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2013 Subaru Impreza Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Subaru Impreza was new.


Performance: 8.1

The 2013 Subaru Impreza pleases reviewers with its confident handling, good fuel economy and standard all-wheel drive. However, some test drivers say that the base Impreza could use more power in certain situations.

  • "The overall driving experience is very confidence inspiring, if not overtly sporting." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Impreza's big draw remains its standard all-wheel drive, which has kept the Subaru in good graces with drivers living among a full range of wet and slippery seasons." -- Edmunds 
  • "Drivers who live in locales where it snows love these cars for their surefootedness." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "I believe the greatest obstacle facing Impreza shoppers is the car's power. The new, smaller engine is less powerful than the previous generation's power plant." -- Cars.com (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Subaru Impreza comes with all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters is optional. The EPA reports that the Impreza sedan and wagon get 27/36 mpg city/highway with the CVT, while models with the manual transmission earn slightly lower estimates.

Impreza WRX and WRX STI models come with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. The WRX’s engine generates 265 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 244 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm and is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. WRX STI models have a six-speed manual transmission and a more-powerful engine that produces 305 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 290 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.

While reviewers agree that WRX and WRX STI models deliver phenomenal acceleration, opinions vary when it comes to the base Impreza’s power. Most test drivers say that the Impreza delivers good fuel economy and accelerates adequately, though some critics say they would like more power for highway merging or steep hills. Additionally, one reviewer writes that the 2013 Impreza is slower than most affordable small cars.

  • "With the CVT, Impreza feels eager from a stop, especially around town. Highway merging is a bit more leisurely, but no more so than in most other compacts." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The four-cylinder returns excellent fuel economy for a car with all-wheel drive, but acceleration suffers; this is one of the slower cars in its class." -- Edmunds
  • "The high-performance 4-cylinder engines in the Impreza WRX and STI models create much more power than the engine in other Impreza models. The result is blistering acceleration and passing power." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "No, the Impreza isn't a slug off the line, but there were times on uphill climbs where we really would have appreciated some extra grunt down low." -- Autoblog (2012)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers appreciate the 2013 Impreza’s composed ride and sure-footed all-wheel drive system, which make the Impreza more adept than most small cars in adverse weather. The Impreza also earns praise for its nicely weighted steering and good brake pedal feel. Most reviewers are also pleased by the Impreza’s agile handling, though one test driver says that his test car exhibited more body roll than he would have liked.

  • "Impreza handles well with well-checked body lean in corners and nicely weighted steering." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2013 Subaru Impreza 2.0i offers secure handling, firm steering and braking, and a compliant ride that feels substantial even over substandard pavement." -- Edmunds
  • "Subaru's calling card has long been the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system that is standard in almost all its cars. The system puts power to wheels according to need and greatly helps the car maintain control on varying road surfaces." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Even without the opportunity to slide about, the nose felt heavy, and the body roll made me feel like I was pushing a car to do something for which it wasn't intended." -- Cars.com (2012)

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