2024 Subaru Impreza Pros:
– Subaru’s symmetrical AWD still rules.
– Styling updates are inspired.
– Still a great daily driver.
2024 Subaru Impreza Cons:
– New RS version isn’t a proper RS as it’s not available with a manual gearbox.
– Base price of nearly $27k!
My week with the new 2024 Subaru Impreza made me think of the significant shift that has taken place in the compact and midsized car segments. The prevalence of all-wheel drive (AWD) systems, once a rarity in both categories, has now become a nearly standard expectation. I for one have always been a champion of AWD and we all need to thank Subaru for its adoption by all automakers.
Subaru, a pioneer in recognizing the value of AWD, has consistently led the charge, embedding this feature into its DNA for over four decades. The brand’s legacy with AWD, dating back to the introduction of the Leone in the mid-1970s, then GL, and so on. The Impreza model arrived in 1992 and it quickly ignited my fascination with Subaru’s dedication to the technology, and to my favorite motorsport, WRC.
The new 2024 Impreza RS somewhat rekindles this admiration, at the very least Subaru’s desire to recreate a sporty image for its non-WRX compact car. Its muscular design, beefed-up aesthetics, and performance-oriented enhancements deliver a subtle-yet-sporty appearance that will appeal to all. The RS’ blacked-out trim and wheels, mixed with the superb Pure red paint colour, do the new body justice. In my opinion, a true RS would sport a larger rear spoiler and perhaps a pair of tailpipes. My one hope is that Subaru will resurrect the WRX hatchback but that seems unlikely…
The base model Impreza is priced at $26,795 while the RS begins at $31,795. The latter packs an impressive array of features including Subaru’s Starlink system, a power moonroof, and an 11.6-inch touchscreen among others.
Lovely cabin, but…
Inside, the Impreza RS impresses with its blend of comfort, technology, and practicality. The spacious cabin, ample cargo space in the hatchback variant, and a host of connectivity and entertainment features ensure a pleasant driving experience. The interior, though marred slightly by some cheaper materials, is largely well-appointed, especially in the RS trim, which adds sporty touches and enhanced comfort features.
However, the Impreza isn’t without its quirks. The 11.6-inch central touchscreen, though impressive in size, can be slow to respond, is prone to serious reflection issues mamking it hard to read at times, and Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance system, while advanced, can be overly eager at times. These are minor gripes in an otherwise compelling package.
Under the hood, the RS benefits from the 2.5L flat-four engine, shared with the Sport-Tech and some versions of the new Crosstrek including the very cool Wilderness. It delivers 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. Despite the absence of a manual transmission, the RS remains engaging enough thanks to the well-tuned Lineartronic CVT and its eight pre-programmed shift points. The RS also includes the two-mode (Intelligent and Sport-Sharp) SI-DRIVE; I found Intelligent best in all driving circumstances. It enables the Impreza RS to consume on average roughly 8L/100km.
Driving the Impreza RS reveals a car that’s true to Subaru’s ethos. The steering, while distinctively Subaru in feel, is precise, and the car’s handling benefits from the brand’s global platform and well-tuned suspension. The ride is compliant and comfortable, absorbing road imperfections with ease, a notable advantage in areas with less-than-ideal road conditions such as the entire Greater Montreal Area.
RS or WRX?
Though the Impreza RS is a compelling choice, it’s not a sport-compact car. What’s more, there’s that WRX I keep bringing up. Starting at $33,695, the 2024 WRX, even with less kit, is a far more exciting option. If you must get an automatic transmission, the first WRX fitted with one goes for $40,095. Otherwise, WRX is the answer.
In the compact car segment, the 2024 Subaru Impreza is up against the Mazda3, the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, the Hyundai Elantra, and a few others. The main reason to opt for the Impreza is its included AWD which is also available with the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla. The latter is a hybrid version that retails for $28,290. It might not be a hatchback, but it’ll be far easier on fuel.