Subaru Impreza: Not so ‘Imprezive’ anymore

Riley Riley

2024 Subaru Impreza 20S AWD 02

What is it?

While many manufacturers have ditched their hatches in favour of SUVs, Subaru continues to offer the Impreza.

Mind you, it dropped the Liberty sedan back in 2020, so nothing is set in stone.

And the sedan is no more – just the hatch this time.

Subaru says the new sixth generation Impreza is sportier and more versatile than ever.

But we’re not sure what this claim is based upon, given its the same engine and transmission as before.

Let’s find out.

2024 Subaru Impreza 20S AWD 03

What’s it cost?

Released late last year, the new MY24 model is a little larger and looks a little different of course.

There’s three models, 2.0L, 2.0R and 2.0S, priced from $31,490.

The better equipped 2.0R is $34,990, while top of the range 2.0S (the subject of our test) is $37,990 — all prices before on-road costs.

All three are powered by the same 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, with the same CVT-style transmission and all-wheel drive (sorry, symmetrical all-wheel drive).

Inside, we’re told a carefully redesigned cabin takes the driving experience to a whole new level, leaving both drivers and passengers impressed. Who writes this stuff?

Kit in the entry model includes 17-inch alloys, cloth seats, dual-zone air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, smart key and push-start ignition, dusk-sensing LED headlights and rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and power-folding door mirrors.

Impreza 2.0R and 2.0S add larger 18-inch alloys, heated front seats, power-adjust driver seat, auto high beam, front cornering lights and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

2.0S ups the ante with leather enhanced trim, heated front seats, satellite navigation and an 80s-sized electric sunroof.

A space saver spare is provided.

Impreza is covered by a 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty period, with 12-month complimentary roadside assistance.

Infotainment consists of an impressive 11.6-inch portrait-style touchscreen, with AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless Qi smartphone charging and USB-A and USB-C ports. 

2.0R and 2.0S models add rear USB ports.

First available in the new Crosstrek, 2.0R and 2.0S feature a panoramic 360-degree view monitor.

A 3-D birds-eye view is generated from all four cameras around the vehicle.

Six-speaker audio is standard, while 2.0S scores a premium Harman Kardon 10-speaker audio system.

Sad to say Impreza no longer carries a five-star safety rating.

It expired in December and the car will need to be re-tested.

The latest model comes with nine airbags, a reversing camera and autonomous emergency braking, together with reverse automatic braking.

The latest generation Subaru EyeSight driver assist system features an improved stereo camera and a new wide-angle monocular camera, which offers a significantly wider field of view, speed sign recognition and lane centring function.

This additional camera also enhances its ability to recognise pedestrians and bicycles when the vehicle is entering an intersection at low speed.

New to the Impreza range, all variants are equipped with Subaru’s leading-edge DMS which carefully watches over the driver’s seat for signs of drowsiness, lack of attention on the road or fatigue is detected. 

If any of these signs are identified, a warning is displayed on the multi-Information display (MID) and infotainment screen.

Impreza is covered by a 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty period, with 12-month complimentary roadside assistance.

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What’s it go like?

There’s no hybrid, although one is offered overseas.

But given its performance in Crosstrek, it’s probably not worth the effort.

Impreza gets the same old naturally aspirated, direct injection 2.0-litre boxer engine as before.

It delivers 115kW of power at 6000 rpm and 196Nm of torque from 4000 rpm, and has been the fallback position for over 10 years.

Power is fed to all-four wheels via a CVT-style transmission with eight steps or gears accessible via steering wheel mounted paddle shifts.

Although described as symmetrical all-wheel drive, this does not mean the car operates in all-wheel drive mode – all the time.

It simply means that it can feed torque equally to the front or rear wheels when required.

SI-Drive offers two drive modes: Intelligent (I) and Sport (S) mode.

With a 50-litre fuel tank, fuel consumption is a claimed 7.5L/100km and it takes standard 91 unleaded.

Although it’s 15mm longer, 6mm wider and 1mm higher than the previous model, the wheelbase remains exactly the same 2670mm — that means no extra room inside.

Or it would if the designers hadn’t nicked a bit of boot space to provide rear seat passengers with some extra space.

Longer cushions provide greater support for the back and knees.

Some rear aircon outlets might have been nice?

The seats have been redesigned and so has the dash to accommodate the large, impressive-looking portrait touchscreen as seen in other models.

It’s seen the demise of the odd third information screen that used to sit atop the dash.

The CD player has gone too.

Can’t say we’ll miss either.

The seats are apparently fixed directly to the chassis, providing a better driving position.

But the seating position feels quite low and it makes entry and exit more difficult than it should be.

Subaru might have given this some thought, given that the buyer demographic for this car is probably over 50 years of age.

Despite the large touchscreen, physical controls have been retained for volume, radio tuning and temperature settings, as well as the heated seats.

Fan speed however is controlled from the screen, but is always on display so easy to access.

While the rest of the automotive community is moving to digital instrumentation, even the top of the range 2.0S retains old style analogue dials, with a small informational between them.

Not the best way to win friends and influence people.

Touchscreen graphics are crisp and colourful, with large icons for the different apps.

But the space devoted to the reversing camera is relatively small and although it does the job, the image becomes blurry and difficult to see at night.

Subaru has always provided excellent audio and the 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system in this model is a keeper.

Wireless Android Auto works flawlessly.

But you don’t buy a car for the audio, you buy it for the way it drives.

The basics are there, but we found the performance in our test vehicle a little deceiving.

Steering is sharp, the ride and handling are excellent and it tackles corners with the utmost confidence.

And, being all-wheel drive (when it’s required), it’s going to be sure-footed in wet weather.

Pedalling the Impreza around town, with light throttle application, it presents as reasonably responsive.

It’s only when you ask it the question? When you punch the accelerator hard and demand it to respond in kind, that you could come away disappointed.

So it kind of depends on whether you’re looking for a WRX, or whether you just want something safe that will get from A to B.

If it’s the latter, the Impreza fits the bill.

On a final note, however, fuel consumption is overly high for a car of this size and weight.

Rated at 7.5L/100km, we were getting a high 8.7 around town which is frankly unacceptable for a car of this size.

2024 Subaru Impreza 20S AWD 05
The new-look dashboard
2020 Subaru Impreza 20S AWD 1
The interior and screen in the previous model.

What we like?

  • Nice wheels
  • All-wheel drive
  • Easy to drive
  • Harman Kardon sound

2024 Subaru Impreza 20S AWD 06

What we don’t like?

  • Too low for oldies
  • Engine lacks punch
  • Front often scrapes
  • No rear aircon outlets
  • Easy to confuse trip and start buttons

2024 Subaru Impreza 20S AWD 07

The bottom line?

All in all the new Impreza is a bit ho-hum.

The big changes are in the cabin with the addition of the large touchscreen.

It feels like Subaru has put the hatch in a holding pattern, pending a decision on its future.

Crosstrek performs the same function in a more desirable SUV format, so Impreza might not have much longer.

2024 Subaru Impreza 20S AWD 08


CHECKOUT: Subaru’s Solterra EV available to order

CHECKOUT: Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid: Fuel for thought


Impreza AWD 2.0S, priced from $37,990
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 6/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 7/10

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