2024 Subaru Impreza RS
2024 Subaru Impreza RS in Pure Red

Consumer Guide Test Drive

2024 Subaru Impreza RS

Class: Compact Car

Color: Pure Red

Seating capacity: 5

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceB
Fit and FinishC
Fuel EconomyB
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyB
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs182-horsepower 2.5-liter
Engine Type4-cylinder
Transmission CVT
Drive WheelsAWD

Miles driven: 149

Observed fuel economy: 24.8 mpg

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 26/33/29 (mpg city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $27,885 (not including $1090 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: N/A

Price as tested: $28,975


Quick Hits

The great: Dollar value, fun to drive

The good: Roomy cabin, standard AWD

The not so good: Budget-grade cabin materials


Tom Appel:

Truth is, the Impreza has for years been wildly outsold by its mechanically similar showroom mate, the Crosstrek. The smallest of the maker’s two car offerings—every other Subaru is arguably a crossover—the Impreza was completely redesigned for 2024, and is down one body style and one trim level as a result.

2024 Subaru Impreza RS
2024 Subaru Impreza RS

For 2022 (2023 numbers are not yet posted) the Impreza was outsold by the Crosstrek by a nearly 5-to-1 ratio; that strong is the power of a lifted look, a roof rack, and some bodyside cladding. And in truth, the little Crosstrek’s sporty/rugged look is not only appealing, but completely in keeping with Subaru’s free-spirit branding.

To simplify things for 2024, the Impreza is now hatchback only; there is no longer a sedan variant. That leaves the midsize Legacy—which is massively outsold by its rugged-looking, mechanically similar brother the Outback—as Subaru’s only sedan. Note that the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are still offered in both sedan and hatchback configurations, while the Nissan Sentra is offered only as a sedan.

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2024 Subaru Impreza RS
2024 Subaru Impreza RS

Also rendered less complicated is the 2024 trim-level lineup, which has been reduced from four to three offerings. Gone are Premium and Limited trims. The returning Base (starting around $24,000), is joined by the new Sport ($26,000), and RS ($29,000). Subaru fans may recall the RS nameplate, which was last used on sporty Impreza models way back in 2005.

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2024 Subaru Impreza RS
2024 Subaru Impreza RS

Base and Sport versions of the Impreza are powered by a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The RS comes with a 182-horsepower 2.5-liter four. All 2024 Imprezas are equipped with a CVT-automatic transmission, the previously available 6-speed manual is among the things lost for 2024.

Like all U.S.-market Subarus, save for the BRZ sporty coupe, all Imprezas come with standard AWD. Unique to the Sport and RS is the brand’s SI-Drive system, which, per Subaru, “is an advanced engine management system with driver-selectable modes tailored to suit different conditions and different moods. SI-DRIVE® is the perfect solution for those who crave both sporty response and economic fuel consumption, taking vehicle performance to an all-new level.” So there.

Sport and RS models also feature larger front-brake rotors, and sportier suspension tuning, including the addition of a rear stabilizer bar. Also, Sport and RS models are distinguished by 18-inch allow wheels (designs unique to each model) versus 16-inch alloy wheels on the Base.

Consumer Guide recently spent a week behind the wheel the 2024 Subaru Impreza RS in Pure Red. Our test car was equipped with no extra-cost options and came to $28,975, including destination charge.

Because this is mostly a favorable review, we’d like to get our primary complaint out of the way first: The Impreza cabin, even in RS trim, is cheap looking relative to the competition, especially the Honda Civic. Now, that’s cheap by 2024 standards, which means the cabin is fine, it just trails most small cars in terms of materials quality. Also, the cabin design is a little odd. While the dash looks fine, and the controls all fall to hand logically, there’s just too much going on inside. The front door panels especially look confusingly overwrought, and cursed with an unappealing array intersecting lines and stampings, seemingly employed to mask the dearth of soft-touch materials common in other small U.S.-market offerings.

That said, the rest of the news here is pretty good. The cabin is roomy up front, with plenty of big-guy space, and a seating position that affords excellent outward visibility and encourages sporty driving. Rear-seat space is a little tight for larger adults, but no more so than other vehicles in the class.

Subaru’s “Starlink” digital interface touchscreen is both large and easy to read, and features clearly marked icons and a simple menu system.

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2024 Subaru Impreza RS
2024 Subaru Impreza RS

It’s on the road, however, that the Impreza RS shines, and if you have an appetite for sporty character, you’ll appreciate the way this car feels underway. Starting with the engine, which—though no powerhouse—delivers plenty of power from a stop, and sounds just snarky enough spice of the visceral driving experience. And, while we’re not generally fans of CVT automatic transmissions, the Impreza’s shifter does a fine job of keeping the car’s 4-cylinder engine in its useful powerband.

What driving enthusiasts will appreciate most about the Impreza is its thoughtfully tuned suspension and excellent steering feel. The RS is fun to drive even in slower traffic, and rewards fast blasts up and down highway access ramps and around Interstate cloverleafs. Firm-feeling, responsive brakes add to the car’s athletic character. Ride quality too, is impressive. The RS is comfortable even over rough road surfaces, and has a sophisticated, European-sedan feel on the highway, though cabin- and road noise at highway speed are somewhat elevated relative to other cars in the class.

In routine driving that slightly favored urban commuting, we averaged 24.8 mpg, which seems reasonable given that the Impreza RS does invite aggressive throttle use. Also worth noting, the Impreza boasts a surprisingly large 16.6-gallon fuel tank. This compares to the 12.4- and 13.2-gallon tanks found on the Civic and Corolla respectively, and should allow the Impreza RS to cruise more than 500 miles between fuel stops on extended road trips.

The most striking feature of the Impreza RS, however, is its bargain price. For less than $30,000, and for a third less than the transaction price of an average new vehicle, lucky consumers can have a roomy, comfortable, sporty, and relative fuel-efficient car that comes with excellent standard AWD.

Yes, the Honda Civic is more refined and boasts a slicker, more upscale cabin, and Corolla more fuel efficient, and retains its legendary reputation for reliability, but the Impreza is more fun to drive, a bargain at every trim level, and isn’t seen on every street corner. While we’d never try and talk someone out of purchasing the Honda or Toyota, we’d totally support anyone’s slightly adventurous decision to go with the Impreza instead. And no, it’s not a Crosstrek, it’s actually a better value.

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2024 Subaru Impreza RS
2024 Subaru Impreza RS

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