The Subaru's 2.0-liter Boxer four-pot produces 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft, which is below par in a class where the standard is now closer to 180 hp. Combine that with an imprecise five-speed manual or a noisy, power-sapping CVT, and neither gearbox does the engine any favors. The Impreza Sport with a manual does a zero to 60 mph sprint in 8.4 seconds according to independent tests, with most rivals being much quicker.
The Impreza doesn't have a tow rating, which is not unusual for this segment. These cars are more suited to inner-city driving and highway cruising than towing. The Impreza does have Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive as standard, though, which makes it quite unique at this price point. Most of its rivals are available in front-wheel drive only with all-wheel drive being an optional extra in some cases. This gives the Subaru a distinctive selling point. The engine doesn't ever feel like it's going to overpower the wheels, but the AWD system does add a layer of safety in tricky conditions. One could argue that it's only really beneficial in cold-weather states, but we like to think of it as nice to have when it rains, or on any other road surface where traction might be an issue.
This area is the most problematic for the Subaru Impreza. We'll start with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Almost all its main rivals from competing manufacturers have more powerful engines thanks to either a larger capacity and/or turbocharging. The 2.0-liter four-pot in the Subaru doesn't have a lot of power available low down, which means you have to work it hard most of the time. It would have been a lot easier if the Impreza had a gearbox that allowed the driver to make the most of the 152 horses and 145 lb-ft of torque, but both gearboxes fail to do so. The CVT simply drones and slowly gets the car up to speed, while the five-speed manual does a little better, but only because the driver is in control. As far as manual gearboxes go, it doesn't feel particularly pleasant to operate.
Strangely, Subaru hasn't equipped the six-speed manual from the Crosstrek in the Impreza. It seems like it would be a perfect fit. It's even more disappointing that Subaru has yet to introduce a small-capacity turbocharged engine in the Impreza, especially since it has a glorious history when it comes to turbocharged engines.
|Subaru Impreza Hatchback Trims||Subaru Impreza Hatchback Engines||Subaru Impreza Hatchback Horsepower||Subaru Impreza Hatchback Transmissions||Subaru Impreza Hatchback Drivetrains||Subaru Impreza Hatchback MPG/MPGE|
|Hatchback||2.0L Flat 4 Gas||152 hp @ 6000 rpm||5-Speed Manual|
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
|AWD||26 MPG |
|Premium Hatchback||2.0L Flat 4 Gas||152 hp @ 6000 rpm||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||AWD||31 MPG|
|Sport Hatchback||2.0L Flat 4 Gas||152 hp @ 6000 rpm||5-Speed Manual|
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
|AWD||25 MPG |
|Limited Hatchback||2.0L Flat 4 Gas||152 hp @ 6000 rpm||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||AWD||31 MPG|
The CVT gearbox does what it sets out to do, which is to increase fuel efficiency. The models equipped with this gearbox are the most efficient, with EPA estimates of 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined. The Sport model is slightly less efficient, presumably due to its larger wheels, with an EPA estimate of one mpg less in each category. The manuals are less efficient across the board. A base manual has an EPA estimate of 24/31/26 mpg, while the manual Sport has an estimate of 22/30/25 mpg. The Impreza has a 13.2-gallon gas tank, which results in a driving range of 330-409 miles between refills, depending on the model.
|Subaru Impreza Hatchback Trims||Hatchback||Premium Hatchback||Sport Hatchback||Limited Hatchback|
|Subaru Impreza Hatchback Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||24/31||28/36||22/30||28/36|