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2016 Subaru Impreza Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Subaru Impreza was new.


Performance: 6.9

The 2016 Subaru Impreza may not be the sportiest car in the class, but it corners responsively, it has a smooth ride and its all-wheel drive system delivers excellent traction, according to critics. Reviewers complain that the Impreza’s engine can be noisy and feels underpowered on the highway.

  • "While it's compliant on the highway, the Impreza isn't all that exciting to drive when the roads turn curvy, and its sole engine choice has only adequate power for acceleration and passing. Zestier choices in this segment include the Mazda3, Civic Si and VW Golf." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although it's no sports car, the 2015 Impreza is a very livable daily driver." -- Autotrader (2015)
  • "Yes, we'd like some more power down low, and we're not in love with the CVT, but in terms of suspension refinement, the Subaru is top notch." -- Autoblog (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Subaru Impreza is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable transmission, a type of automatic, is available.

According to the EPA, the 2016 Impreza gets 28/37 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission, which is good for the class, especially when you consider that the Impreza has all-wheel drive. Sport models and models with the manual transmission get lower fuel economy.

Automotive journalists think the Impreza has sufficient power for city driving but feels underpowered on the highway. They add that, overall, the Impreza feels slow for the class. Reviewers also note that the Impreza's engine is noisy under full throttle.

  • "As we've mentioned, with just 148 horsepower, the Impreza isn't all that fleet." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2016 Subaru Impreza's four-cylinder engine provides adequate acceleration around town, but you'll need to plan ahead for highway passing maneuvers. Overall, the Impreza is one of the slower cars in the small sedan/hatchback class. Not helping matters is the CVT, which responds too eagerly to throttle inputs, increasing engine speed unnecessarily and amplifying the racket under the hood." -- Edmunds
  • "Once you get up to speeds over 40 miles per hour, however, there isn't a lot of reserve power for passing slower traffic. There's also a rather harsh sound at full throttle, but that's pretty standard with most CVT transmissions." -- Autotrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the 2016 Subaru Impreza feels responsive around corners. They also appreciate its accurate steering, strong brakes and smooth ride. The Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive that critics report provides good grip, even on slippery roads. Most affordable compact cars aren't available with all-wheel drive.

  • "Around turns, the Impreza won't immediately wow you with its catlike agility. But if you press on more aggressively, you'll find that it's actually blessed with secure handling, precise steering and confident braking, particularly with the 17-inch wheels and tires. Another nice quality is the smooth and compliant ride. Even driven over broken pavement, the Impreza feels well built and substantial." -- Edmunds
  • "The Impreza's all-wheel drive - a more advanced system when paired with the CVT - delivers excellent grip. Get two or three wheels over a patch of ice and the Impreza claws its way through with minimal wheel spin. Throw the car into a corner and it handles that well, too." -- Cars.com (2015)
  • "On the road, the Impreza is surprisingly responsive, with good feedback from its electric-assist power steering and a predictable, controlled feel when rounding sharp corners." -- Autotrader (2014)

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