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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the Impreza
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.
FUEL ECONOMY 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.
TURBOCHARGED ENGINE 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.
2014 Subaru Impreza Details
"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.
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.
Under the Hood
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.
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.
Cons: "acceleration could be improved, Lower end torque."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my first Subaru Impreza (Hatchback) switching from over 10 years of three mazda 3. I am so happy that I switched, not that anything against Mazda 3, that is also a great car, (except in snow) but for the symmetrical AWD in Subaru is totally impressive. Subaru Impreza is truly a fun to drive car especially in snow and when it is actually snowing, one can drive through like a breeze when others struggle on the road. Driving dynamics is unmatched in this class and hence I have fallen with Subaru brand. I will never go back to Mazda or other brands. Very spacious passenger rear leg room and with the appropriate tire pressure suggested, the suspensions are really very nice and soft sufficient enough to feel the comfort while sporty enough to drive faster. Nice interior quality with soft plastic. I used to hate snow driving, but now I enjoy it. Very reliable car with snow maneuvering."
Cons: "seats could have +lumbar support, eh windshield"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've got the Sport Limited with all the bells and whistles. 17" tires, moonroof, touchscreen/navigation, R/V cam, leather, etc. It's my first new car & my 2nd subaru.
Compared to my old manual GTI, the Ru was a little sluggish at first, but I have noticed it's a bit peppier recently. Although, nothing that feels like it'll get away from you.
Coming from a custom audio system, the "stock" sound system here isn't great, but with a few EQ tweaks, it's better.
I like the integration/connectivity and have had no problems with that, using both Nokia and iOS devices. I bought a 2' USB cord and just keep it plugged in, so I can access it whenever.
The leather is nice and doesn't show much wear at all in the first year. Non-smoker, no kids, and no pets, so I'm pretty easy on interiors, though.
I wish the front seats had more lumbar & neck curve support. I'm coming from Forester seats which were the ULTIMATE in comfort. The back seats are REALLY comfortable.
The windsheield "splays" farther lights at night. Has since the first night I bought it (brand new). Wish that wasn't the case. I had just replaced the windshield in my old Ru, solely for that reason. Plus, the windshield does seem to "nick" easier than other cars I've owned.
But, those are my only two real complaints. All else is great! Have hit a few big potholes over the year that I was sure would cause major damage and so far, no flat tires or alignment issues.
I do wish the roof rails came with cross bars, even basic ones, as my old subaru did. Otherwise, they just cause extra drag and reduced MPG. I do like how they look, though.
My average MPG isn't close to 36 (or 30, for that matter), but I do mostly very short, city drives, and even am usually only on the highway for a few exits. When I have taken long drives, the car (& my calculations) confidently report 30+ MPG.
Interestingly, I drove a friend's who was almost exactly the same age, but not a Sport Limited, and mine did feel a teensey bit "tighter" on the curves. I believe there are a few mm's difference between come component that aids this.
While there may be other cars with better audio or better pick-up, I'm quite happy with my Impreza, as it satisfies all my needs and is safe, to boot. It feels good to drive and fits my stuff without extra wasted space."
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.. ):"