2018 Subaru Impreza

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MSRP: $18,495 - 24,695

2018 Subaru Impreza Review

The 2018 Subaru Impreza ranks in the lower half of the extremely competitive compact car class. The Impreza is spacious and practical, but it has a low predicted reliability rating and doesn’t stand out when it comes to performance.

8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.4
Safety: 10.0
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Good fuel economy
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Spacious seats
  • Good crash test ratings
  • Uninspiring engine
  • Middling cabin quality
  • Low predicted reliability rating

Is the Subaru Impreza a Good Car?

Despite its low ranking, the Subaru Impreza is still a decent car. It comes in either sedan or hatchback body styles, which both have two rows of spacious seats. Cargo room is good in the hatchback but slightly below average in the sedan. The Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive and an easy-to-use infotainment system. Most other compact cars don’t even offer all-wheel drive. Good fuel economy is the pinnacle of the Impreza’s performance, but power from its lone engine choice is on the meager side. It’s fine for daily driving, but it’s undeniably sluggish.

Should I Buy the Subaru Impreza?

The Impreza is a no-nonsense daily driver, but that comes at the expense of personality. It’s hard to recommend this Subaru when many comparably priced (and overall better) compact cars deliver more value. The Honda Civic and the Mazda3 are two highly ranked competitors that have starting prices within a few hundred dollars of the Impreza. Like the Subaru, they offer multiple body styles, but the Civic and Mazda3 both have richer interiors and class-leading performance.

Compare the Impreza, Civic, and Mazda3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru Impreza?

After a full redesign for the 2017 model year, the Impreza carries over unchanged for 2018. Therefore, you may want to shop for a nearly identical used 2017 Impreza for the chance to save some money. It's possible to save even more by shopping in the previous generation, but you won't get the benefits of the full redesign. A few of these changes include exterior and interior styling updates, improved interior materials, a wider trunk opening, a 4-horsepower bump in engine output, and a revamped infotainment system with a larger touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

Read our review of the 2017 Subaru Impreza for more information. You can also check out our review of the previous-generation 2016 Subaru Impreza. If you decide an older model is right for you, visit our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Subaru Impreza »

We Did the Research for You: 22 Reviews Analyzed

We do car research so you don’t have to. We base our car reviews on a combination of professional test driver opinions and data like reliability ratings and crash test results. This 2018 Subaru Impreza review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has more than 75 years’ worth of combined experience in the automotive industry, and our team has been ranking vehicles since 2007. To maintain our objectivity, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Subaru Impreza Cost?

A new Subaru Impreza has a retail price that’s about average for the class, at $18,495. However, many of the vehicles that cost less than the Impreza are only slightly less expensive, while many of the more expensive cars cost a few thousand more.

There are several higher trim levels, but even the range-topping model – the Limited – has a starting price of only about $24,000. That’s less expensive than many rivals’ top trims, and it's even less than some competitors’ base models.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru Impreza Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Subaru Impreza or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic is a perennial challenger for the top spot in our compact car class rankings. This Honda is more fun to drive than the Subaru, and it gets better gas mileage. The only downside to the Civic’s performance is that it doesn’t offer all-wheel drive, which is standard in the Subaru. Both models are available as a sedan and hatchback, but the Civic also offers a coupe body style. With a more upscale interior, the Civic is likely a better choice for most buyers.

Which Is Better: Subaru Impreza or Mazda3?

Overall, the Mazda3 is a better small car than the Impreza. Like most of the brand’s other models, the Mazda3 is arguably the most athletic entry in its class. It has dynamic handling and two capable engine choices. The Mazda3 also has a nicer interior than the Impreza and an easier-to-use infotainment system. That’s all for a starting price that’s a couple hundred dollars lower than the Subaru. Like the Impreza, you can get a Mazda3 as either a sedan or hatchback. The Mazda is the clear winner here.

Compare the Impreza, Civic, and Mazda3 »

Impreza Interior

How Many People Does the Impreza Seat?

While some rivals have cramped interiors, the five-seat Impreza has plenty of head- and legroom for adults in both rows. Drivers will appreciate the excellent visibility and the ability to easily find a suitable driving position.

Impreza and Car Seats

The Impreza has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. Both the upper tether and lower anchors are easy to find and identify.

Impreza Interior Quality

This Subaru has an attractive interior, but it doesn’t feel as upscale as some rivals do. While there are high-quality materials, you’ll also find some hard plastics if you look around.

Impreza Cargo Space

The Impreza sedan’s trunk has just over 12 cubic feet of space, which is enough room for a few sets of golf clubs. The hatchback has much more room – nearly 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats (enough room for weekend luggage) and more than 55 cubic feet with them folded (enough space for some small furniture).

Impreza Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Impreza include the StarLink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch-screen, Bluetooth audio streaming, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Available features include a moonroof, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

The infotainment system is user-friendly, and the touch screen is responsive. The screen also has crisp graphics and easy-to-see icons. There are physical controls for some audio and climate functions, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard (they’re optional in some competitors).

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Impreza Performance

Impreza Engine: Snore

All Impreza models feature a 152-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Unfortunately, this flat-four engine doesn’t move the car with any conviction, whether you’re in the sedan or the wagonlike hatchback. It’s fine for driving around town, but the acceleration is slow, and most competitors are more energetic or have turbocharged engine options.

Impreza Gas Mileage: Impreza Impresses

The Impreza gets better gas mileage than many class rivals, earning 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. That’s especially good for an all-wheel-drive car (AWD vehicles generally get worse gas mileage). Each year, you’ll spend about as much on gas in an Impreza as you would if you drove a Mazda3 or a Honda Civic.

Impreza Ride and Handling: The Rare AWD Compact Car

This Subaru comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is unavailable in nearly every other compact car. The Impreza handles well and has outstanding road grip in good and bad weather. The ride is generally smooth.

Read more about performance »

Impreza Reliability

Is the Subaru Impreza Reliable?

The 2018 Subaru Impreza earns a predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power. Many compact cars have better ratings.

Subaru Impreza Warranty

Subaru backs the Impreza with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Most compact cars have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

Impreza Safety

Impreza Crash Test Results

The 2018 Subaru Impreza earned a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+, its highest distinction.

Impreza Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the Impreza. Available active safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and Subaru’s EyeSight safety system, which includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

Read more about safety »

Which Subaru Impreza Model Is Right for Me?

The Subaru Impreza comes in four trims and two body styles (sedan and a wagonlike hatchback). All trims feature a four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. Add $500 to the price for five-door hatchback models.

There isn’t much of a price difference between trims, so you should step up to the higher ones, which provide many more features. The top-of-the-line Impreza Limited is the only one to offer navigation, but the Sport trim offers most every other feature you can get in the Impreza, making it a great choice if you can live without a nav system (or just use an app on your phone).

Subaru Impreza 2.0i

The base model is simply known as the Impreza (or Impreza 2.0i to be precise), and it has a starting price of $18,495. It comes standard with a manual transmission, a rearview camera, and the StarLink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch-screen, Bluetooth audio streaming, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. You can add a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for $1,000.

Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium

The Impreza Premium starts at $21,295. In addition to the base trim’s features, the Premium comes with a CVT, heated front seats, and a six-speaker audio system. You can add a moonroof for $1,000. A $1,395 option package adds Subaru’s EyeSight system, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport

The Subaru Impreza Sport has a starting price of $22,095. The Sport comes with a five-speed manual transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, and an upgraded StarLink system with an 8-inch touch screen, HD Radio, satellite radio, and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

You can add a CVT for $800, and an option package that includes a moonroof, a Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert for $2,150.

Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited

The Impreza Limited starts at $24,195. The Limited features a CVT, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather upholstery, and automatic climate control. Two option packages are available.

The first costs $2,495 and adds a moonroof, EyeSight, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The second package costs $3,845 and adds all the features of the first package plus a Harman Kardon audio system and an upgraded StarLink system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2018 Subaru Impreza specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Subaru Impreza is an all-wheel-drive car that comes in sedan and hatchback body styles. It hits a lot of notes that people want from a family car: It provides a spacious cargo hold, good gas mileage, and user-friendly in-vehicle technology. However, there are some drawbacks with this Subaru (the lackluster engine tops the list), and several cars in the class are just all-around better vehicles.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Yet everything about the Impreza is better than ever before. It's stiffer than its predecessors, with a more refined suspension and sharper steering, enough that even mid-level models are still fun to drive. The Impreza offers up good interior space as well, with a rear seat that can accommodate adults at last. With cutting edge EyeSight driver assist, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Impreza is a competitive all-wheel-drive alternative to the Mazda3, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and many others." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2017 Subaru Impreza is an excellent car in search of a bigger engine. For those who simply want practicality and all-weather capability without making the jump to a crossover or SUV, it's darn-near perfect." -- Left Lane News (2017)
  • "While Impreza's primary attraction has long been its available all-wheel drive, that's no longer the only reason to buy one. Overall, it's at least class-competitive in space, fuel economy, and driving dynamics, but stands out for its great visibility, sensible control layout, and full range of safety and convenience features. So if Impreza hasn't previously been on your compact-car shopping list, it really should be now -- even if you feel you don't really need the traction advantages of all-wheel drive." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
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