If you are looking for a traditional compact car with stable traction provided by all-wheel drive, you will end up with the 2018 Subaru Impreza. This is the only car in its class that offers it. But you don’t need to live in the snow or a lot of rain to pick the Impreza. Redesigned last year, the current generation build quality and tech interface are much better than its predecessor. Compared to other models in this class, the 2018 Subaru Impreza stands out thanks to its exceptional handling, hatchback body style options, spacious cabin and many advanced safety features available.
But drawback in some major point may discourage buyers. The 2018 Subaru Impreza biggest weakness is the uninspired powertrain. Although 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque look good on paper, in fact the Impreza is one of the slowest cars in its class. This is also not helped by it continuously variable automatic transmission. It does not react quickly to driver inputs, and when it does finally rev the engine high enough for a speed burst, there is not enough power to accumulate meaningful acceleration. Continuing to push the gas pedal just to follow traffic means the Impreza is also having trouble meeting its real-world fuel economy expectations.
If you can ignore the 2018 Subaru Impreza engine and transmission deficiencies, you will find this small car is capable with plenty of space, a comfortable ride and excellent an all-wheel-drive system.
The Premium, Sport and Limited models now come standard with automatic wipers. Overall, the 2018 Subaru Impreza is unchanged.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Subaru Impreza is a four-door compact car available in sedan or hatchback body style. It’s offered in four trim levels: base 2.0i, Premium, Sport and Limited.
Standard equipment for the base 2.0i includes remote locking and unlocking, 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, a driver information display, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth, a four-speaker audio system with a USB port.
The Premium trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, a windshield wiper de-icer, a sound-reducing windshield, heated mirrors, heated front seats, Subaru Starlink services and a six-speaker audio system. The hatchback also gets roof rails and a cargo cover.
An optional package for the Premium includes cornering lights, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and Subaru EyeSight (adaptive cruise control, automatic reverse braking, forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning and mitigation). A power sunroof is a stand-alone option or bundled with this package.
The 2018 Subaru Impreza Sport adds 18-inch alloy wheels, unique suspension tuning, active torque vectoring for improved traction, a rear spoiler, daytime running lights, keyless entry and ignition, unique interior and exterior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen, a CD player, two USB ports and satellite radio.
Optional package for the Sport include a sunroof, blind-spot monitor and further adds an eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. This package can be added with or without EyeSight.
The Impreza Limited model combines the Premium features with the Sport tech equipment plus 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, automatic climate control system, a six-way power driver seat and leather upholstery.
Blind-spot monitoring, sunroof and EyeSight are bundled into a package; it can be ordered with or without the navigation and Harman Kardon system.
The 2018 Subaru Impreza is powered by a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed “boxer” four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque.
The base 2.0i and Sport trim come standard with a five-speed manual transmission paired with an all-wheel-drive system with a 50/50 default front/rear power distribution. Optional on those trims and standard on the Premium and Limited is a continuously variable automatic (CVT) with wheel-mounted paddle shifters mated to an all-wheel-drive system that apportions more power to the front wheels by default, but transfers power rearward when more traction is needed.
Despite from poor acceleration and a CVT that doesn’t always do as expected, the Impreza works very well. Handling is great, brakes are responsive and confidence-inspiring, and the steering is sporty and communicative. A solid performance for the most part. In track testing, the 2018 Subaru Impreza sedan with manual transmission accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, while a CVT hatchback made the same run in 9.1 seconds.
EPA estimated fuel economy with the manual transmission for both the sedan and hatchbacks is 27 mpg combined (24 city/32 highway). The CVT rated at 32 mpg combined (28 city/38 highway). These are competitive numbers for the class and remarkably high for an all-wheel-drive car.
Inside, the 2018 Subaru Impreza interior emphasizes ergonomic friendliness. Simple secondary controls and minimal blind spots create an intuitive and comfortable experience behind the wheel.
The Impreza interior space is also very competitive, and taller drivers will enjoy the spacious front leg space. While four people can sit comfortably on the Impreza, a large bulge in the middle of the back floor makes the fifth passenger squeezed in the compact car’s cabin proposition.
Cargo space is also generous, with 12 cubic feet in the sedan trunk and 21 cubes in the hatchback trunk. Folding the hatchback rear seatback down opens 52.4 cubic feet of space.
Release Dates and Price
The official price for the base 2.0i sedan starts at $19,355 (including $860 destination fee), while the hatchback is slightly more at $19,855. Starting at $22,155 for the 2.0i Premium sedan or $22,655 a five-door hatchback. The Sport is priced at $22,955 and the range-topping Limited models have a starting price of $25,055.