The fifth-generation Impreza may not be as hip as its WRX and STI kin, but it's still a compelling value with quirky features not found in many new compacts. For the 2022 model year, it's available as a four-door sedan or five-door wagon and is Subaru's least expensive model.
Like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the Impreza has become a great all-around compact car. It provides a smooth ride with balanced handling, and while it doesn't have a terribly powerful engine, it offers enough grunt to handle most situations. It's comfortable and inviting, with generous room for adult passengers and plenty of cargo space, especially in the wagon. Plus, it gets good fuel economy.
Where the Impreza could use some help is in its set of aging standard features. We like that it still comes with an available manual transmission, but many of the car's other comfort and convenience features (or lack thereof) also seem like relics from another era. The absence of modern active safety features on the base model is disappointing in this age.
Every Impreza sedan and wagon comes with a 152-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four boxer engine. The base model Impreza is equipped with a standard five-speed manual transmission, which is something we rarely write anymore, and there's also an available CVT that's standard on Premium and Limited trims. As is the Subaru way, AWD is standard.
Even with a single engine and drivetrain, the 2022 Impreza has six different ratings from the EPA. The best fuel economy comes from non-Sport trim Imprezas with the CVT, which get a rating of 28/36 mpg city/highway. The worst is from the Impreza Sport wagon with the manual transmission, which is the heaviest model of the lineup and the one with the widest tires (i.e., the most rolling resistance). It's rated at 22/30 mpg.
Against a competitor like the 2021 Mazda 3 AWD, the Impreza has a notable advantage. The best the Mazda 3 can do is 25/33 mpg city/highway with its naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I-4 and six-speed automatic.
It's no WRX, but the Impreza Sport sure wants you to think it's athletic like the WRX. Concentrate not on the paddle shifters for the CVT transmission but instead on features like the Sport trim's torque vectoring drivetrain and tuned suspension featuring Stablex dampers. Instead of 16- or 17-inch wheels with narrow 205-width tires like most of the lineup, the Impreza Sport gets meatier 225-width tires for greater contact patches. And we'll forgive the CVT since the Impreza Sport gets an STI short-throw shifter for quicker shifts when it's outfitted with the five-speed manual. Aluminum pedals, racer-red stitching on the dash and center console, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter handle are also part of the trim level.
The NHTSA gave the 2021 Impreza sedan and wagon each five-star overall ratings, the administration's highest grade. For its part, the IIHS named the Impreza one of its 2021 Top Safety Picks. Neither agency has rated the 2022 Impreza yet, but scores should be similar to the 2021 model.
Active safety features don't become standard until the Premium trim level, but they're available as an option for the base model Impreza. Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology suite adds automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control to the Impreza Premium. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic monitoring, rear automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams are standard on the Limited trim and available for the Impreza Premium.
Interior space in the 2022 Impreza wagon compares favorably to the Mazda 3 hatchback. The pair are similar in exterior width, but the Impreza is about seven inches longer.
Cargo space (behind first/second rows):
2022 Impreza 5-door: 55.3/20.8 cubic feet
2021 Mazda 3 hatchback: 47.1/20.1 cubic feet
Legroom (first/second rows):
2022 Impreza 5-door: 43.1/36.5 inches
2021 Mazda 3 hatchback: 42.3/35.1 inches
You will want more than what the base model Impreza has to offer. It's barebones to say the least. Highlights include a 6.5-inch infotainment display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and keyless entry. There is an available EyeSight driver assist technology package that adds some active safety features and a color 4.2-inch LCD to the instrument cluster (which is standard on the Impreza Limited wagon), but that's only an option if you pony up for the base model's available CVT.
In Premium trim, the color 4.2-inch LCD instrument cluster screen and EyeSight active safety technology become standard, as do foglights and automatic headlights. The Impreza Premium is also equipped with heated front seats, automatic climate control, and two USB ports. The Impreza Sport gets an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, daytime running lights, and push-button start, which is available for the Impreza Premium.
The Impreza Limited wagon receives LED headlights and foglights in addition to a six-way power adjustable driver seat and more active safety features. A power moonroof and Harman Kardon eight-speaker sound system are also available for the Limited.
The 2022 Impreza is available with four trims this year: base, Premium, Sport, and Limited. We think the Limited trim is the best, as it combines most of the features we want—including the LED headlights, larger infotainment screen, six-way power adjustable driver seat, leather-trimmed interior—with the active safety tech we think everyone needs. The Impreza Limited earns bonus points for coming only as a wagon, and it's also available with a power moonroof. We expect the Impreza Limited to sticker around the mid-$27,000 range.
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