By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
With a starting price well below $20,000, the 2014 Subaru Impreza offers the same features and fuel economy as many of its compact competitors, but with the added advantage of standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD). While the bread-and-butter cars make up the majority of Impreza sales, the performance-oriented WRX and WRX STI account for a small but loyal audience who crave speed and agility over fuel economy and a low sticker price. Regardless of which model, the Impreza offers a lot of value for the money. However, if you don't have a need for all-wheel drive, you can find similar front-drive compacts with better fuel economy, such as the Mazda Mazda3, Kia Forte and Chevrolet Cruze diesel.
If you live where snow, rain and ice are commonplace occurrences, the logical choice for compact-car shoppers is the 2014 Subaru Impreza. It offers excellent year-round traction, good fuel economy, and in WRX form, impressive performance for less than $30,000.
Putting its AWD advantage aside, there are better compact sedans than the Impreza. The Mazda3, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra all get better fuel economy, are more fun to drive, have more features and have vastly better audio and navigation systems.
Limited trims receive a standard rearview camera, while models equipped with navigation gain Aha infotainment smartphone integration.
Driving Impressions Subaru's whole identity revolves around its patented Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, which is standard on every car it makes, save for the BRZ. Unlike most AWD setups, the Impreza's is...permanently engaged, sending power to whichever wheel or wheels need it most and providing excellent traction on dry and wet pavement. The CVT transmission may not be to everyone's liking, but it does manage to milk the little 2.0-liter engine for maximum power and fuel efficiency. Those who desire more power and less boredom can move to the turbocharged WRX, which still gets fairly good fuel economy but is much more fun to drive. The ultimate WRX is the STI, with more power, a better manual gearbox and additional settings to adjust the center differential for optimum power distribution at the wheels. The STI is not without its detractors: Key complaints are the harsh ride, loud interior and somewhat flat sport seats.
High fuel economy and all-wheel drive rarely go hand in hand, but the 2014 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 cozier 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.Exterior
The Impreza's exterior styling 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 2014 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. Two wagon-only versions, the 2.0i Sport Premium and Sport Limited, have 17-inch wheels and fog lights. WRX and STI models get stiffer suspensions, and the STI has Brembo 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 2014 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. At 148 horsepower, the engine is adequate to get the car up to speed, but not in a 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' low center of gravity enhances handling, and they're known for ruggedness, durability and performance.
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
A base 2014 Subaru Impreza sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $19,000 plus an additional $300 fee for Partial Zero Emissions packages on cars sold in California and some other states. Five-door hatchback models are $500 extra. A well-optioned Impreza can reach about $25,000. WRX performance models start just under $27,000, and the fire-breathing WRX STI is around $35,000 and can reach about $40,000 loaded. On the low end, the Impreza's price is in the realm of the Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus. Prices for WRX and STI models straddle that of the VW Golf R, and the WRX is in line with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are playing for the Subaru Impreza. In the long term, the Impreza's resale value is predicted to hold up very well, above most competitors.
By rcklad on Saturday, February 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Eye catcher and truly a fun car to drive"
Cons: "If mileage is your thing!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a driver's car. It responds to you quickly and reliably. This car is game for any difficult maneuver. Want speed and acceleration? you got it and you can customize it with torque controls. The suspension system and the brakes are excellent as well. You can drive this car all day long and yet feel fresh. Overall a very nice sports car that is family friendly as well with 4 doors and a good size trunk."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Shirley Subaru on Friday, January 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,250overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas efficient, butt warmers are amaaazing!"
Cons: "Wish the lights were automatic"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this car. Handles great in snow (as long as the snow isn't as high as the car!!) and has good power to get around slow-pokes. I all around love this car."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By ilre1484 on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "price is reasonable, very fun to drive."
Cons: "poor paint job from the factory, short warrenty"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"this vehicle looks nice on the outside however the inside is no better than your average Kia was in 2010... Alot of power however a 6spd manual would have been a better choice than the 5spd. Main negative about the car is Subaru does a HORRIBLE paint job, the paint is so thin i was already having to get touch up paint into the second week of owning it and i dont even drive on the freeway!! Not to mention that the dealership gave me the wrong shade of the world rally blue and it has taken a battle of epic proportions to get them to fix it. All in all this is my second Subaru WRX and i will continue to buy Subaru because they market it as a life change and you take pride in owning your Subaru."
By Benny on Monday, January 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, MPGs, AWD, base options"
Cons: "highway road noise, bluetooth clarity"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had this car for about a year and drive it in all weather conditions: lots of snow, lots of rain, lots of good weather. I have yet to get this car stuck and I tried during the first 8" snow we got last year. All the people who claim the MPGs are poor don't know how to drive. I constantly get 30 mpg average and it would be higher if I did more highway driving. The MPGs do go down a bit in colder weather but not enough to whine about. I drive quick/fast and still get good gas mileage. The power is slightly lacking until you learn to "punch it" and let the CVT do it's magic. You can't drive it like a regular or manual transmission. Gas pedal position = acceleration percentage, then you have to keep it there. It is more quick than fast, but with a 9 second 0-60, it's not going to win any races. Interior - pure function here. No issues on quality or durability. The heated seat option is priceless in cold weather. The side mirrors are great so therefore small (if any) blind spots. Upgrade the speakers as the stock ones aren't very good. There is a hidden option on the stock stereo called "through mode" that will improve the sound quality at higher volumes. If you like the look and want the reliability combined with decent power and above-class MPGs, this really is a great combination where you can have it all."
10 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By feistyone on Thursday, January 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "awd great, small turning radius, holds road well"
Cons: "MPG not even close to advertised, carpet cheap"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I wanted awd and a reliable car. My 11 yr old corolla got better mileage than this Impreza (I have not yet gotten over 27 mpg, even on the highway). Carpet on driver side already wearing because area near gas pedal is unprotected and thin at any rate. Mat is also already showing wear. Handles well on wet and snowy surface."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By northernNVimpreza on Wednesday, January 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "AMAZING handling/traction...WOW"
Cons: "Little power..really,noisy on freeway,jerky CVT"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Subaru's are synonymous with where we live in Northern Nevada. So after moving there a few years ago, and needing a new car after our old one died, we decided to go with the Impreza. We opted for the fully loaded Sport Premium 5dr, because it had some things we've never had before like leather, heated seats, and CVT transmission etc... the car has been well... ok. -First the Negatives- Our old car (2003 Mitsubishi Galant)had more power than this one has new. Granted, it was a 2.4liter and only front wheel drive, but I miss it going uphills and merging on the freeway. A lot. This car does NOT have power, which you'll notice right off on the test drive. Another negative, which I never really considered, is road noise. Pretty loud on the freeway. Everywhere else is fine. The last negative for me is, the CVT. I realize it always is in the right gear ratio for fuel economy etc, however it has this jerkiness that if you've never felt before could be a problem. PAY ATTENTION during the test drive. It's not a huge issue, however it IS something I've had to get used to. There ARE positives though, the fuel economy is great, especially on the freeway. I keep it at 65-70, REALLY. However I'm not certain the in town fuel estimates are correct. It seems to only get somewhere around the low 20's (22-25 maybe?) The traction and handling is AMAZING and really where this car SHINES. You have to drive it around corners and interstate interchanges to believe it. On the freeway interchanges, you can literally take the recommended 35-40mph and add 20-25mph NO KIDDING! Its really amazing. It has performed in the snow and ice as expected. This fact alone gives me a peace of mind with my family driving around in it. Overall, the car is great FOR WHERE WE LIVE. If you live in a place that snows in winter and traction/stability/handling are paramount, this is definitely your rig.- hopefully my review answers some or all of your questions."
11 people out of 11 found this review helpful