By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
The Subaru Impreza is a uniquely reliable and capable compact car. It's one of the most affordable all-wheel-drive vehicles available, delivering added confidence in dicey road conditions, and features an interior that outclasses many of its competitors'. Priced only marginally more than similarly equipped models from Toyota, Mazda, Ford, VW and Honda, the Impreza's standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system for which Subaru is renowned is certainly a plus in snow-bound climates and gives the affordable Impreza a leg up on its front-wheel-drive competitors.
The 2011 Impreza is a great choice for those looking for a reliable and capable compact car. The all-wheel-drive drivetrain provides secure handling in nearly all road and weather conditions, potentially a must-have for those living in less temperate climates.
If price and fuel economy trounce all-wheel-drive stability and control, you'll probably want to look at the Honda Civic, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Versa or Volkswagen Golf TDI. Like the Impreza, the Suzuki SX4 also offers all-wheel drive plus a lot more features for less money.
The Impreza Outback Sport SE gains a new navigation system featuring a removable TomTom GPS unit. All models except the base car get a new radio that includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, iPod integration, a USB port and satellite radio capability. The turbocharged 2.5 GT model has been discontinued.
Driving Impressions The 2011 Impreza's 2.5-liter engine is a bit rough around the edges and doesn't do the fairly heavy Impreza any favors when it comes to rapid acceleration. It does, however,...manage to deliver fairly good fuel economy and good low-end torque. The Impreza's suspension is bit on the soft side, and offers none of the precision and feedback found in much of the competition, including the faithful and simple Honda Civic or the sporty MAZDA3. The steering is a touch too light for back-road blasts, limiting communication with the pavement, although the car remains stable and composed under nearly all day-to-day driving conditions. Inside, the dash layout is logical, and all buttons and knobs are well placed for quick reference. The seats are comfortable but lack the side support we'd like for fast curves.
For many, all-wheel drive is a must to make it through the wet seasons, snowy winters or just loose rural terrain. Even on dry pavement, this feature offers additional grip around curves and an added sense of security.
Now available in all but the base Impreza, this system features a cool TomTom removable GPS unit that you can pop out and take with you.
Subaru has definitely stepped things up in terms of interior quality. Most materials are high grade to the touch, and the dash layout is simple, logical and borderline stylish. Gone are the gaudy colors and cheap plastic trim, and available features such as the TomTom navigation system with removable GPS unit (standard on Outback Sport Special Edition), Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and a power sunroof make this entry level car feel decidedly upscale. A long list of dealer-installed accessories include a powered subwoofer, sliding center armrest, various cargo organizers and nets and a short shift kit for manual transmission models.
Where the first generation Impreza had a quirky but lovable look, the newest version seems a bit cliche. With more than a passing resemblance to the first generation Mazda MAZDA3, the 2011 Impreza 2.5i wagon is now dangerously close to lacking identity. The Outback Sport trim spices things up considerably, with larger wheels, two-tone paint and more body cladding to banish the bland. On the plus side, the Impreza's all-wheel drive offers year-round security and many trims offer such useful winter necessities as heated side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer. However, unlike the Forester and Outback, the Impreza Outback Sport does not ride much higher than the standard Impreza, limiting its ability to go off-road or through deep snow.
The laundry list of standard equipment for this car is, for the most part, par for the course in 2011 vehicles. Of note is standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a feature not found in most of the competition, even optionally. Other standard features include an AM/FM/ stereo with single CD, cruise control and remote keyless entry. The 2.5i Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, AM/FM stereo with single CD, six speakers, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and USB and 3.5mm auxiliary audio input jacks, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The Outback Sport SE adds 17-inch wheels, heated seats, navigation, roof racks, two-tone paint and power moonroof. All Imprezas include front side- and front and rear side-impact airbags, Incline Start Assist (manual transmission), traction and stability control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.
The 2.5i Premium offers the Special Edition Package that adds a power moonroof, fog lamps and the All Weather Package featuring heated seats, side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer. Premium models can be outfitted with Subaru's navigation unit and a rear backup camera. Most options are bundled into dealer installed accessories and include items such as a stereo upgrade (tweeters and a powered subwoofer), additional cup holders, remote start, all-weather floor mats an iPod tray and various cargo and roof rack attachments.
Subaru's Impreza has featured a segment defying flat-4 engine since its inception. While still a four-cylinder, the engine gets ample power and substantial torque from its larger-than-average 2.5-liter displacement. Now equipped with electronic throttle control and i-Active, Subaru's version of variable valve timing, the Impreza engine has done a decent job staying current. The power is sent to all four wheels via Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, which limits the power being sent to wheels with little or no traction and redirects it to those that need it the most.
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 pound-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 (automatic), 20/27 (manual)
By Rally4fun (NY) on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun daily driver"
Cons: "Rocket panels need better design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"On the overall the car was good. Unfortunately, I didn't read the review on the 2009 WRX until after I bought it. I found out this particular year and model had engine quirks that were not quite worked out. Said possible engine failure could happen. I ended up having two engine failures within 2 years! But Subaru did the right thing and replaced it without too much hassle."
By Stephen (CA) on Monday, May 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car for the price. Fun to drive"
Cons: "Doesn't shift as smooth as an STI"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Value: Like every other review, professional or by owners, you get the most bang for your buck with this car. This car is just awesome. Reliablilty: Car is 100% made and assembled in Japan. This car has a great track record (in regards to quality). You abuse it, expect a shorter life span. This car is meant to last and will last as long as you take care of it. Quality: Nice leather seats and the steering wheel is solid. Clean lines and the car has a nice flow to it. Driving Dynamics and Comfort: I NEVER GET TIRED OF DRIVING THIS CAR!!! Very comfortable I've taken the car on 2 hour trips and through windy roads and it handles great and still is comfortable to be in. The car handles great and the power is good. There are so many mods out there you can tune this car to your own liking so I say have at it. Just be responsible and smart about the mods. Do your research and tune the car right. Why I bought my car. The reason why I purchased this car is because my family has turned into subaru fans. It started when my brother bought an 07 STI then 2011 outback for my sister inlaw. I purchased the 2011 wrx limited brand new. I couldn't help but tweak the car a little bit to meet my WANTS. I upgraded the clutch to a Stage 1 Exedy and flywheel, along with Cobb Accessport and SF intake. Now my car is tuned to my liking. The car handles great and the power output is excellent. I like the leather seats compliment the car really well and is very comfortable. I do not use the seat warmers I live in california, no need for it really. I get a lot of compliments so I'm going to say the car stands out and of course, the friendly waves from fellow subaru owners. To this day we all still have our cars inluding the sti. They all run great and have no issues with the cars."
By Dave (NH) on Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very dependable"
Cons: "Hard to get in and out of vehicle"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded in my new 2011 Honda CRV for this 2008 Subaru Impreza sedan. I did not need a new vehicle with high payments. I lowered my payments $170.00 per month and took $7000.00 off of term of loan. I get 26 mpg in winter and 29 mpg in summer. Have had Subaru for 7 months now with no problems. Great in snow just like CRV was. A little harder to get in and out of vehicle than CRV. I have undercoated Subaru with Fluid film to protect from New England winters.I feel very safe in this Subaru and would buy again."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Da BULL (MO) on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,880overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, Tuff, and Economical"
Cons: "Not enough Dealerships in the Rural areas."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought this car brand New. NEVER had a squeek, beltch, or burp out of it! Handles like a sports car on any road surface, wet, snow, ice, dry, or dirt. I've driven and owned a lot of cars in my 66 years old, and this one tops them all! Maybe because its ALL WHEEL DRIVE and a Quality Subaru vehicle?"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Chuckmiv (CA) on Monday, April 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great in any weather. Fun. Sunroof, Hot Seats"
Cons: "Poor MPG for size. Uncomfortable seats."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I like the sound system. It's fun to drive in the mountains. If you take care of regular maintenance I'm sure it would be great, & I have never missed an oil change, but some other thing slipped. However, despite my lack of care the car have given me few mechanical problems. Also If you have halfway decent tires you'll never loose control. I think the car is uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. I don't like the mpg (avg. 24-25 city/hwy, but on open highways like from LA to Vegas you can get 28 mpg). At the end of the day. If you're looking for a fun, rugged car & you don't live in a city. this car is for you. As for me my next car will be electric."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Leclerc (NY) on Tuesday, March 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Exhilarating to drive."
Cons: "Fuel economy, radio, cheap interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Blast to drive, expected Subaru reliability. Extremely dissapointed in interior fit and finish. Too many rattles when cold and even worse is this god awful stock radio...I have had better sound coming from and old transitor. Come on Subaru, put a few extra bucks into a "decent" stock radio...Toyota does, even Honda."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful