Subaru Impreza Performance

#12 in Compact Cars Performance Score: 7.8 / 10
2017 Subaru Impreza View More Photos »
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2017 Subaru Impreza Performance Overview

The 2017 Subaru Impreza isn't the sportiest model in the compact car class (nor is it the most boring), but it is among the only ones that come with all-wheel drive. The powertrain is adequate for daily driving, and it uses less gasoline than many rivals. The Impreza has a comfortable and composed ride.

  • "… 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
  • "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

Acceleration and Power

Powering the 2017 Impreza is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 152 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic, is optional.

Despite having all-wheel drive (which usually has a negative impact on fuel efficiency), the Impreza gets above-average fuel economy estimates for a compact car. Sedan models with the manual transmission get 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. With the automatic transmission (CVT), sedan models get 28 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. Hatchback models lose 1 mpg in highway driving. All-wheel-drive SUV competitors like the Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V burn more gas.

As long as you don't have a lead foot, you should be satisfied with the Impreza's powertrain. The engine isn't especially powerful, but it's adequate for driving around in traffic or cruising down the highway. Still, quick acceleration for overtaking or merging on the highway can be a bit sluggish. The optional automatic transmission doesn't always make the best use of the engine's power.

  • "There will be some who will say that the 2017 Subaru Impreza's 2.0i four-cylinder boxer engine, which now has direct injection and gets a 3 percent bump in horsepower to 152 and 145 lb-ft of torque, is underpowered. But this engine combined with this CVT seemed to be able to handle most situations we threw at it. It would have struggled trying to overtake cars uphill, which is a situation one doesn't really run into that often. But in everyday driving, one would never consider this car to be frustratingly slow like a Crosstrek or a Honda HR-V." -- Motor Trend
  • "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
  • "As with most small-engine/CVT transmission combinations, the car doesn't exactly bolt off the line in a full-throttle start, but it moves away well enough. Also, the transmission kicks down fairly quickly when the throttle is floored at speed, with acceptable acceleration once it does." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

All-wheel drive is only available in two models in the compact car class: the Impreza and its sibling, the Subaru WRX. Both models come with it as standard. You'll be glad to have all-wheel drive when inclement weather hits, but it's also good to have when the roads are dry. (All-wheel drive provides extra grip on the road in all situations, so even in favorable conditions, it helps keep you going in the direction you want.) The Impreza has controlled handling and a smooth ride, with few noticeably unpleasant vibrations from rough patches of pavement.

  • "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
  • "The Impreza's comfort and driving dynamics impress. Bumps are well-damped and it handles well, with reactive steering, a planted feel at highway speeds and flat cornering." -- Cars.com
  • "Driving the Impreza? 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
Review Last Updated: 2/10/17
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