchback. It’s spacious, has nice features, rides well, you will have no traction issues on any surface, and it is a utilitarian vehicle meant for smaller families. It doesn’t feel like a cheap econobox made for the rental fleets, even though it is technically not the top trim, and that’s why it is the right choice for people looking for an affordable but decent all-wheel-drive vehicle.

Engine2.5-litre naturally aspirated flat-4
Transmission & DrivetrainContinuously variable transmission & all-wheel-drive
Max power182 hp @ 5800 rpm
Max torque178 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm
0-100 km/h8.0 seconds
Curb Weight3286 lb – 1490 kg
Fuel Economy (observed)26 MPG – 10.5 L/100 km
Price (starting at)$34,167

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