$17,181 - $21,371

2018 Subaru Impreza Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Subaru Impreza was new.


Performance: 7.7

The 2018 Subaru Impreza will not turn heads with its athletic performance. There’s only one available engine, and it feels underpowered in most situations. Despite the excellent road grip afforded by the standard all-wheel drive, the Impreza is hardly a corner-carver, though handling is generally poised. Ride quality is fine most of the time, and fuel economy is good for the class.

  • "Aside from poor acceleration and a CVT automatic that doesn't always do as we'd expect, the Impreza performs very well." -- Edmunds
  • "… once you step on the gas and crank the steering wheel like you really mean it, you are reminded that this is no WRX." -- Autoweek (2017)
  • "With one glaring exception, the 2017 Subaru Impreza has benefited immensely from its rebirth. The chassis is stiffer, the steering is better, and the interior is larger than before. Like on most Subarus, standard all-wheel drive remains a key selling point. The only thing that's missing is more power." -- Autoblog (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Impreza comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 152 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard, depending on the trim. Some drivers may think the engine is fine for driving around town, but others will be disappointed. The acceleration is lethargic, and the power for quick highway passing and merging just isn’t there.

Though all-wheel-drive cars are usually less fuel-efficient than two-wheel-drive cars, the Impreza gets some of the best gas mileage among nonhybrid compact cars. It earns an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway in sedan models. Hatchbacks earn nearly identical ratings (28/37 mpg city/highway).

  • "There's no escaping it: The 2018 Subaru Impreza is lacking under the hood. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder puts out 152 horsepower, but it has more than 3,000 pounds of Subaru to lug around, and it never feels sporty. It's a shame, because the chassis feels like it could easily handle more power." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Impreza's most significant drawback is its lackluster powertrain. Though 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque look healthy on the spec sheet, we've found the Impreza is one of the slowest cars in its class. Matters aren't helped by the car's continuously variable automatic transmission. It isn't quick to react to driver inputs, and when it does finally rev the engine high enough for a speed burst, there's not enough power on tap to muster any meaningful acceleration. Constantly shoving the gas pedal just to keep up with traffic means the Impreza also has a hard time meeting its fuel economy estimates in the real world." -- Edmunds
  • "It's quick enough in traffic, but foot-to-the-floor acceleration (merging onto freeways and passing on 2-lane roads) isn't as urgent as we'd like." -- Autotrader (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive. It provides plenty of road grip and aids the Impreza’s poised handling. No other compact car even offers all-wheel drive, aside from some performance variants and the other Subaru in the class, the WRX (which also has standard AWD). The Impreza's ride is smooth, though some road imperfections transmit into the cabin.

  • "A relatively quiet and smooth ride makes the Impreza a breeze to drive on the highway." -- Edmunds
  • "We'd argue that the Impreza's best safety feature is all-wheel drive. Although it's often perceived as being most useful in snow and rain -- which, no question, it is -- all-wheel drive improves traction on dry pavement, too. Combined with standard electronic stability control, all-wheel drive makes the Impreza more likely than most cars to go in the direction you point it." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "As with the others in its class -- Mazda3, Ford Focus, et al -- it's their size and nimbleness that make them both useful and fun. Load them with stuff and take a vacation or just a trip down a winding road with a smile on your face. Steering response fits this small car image, while all-wheel drive means the Subie knows how to respond to nasty weather. It's sort of the state car of Vermont." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

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