By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
The 2013 Subaru Impreza is a versatile and fuel-efficient line of compact sedans and hatchbacks that have standard all-wheel drive for superior traction and starting prices under $20,000. The Impreza lineup could be called bi-polar. Regular models earn high marks for fuel economy that reaches up to 36 mpg on the highway, while the performance-oriented WRX and WRX STI stand out for their powerful engines and competition successes. Whether you want to save fuel or burn rubber, the 2013 Impreza lineup offers impressive bang for the buck, though you can find even higher value and/or fuel efficiency in front-wheel-drive-only compacts such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte.
The Impreza is a good choice for those seeking practicality, reliability, good fuel economy and the all-weather traction benefits of all-wheel drive. Those seeking a bargain performance car can find it in the WRX or the even more potent - but pricier - WRX STI.
If all-wheel-drive isn't a big factor in your buying decision, there are other compact sedans and hatchbacks that offer more features for less money. Also, the Impreza's simple interior borders on plain, and the WRX STI's ride is more than just firm and will be downright uncomfortable for some.
After a revamp for 2012 the Subaru Impreza receives only minor changes for 2013. Base 2.0i models have an upgraded audio unit with Bluetooth, and Premium, Limited and Sport Limited models with navigation receive a rear-view camera. WRX and STI models are unchanged except for a new color choice.
Driving Impressions Subaru's calling card has long been the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system that is standard in almost all its cars. The system puts power to wheels according to need and greatly helps...the car maintain control on varying road surfaces. Drivers who live in locales where it snows love these cars for their surefootedness. The new engine and continuously-variable transmission (CVT) introduced for 2012 models carry over for 2013 Imprezas. The CVT improves fuel economy commendably, but makes acceleration feel a bit leisurely. WRX and STI models retain their turbocharged engines and are available only with manual transmissions. The WRX is fast; the STI is even faster and has additional settings to adjust the center differential for optimum power distribution to the wheels. The STI's extra dose of power and handling come at the expense of ride comfort, and you might want to get a good chiropractor if you plan to travel long distances in it. The WRX better blends performance and ride comfort, though its shifter feels a bit rubbery.
High fuel economy and all-wheel drive rarely go hand in hand, but the Subaru Impreza offers both. Models with CVT automatic transmissions are rated at up to 36 mpg on the highway.
The high-performance 4-cylinder engines in the Impreza WRX and STI models create much more power than the engine in other Impreza models. The result is blistering acceleration and passing power.
Simple and easy-to-use would be the best way of describing the Impreza's interior. Plain may be another. Everything here is functional, and most operations are easy to accomplish, except for the buttons for heating the front seats on models so equipped - they are awkwardly located below the driver's-side armrest. Impreza models can be made more cozy with leather-trimmed upholstery. Passenger room is good for four adults and cargo space is especially generous in 5-door hatchback models, which can swallow more than 52 cubic feet of stuff with the rear seats folded.
The new sheetmetal that arrived with last year's revamp could be called "polite," with not many attributes to ruffle feathers. Among the most prominent features are the "hawk eye" headlights and prominent wheel arches. The 5-door hatchback versions are graced with a gently sloping roof and available cargo racks. WRX and STI models retain the previous generation's body styles and further stand out with aggressive features, including a hood-mounted air intake, deep side sills, trunk-mounted wings on sedans and four exhaust pipes.
Three major trim levels are available on the 2013 Subaru Impreza: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Limited. Base models are equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, power windows and doors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry and 4-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary and USB inputs and Bluetooth audio streaming. Higher-trim models include the automatic transmission, leather seating, larger wheels, heated front seats, automatic climate control and a 6-speaker audio system with HD Radio for receiving digital broadcasts. Two well-equipped wagon-only versions, the 2.0i Sport Premium and Sport Limited, have 17-inch wheels and fog lights. WRX and STI models have more powerful engines and stiffer suspensions, and the WRX STI has Brembo high-performance brakes.
Options for the Impreza include a CVT automatic transmission on models not already so equipped, power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system with 6.1-inch touch screen, cold-weather package with de-icer and heated seats. Other cold-environment accessories include a battery warmer and engine-block heater. WRX and STI performance models can be upgraded with satellite radio, short-throw shifter and turbo-boost gauge.
All 2013 Subaru Impreza models except the WRX and STI use a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine connected to a 5-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. The CVT in all but base models has paddle shifters for manual shifting. At 148 horsepower, the engine is adequate to get the car up to speed, but not in a great hurry. WRX and STI models use a larger, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that has been turbocharged to make 265 or 305 horsepower, respectively; these are fast cars. The WRX has a 5-speed manual transmission and the STI a 6-speed manual. The Subaru engines are of a type known as "boxer," in which the cylinders are arranged horizontally and opposed to each other, with the pistons moving somewhat as a boxer punching. These engines have a low center of gravity, which enhances handling, and are also known for ruggedness, durability and performance. Impreza models with the 2.0-liter engine can run on regular unleaded, while WRX and STI models require premium unleaded of 91-octane or higher.
148 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (sedan, manual), 25/33 (wagon, manual), 27/36 mpg (automatic)
2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4
265 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
244 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg
2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4
305 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
290 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
By timmonsarah on Saturday, March 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety,exterior,reliability, gas mileage 4 AWD"
Cons: "CVT & interior quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"My 3rd Subaru (: Currently have a(hatchback)Sport Limited w/ GREAT sound system (maybe due to it being a Limited), handling remains awesome, & space is decent for size. Noticed a decent # of people don't realize what AWD equals: LESS gas mileage. Gas mileage is actually REALLY GOOD for being AWD & of it's collision quality standards. For snow & rain: AWD handles better than any other. Live in WA, so AWD is more important than a minute MPG difference for it's class size. Also, Subaru is 1 of the safest cars (if not safest!) when compared to others same size; research it's side impact test results/scores (: **Subarus hold their resale value well for a reason** BUT, I HOPE SUBARU GETS RID OF OR PERFECTS THEIR CVT concept; think it messes up the transmission. I am noticing a "whine" & TERRIBLE auto shifting when I use it..Have driven many manuals over 20 years & am now afraid to use this car's CVT system. ADVICE TO CORPORATE: PLEASE BRING BACK THE TRUE MANUALS & PLEASE ALSO REFOCUS ON INTERIOR QUALITY!! Otherwise, I won't have a 4th Subaru.. ):"
By not a subaru fan on Friday, March 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "cons??? everything... this car is terrible"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned a total of 17 cars in my life and the 2014 Subaru hatchback impreza was the only Subaru that I have owned. I never thought twice because their reputation is solid. However this is the biggest hunk of junk I have ever seen. To start... in 3 months I have had 4 flat tires... two at once! I went over the smallest of potholes and you get an immediate flat. I am by no means a fast driver either. When I went to a tire place I was told these types of tires do that. There is nothing to them and they blow out at the smallest bump... 340.00 per tire later... The car also has such a delay in shifting. This is not ok for a brand new 26,000 car! I brought it to my dealership twice thinking its a bad transmission and I have been told both times its the car design, not the transmission... um okay... also if you drive it in snow... which living in Mass is why I bought it... well you can't. Snow builds up in the tire rimes and after 30 MPH the car shakes so bad its scary to drive. I brought my car to the dealership and was again told its the design there's nothing wrong with the car... um actually there's a lot wrong with this car! the jack for the ipod in tucked deep in the arm rest in between the two front seats. Yeah who ever thought of that was a genius. you literally have to pull over to plug in your ipod. really poor gas mileage. I average about 25 miles per gallon... when I bought the car I was told 35. This is the worst car I have ever owned. oh and not to mention... the car is 13 months old and its worth only half what I paid for it... so much for Subaru's keeping their value... stay away from this car... go with a Mazda 3... cheaper and a much better car. I miss mine..."
By Manzano sub on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"this car is amazing am sad because I have to get rid of it but yeah great, gas milage, is fast, responsive in general Subaru is an amazing car."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By gus on Saturday, March 21, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: bad gas mileage; gas smell in car; car died while going down road 35 mph; exhaust stunk
Pros: "Looks. Holds road with good tires."
Cons: "cvt transmission Issues. mpg. low quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"The interior quality is low. Polyester material snags easily, & cheap vinyl. The tires that came on it were the worst! I slid on leaves. I was afraid to drive my new subaru on winter roads until i bought better tires. Couldnt leave car running as the exhaust was aweful! The cvt transmission was troublesome. It was a nice looking car but i needed something with better gas mileage and bigger- i got both! The idiot light wasnt recording the issues i was having so the subaru mechanics couldnt check the potential problems under warranty,"
By Erik on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "All wheel drive, roomy, great handling."
Cons: "Could use more power when heavily loaded."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The Impreza rarely ranks as absolute best in any one category, but it ranks very high in all categories. Because of this, it's the kind of car I like to own. The Impreza is a great car at the $20k price point. It has the stability of a larger car, true rear-seat legroom, and in my opinion, the hatchback looks sharp. Seats are very comfortable, and the interior is simple with class, and not flashy. The all wheel drive has excellent grip in most conditions, and visibility from the driver's seat is great. The small but efficient engine serves the Impreza well, especially carrying one or two people, as most cars are used, and gives good fuel economy. Acceleration is a little slow when carrying a fully loaded car of 4-5 people, but that's not what this car was made for. However, if you need acceleration, the engine revs nicely. The Impreza feels far more solid than the Chevy Aveo and Hyundai Elantra. The Focus and the Mazda 3 are close competitors. The Impreza has the most room and the most grip of the three. The Ford and Mazda are slightly smaller, but in the end it comes down to personal preference, as they are good cars as well, and may be slightly more efficient. I preferred the driving dynamics (feel, basically) of the Impreza, the usable interior room, and finally, I felt the black and tan hatchback looked sharp for a small car. Faults: -Could use 20 more hp. -Could use more sound deadening. -Average radio. As an economical car, these are acceptable compromises. P.S. This review is for the 5-speed."
11 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By john on Saturday, March 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, space, gas miles"
Cons: "better sound system, better tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this car lot more small car. It pickup good. I do not tire put on car. I think another tires. The speak system is ok and fun drive. I have no problems with car. I get 27 and 30 miles in winter time but in summer between 30 and 33. I have lot of trunk space with hatchback. I think great value for awd vehicle. If looking sometime high tech stuff look another car."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful