2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback

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2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Review

Now in its fifth generation, the Subaru Impreza has been with us in one shape or another since 1992, and thanks to a successful history in motorsport, it has become a household name for motorists looking for something more than just A to B transport. This image has become both a blessing and a curse for Subaru, as the performance versions of the humble Impreza have overshadowed what is at the end of the day a practical compact car that is more Full House than Fast and Furious. The Impreza Hatchback deserves to be viewed in a different light, and despite all the stereotypes (think big wings and gold wheels), it's quite an accomplished commuter and suburban companion and has been awarded for having the highest residual value in its class for three years running. Power is derived from a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder developing 152 horsepower, with either a five-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic handling shifts. Will a permanent all-wheel-drive system, class-leading levels of safety and a good infotainment system give the Impreza five-door a fighting chance in the highly competitive compact hatch class?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
8.5
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2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Changes: ๐Ÿš™Whatโ€™s the difference vs 2018 Impreza Hatchback?

As part of the fifth generation Impreza launched in 2017, updates are few but noticeable for 2019. Subaru's EyeSight suite of active safety functions makes a welcome appearance, available right from the base trim, and brings adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking and a whole host of other nifty tech features to the party. Base and Premium models equipped with EyeSight get an upgraded gauge cluster and tire pressure monitoring, and Premium models now come with a CD player, HD radio and two rear USB ports. The manual-equipped Sport models get the short-throw shifter from the Impreza WRX STI.

Pros and Cons

  • Permanent all-wheel means surefooted road holding
  • Class-leading safety levels
  • Quiet and comfortable on the open road
  • Roomy cabin
  • Holds its value well
  • The CVT gearbox is sluggish and noisy
  • Manual gearbox is unengaging
  • Uninspiring engine is a poor performer
  • Still fighting the Impreza stereotype
  • Gas mileage could be better in manual spec

Best Deals on 2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback

2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hatchback
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$19,095
Premium Hatchback
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$22,095
Sport Hatchback
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$22,695
Limited Hatchback
2.0L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$25,690
See All 2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Generally, buyers approach Subaru first for one key drawcard: fitment of all-wheel drive on every model with the exception of the BRZ, and the Impreza is no different giving it impressive levels of grip and seamless road-holding.

The Impreza's steering is light, but you can still point it in a direction with some accuracy, and it responds rapidly to inputs that see the compact hatch dart about the road with some vigor. On the road, the Impreza soaks up bumps and imperfections and delivers an overall ride that seems more premium than entry-level. It doesn't matter the road surface, or whether it changes midway through a corner, the Impreza can't be unsettled, and the suspension adapts rapidly enough that imperfections are kept away from the cabin and its occupants. Grip levels are high on all models regardless of wheel and tire size, and there's a depth to the Impreza's handling that rewards keener drivers wishing to push to find the extremely high limits of grip. Aiding the mechanical grip, and come the wet and snowy winter season, other compact hatch owners will rue the day they decided to buy a front-wheel drive car.

All told, it's a disappointment the Impreza doesn't have more power, as the chassis is highly capable, highly balanced, and manages to resist lean without compromising on outright comfort. The chassis is exemplary, let down by a crucially flawed powertrain.

Verdict: ๐ŸIs the 2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback a good car?

The Impreza has come a long way since the days of agrarian-spec interiors and rally car reputations. The 2019 Impreza hatchback is a sensible and safe compact hatch that offers buyers mature and functional design, excellent safety and class-leading road holding thanks to its all-wheel-drive tech. The excellent infotainment system and ergonomic dashboard layout translate into a good real-world car, while the cargo volume is ample despite not being as good as the Honda Civic. However, a capable chassis and high levels of grip are completely wasted with a lackluster engine giving some of the worst performance figures in the segment, while neither gearbox is particularly exciting or able to make good use of disappointing power outputs. Contemporary turbocharged rivals simply offer more, and get better gas mileage to boot. Despite the allure of all-wheel drive, the Impreza's performance is a huge letdown and one that simply ruins the package, leading us to recommend other equally safe, practical, and better-performing alternatives like the Honda Civic.

Check out other Subaru Impreza Styles

2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback Comparisons

Subaru Crosstrek Subaru
Honda Civic Hatchback Honda

2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback vs Subaru Crosstrek

The Crosstrek and Impreza might share the same platform, but there is a clear distinction between the two. The Subaru Crosstrek will appeal to adventure seekers on a budget who love to instagram their hiking photos ( #wanderlust). Based on the Impreza 5-door, this compact crossover has the offroading capability to match its bold exterior. An increased ride height of 8.7 inches ain't nothing to sneeze at, and the all-wheel-drive system gets further assistance from what Subaru calls "X Mode" which helps traction in slippery conditions. You can expect more or less the same performance, as both share the 2.0 liter boxer motor and CVT gearbox. The base model Crosstrek benefits from a 6-speed manual where the Impreza only gets a 5-speed. The differentiating factor here will be lifestyle choices. The Impreza should be the choice for those who seek comfort and practicality in the form of a compact hatch, whereas the Crosstrek will lure in adrenaline seekers who like the idea of owning a small crossover 'SUV' that they can use to lug around mountain bikes and poorly folded camping gear.

See Subaru Crosstrek Review

2019 Subaru Impreza Hatchback vs Honda Civic Hatchback

The ever-popular Honda Civic is as good as ever, and any compact hatch contender should feel slightly nervous. The 2019 Civic strikes an excellent balance between practicality and driver enjoyment. The latest version has seen minor tweaks to the interior and also sports the hatch-only turbocharged 180-hp engine, a far superior unit to the Impreza's asthmatic 2.0i Boxer. The Civic's gearbox options (6-speed manual and CVT auto) are better than that of the Impreza's, in fact, the CVT found in the Civic is one of the best on the market right now. The Impreza performs slightly better in the safety department, and the fact that it's got all-wheel drive might lure a few customers away from the Civic. The base model Civic starts off at an MSRP of $21,450 excluding tax, license, registration and a $920.00 destination fee.

See Honda Civic Hatchback Review
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