We know - it needs more power. It also needs a manual gearbox.
After disappointing fans with the news that the WRX will no longer offer an STI variant, Subaru has a second chance at glory with the reveal of the all-new 2024 Subaru Impreza. This is the sixth generation of the Impreza, and it has just made its debut at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show with a host of highlights.
The chassis is 10% stiffer than before, a new RS trim has been presented with a 2.5-liter Boxer engine producing 182 horsepower, and improved EyeSight, driver assistance technology, comes standard. But sadly, there is no STI variant here either. These days, Subaru seems more interested in preparing for EVs and enhancing safety than providing thrills.
Let's start with the return of the RS trim, which debuted as the 2.5 RS in 1998 and acted as a precursor to the WRX for the American market. Naturally, a few RS badges are dotted about, specifically on the front doors and the rear hatch, while the wheels are 18-inch alloys finished in a dark gray hue. The front grille also gets special attention with a black finish, as do the side spoiler, wing mirrors, upgraded LED headlights, and LED fog lights.
Inside, this model's trim accents arrive in gunmetal and faux carbon fiber (farbon ciber?). The front sport seats are trimmed in black cloth with red bolsters, the carpeted floormats feature an RS logo, and the steering wheel gets leather upholstery, as does the shifter.
Aluminum alloy pedals, heated front seats, and rear USB charge ports further enhance the appeal, as do standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. A 10-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, a power moonroof, and a 10-way power driver seat with lumbar support are also available.
30 years ago, the Impreza debuted at the 1992 LA Auto Show as the only compact car to offer all-wheel drive. For the 2024 model, that tradition continues with every model featuring a revised Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with active torque vectoring.
The Base and Sport trims arrive with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Boxer developing 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, while the new RS trim stands apart with a 2.5-liter Boxer producing 182 hp and 178 lb-ft. Sadly, all trim levels get a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as standard. Although the Sport and RS trims get an eight-speed manual-mimicking mode with paddle shifters, a manual would have been more attractive. The Sport and RS also get the SI-Drive performance management system, 18-inch alloy wheels, and sport-tuned suspension.
Sport models get push-button start, the 11.6-inch media system, and fog lights over and above the Base trim's features. Welcome lighting, 60/40 folding rear seats, remote keyless access, and dual-zone climate control come standard for all. That climate system now focuses on occupied seats rather than the whole cabin.
Thanks to additional structural adhesives (from 26.2 feet to 88.5 feet) and full inner frame construction applied to the Subaru Global Platform, the chassis now boasts 10% higher torsional rigidity and less weight, both of which aim to improve handling and provide a quieter, smoother ride.
Other subtle improvements include a more supportive seat design and an improvement in blocking out unwanted sounds within specific frequency ranges.
Inside, the Subaru Starlink 11.6-inch Multimedia Plus infotainment system is available for the first time on the Impreza, providing wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto.
The standard EyeSight driver assistance system now operates smoother and faster and under a greater range of conditions, with a broader field of view, updated control software, and the addition of an electric brake booster. The system can now identify bicycles and pedestrians at intersections sooner and, when necessary, alert the driver and apply the brakes.
The outgoing Impreza achieved Top Safety Pick status with the IIHS for 2022, marking the 15th consecutive year that the car earned the award. That's likely to continue with the new model, but we yearn for the days of exciting Scoobys, and this one simply won't offer much to quicken the pulse.
As an enthusiast product, it's barely lukewarm. As a mainstream offering, it's sure to tick all the right boxes - unless you want a sedan. The 2024 Impreza will be sold exclusively as a five-door hatchback when it arrives at dealers in the spring.
We'll let you know our impressions after we drive it in 2023.