2024 Subaru Impreza AWD 2.0S review

I would have completely understood if Subaru Australia had decided not to bring the new-generation Subaru Impreza to market.

The small car segment is shrinking, and many other brands have pulled out or raised prices to the point where the alternative compact SUV in their range makes more sense.

That could easily have been the case here, with the Crosstrek appealing to many more buyers thanks to its added ride height, aggro presence, and off-road modes.

Considering the vast majority of compact crossover models don’t offer all-wheel drive anyway, and all other affordable hatches being front-drive, the argument for the Impreza AWD still existing is well and truly stacked against it.

So, who is this car for? Should you consider one? I’ll tell you my thoughts in this detailed review.

How does the Subaru Impreza compare?

View a detailed breakdown of the Subaru Impreza against similarly sized vehicles.

Subaru Impreza cutout image

Subaru

Impreza

How much does the Subaru Impreza cost?

There are more affordable versions of the Impreza hatch, but one tested here is the top-of-the-range AWD 2.0S.

2024 Subaru Impreza pricing:

  • 2024 Subaru Impreza 2.0L: $31,490
  • 2024 Subaru Impreza 2.0R: $34,990
  • 2024 Subaru Impreza 2.0S: $37,990

Prices before on-road costs

To see how the Impreza compares with its rivals, use our comparison tool.

What is the Subaru Impreza like on the inside?

The interior of the Subaru Impreza does feel like a step up from the outgoing model and is very much in line with some of the other current Subaru models.

That mainly comes down to the larger 11.6-inch portrait-style touchscreen media system which does take pride of place on the dashboard. It offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and satellite navigation in this spec, not to mention DAB+ and AM/FM radio.

While most of the controls are right there on the bright, crisp and colourful screen, there are still some hard buttons for your temperature adjustment and demister, as well as volume and tuning dials, which I like to see. You do have to use the fan controller down at the bottom of the screen, though, so that’s a little bit frustrating. 

Thankfully, it’s not too difficult of a menu system to get your head around, and there are USB-A, USB-C, and auxiliary ports. This spec also scores a wireless phone charger which is a nice size – your phone can wiggle around a little bit when you’re going through corners and it’ll still stay charging. Some other cars don’t do that. 

Other features include heated seat buttons for the top two grades down near the shifter, a 12-volt port, some decent-sized cup holders, bottle holders in the doors, and a centre console bin as well. 

Up front there are nice soft touch points everywhere, and the leather-accented seats in this top-spec model feel pretty fancy. For context, I spent some time in the 2.0R version, which has a cloth seat trim, and I was fine with those seats too.

If you don’t want a sunroof, then you don’t need to end up with this spec. But I think that it does feel pretty nice up front.

One thing that’s letting it down a little bit is it still only has a relatively small digital screen as part of the instrument cluster with dials – some other cars have big digital screens that are actually not that easy to deal with.

Some people will still hate that there are so many buttons on the steering wheel, but I find – being a Subaru driver of years gone by – you do get used to these buttons pretty quickly. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just in tune with Subaru. 

From a space perspective, the Impreza offers enough for a family of four.

With the driver’s seat set for my position at 182cm/6ft tall, I had knee room, foot room, and a little bit of headroom. You just have to watch your head if you’re taller when getting in and out, and if you’re planning to ride three-wide, there is a transmission tunnel intruding into the foot space.

The back seat isn’t overly comfortable, though – it’s more like sitting on a stool than slumping in a lovely lounge. You sit up quite high and you get a bit of a view over what’s happening up front. That might be great if you’ve got kids in booster seats or you’re taking adults with you. 

But what isn’t great is there are no directional air vents in the back of this car, and that could be a deal-breaker for some family car buyers. I would understand if it was – but if you’re okay with that, there are ISOFIX points for the window seats and three top tethers.

However, there are USB-C and USB-A ports in the back (priorities, I guess?), a single map pocket, bottle holders in the doors, and a flip-down armrest with very shallow cupholders. 

The boot is another consideration for customers, with just 291 litres of cargo capacity on offer with the rear seats up, this is small for this class of vehicle. If you need more boot space than what is on offer here, you should be looking at a Kia Cerato or a Skoda Scala. 

There’s no electric tailgate on any model, either, which is disappointing, but you do get a space-saver spare wheel under the boot floor. There’s also a light in the back and some shopping bag storage.

So while it’s not the ideal family hatch, Subaru has some great alternatives, like the Subaru WRX Sportswagon, or the Forester or Outback. But if you’re single, or in a couple with no kids, or you only occasionally use the back seat, this might still be fine.

What’s under the bonnet?

For a ‘new’ hatch coming out in 2024, it’s surprising to see there is no downsized turbo or petrol-electric hybrid option offered. The fact the Crosstrek gets a hybrid, and the WRX gets a turbo, might mean you’ll have to shop elsewhere if you’re desperate for those things in your Subie.

Instead, the Impreza has a non-turbo 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed four-cylinder ‘Boxer’ petrol engine producing 115kW of power (6000rpm) and 196Nm of torque (4000rpm).

It’s mated with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto featuring eight simulated shift points, and all-wheel drive is standard.

The official combined cycle fuel consumption figure is 7.5L/100km, supposedly aided by the automatic start/stop system that cuts the engine when you’re idle in traffic.

In reality, this car disappointed me with its fuel use. Over a mix of real-world driving including open road, freeway, commuting, traffic, stop-start and urban driving, I saw a displayed return of 9.1 litres per 100km, which is thirsty by class standards.

It has a 50-litre fuel tank, and runs on 91 RON regular unleaded fuel.

How does the Subaru Impreza drive?

This generation of Impreza is much like the outgoing model to drive, and without the context of everything else that’s happening in the world of cars, that might be fine. 

However, other cars these days drive better than this. It’s not to say that this drives badly; it’s just not as polished and well-rounded as some of its rivals out there. 

Some things that may not be as refined or as loveable include the engine and transmission combination which, admittedly, will do the job fine, but it won’t excite.

It’s as though the brand has tuned the throttle and the brake to feel really sensitive to make it feel like it has much more performance than it actually does, because it’s certainly not a powerhouse powertrain. 

It will probably be fine for urban drivers and those who maybe live in country areas and just run into town and back to drop off the kids at school.

But it’s not going to be one for the thrill-seekers. If you are looking for a more thrilling Subaru driving experience, buy a WRX – you’ll be happier than if you were going to buy this.

The transmission itself can be a little bit annoying. It is still a CVT auto and it still has that slurry action these types of transmissions can have. If you’re taking off from a standstill, it can bog down and then make a racket before it gets moving. It’s not terrible and for the most part you might find that it’s actually a pretty liveable driving experience. 

There are paddle shifters if you want to take matters into your own hands and shift in a manual mode, even though it’s not really manual. It doesn’t make it much more exciting either.

The Impreza also hasn’t got the smoothest ride. It tends to feel the lumps and bumps of the road surface without necessarily cushioning you from what’s happening under the tyres.

Likewise, the handling is fine, with steering that is responsive enough and has a decent action, but can exhibit some understeer (where the nose doesn’t turn as much as you might want it to) when you push it a bit harder.

There’s a fair bit of noise coming into the cabin from under the bonnet, and there’s also quite a bit of road noise intrusion. 

Speaking of intrusion, the lane-keeping tech isn’t too bad in this car as it doesn’t intervene until it thinks it really needs to step in, which is good.

However, the driver monitoring camera system is overbearing, and really insists that you keep your eyes on the prize, even when you’re just adjusting the stereo or checking if there’s traffic coming from other directions.

There’s no hiding it – the new Impreza isn’t a class-leader in any way when it comes to the drive.

But if you live in a rural area, and encounter rougher roads or gravel tracks, the peace-of-mind from the AWD system could be the reason you choose it. I can understand that.

What do you get?

The 2024 Subaru Impreza range has three models available, and this 2.0S is the top-spec version.

Impreza 2.0L highlights:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Space-saver spare
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Automatic LED headlights
  • Power-folding exterior mirrors
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Black tricot cloth upholstery
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Paddle shifters
  • 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Wireless phone charger
  • 4.2-inch instrument cluster screen
  • 1 x 12V outlet
  • Front USB-A (x1) and USB-C (x1) charging ports
  • 6-speaker sound system

2.0R adds:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Steering-responsive headlights
  • Front cornering lights
  • Front LED fog lights
  • Heated exterior mirrors
  • ‘Premium’ cloth upholstery
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter
  • Aluminium pedals
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Heated front seats
  • 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support
  • Rear USB-A (x1) and USB-C (x1) charging ports

2.0S adds:

  • Power sunroof
  • Leather-accented upholstery
  • Satellite navigation
  • 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system

Is the Subaru Impreza safe?

There’s no ANCAP rating for the current-gen Impreza, however there is a long list of standard safety equipment and technology across the range.

Standard safety equipment includes:

  • Driver monitoring system
    • Facial recognition
    • Drowsiness warning
  • EyeSight Driver Assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Pedestrian detection
    • Cyclist detection
  • Autonomous emergency steering
  • Emergency lane-keep assist
  • Lane-centring
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Leading vehicle departure alert
  • Intelligent speed limiter
  • Speed sign recognition
  • Subaru Vision Assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • EyeSight Assist Monitor
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Reverse autonomous emergency braking
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Front side radar

2.0R and 2.0S adds:

  • Automatic high-beam
  • Surround-view camera with front and side views

The Impreza is a little car but it has a lot of airbags – nine airbags in fact, comprising dual front, dual front side, curtains, driver’s knee, far side, and front passenger seat cushion airbags.

How much does the Subaru Impreza cost to run?

Like most other brands, Subaru backs the Impreza with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

The Japanese brand also offers five years/75,000 kilometres of capped-price servicing, with intervals of 12 months or 15,000km.

That’s good, but the costs are relatively high. The first five services are capped at $346.25, $473.47, $420.60, $771.74 and $361.13 respectively.

That means an average annual service is close to $475, or nearly twice the amount it costs to maintain a Toyota Corolla… You also get one year of roadside assistance included.

CarExpert’s Take on the Subaru Impreza

I think the Subaru Impreza still has a part to play in Australia’s shrinking small-car segment but it’s certainly not as compelling as it could be.

But if you want a brand-new hatchback, and you need all-wheel drive, this is basically the only choice you’ve got. At least in 2.0S spec it has a few bells and whistles.

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Buy a Subaru Impreza
MORE: Everything Subaru Impreza

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