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.
"I really like this car. It's fun and responsive to drive and feels solid against the road. It fits tight and I've found nothing negative about it. The freeway acceleration when needed and solid swerve handling has kept me out of a couple accidents. For a small car I love the additional wagon space for city hauling of stuff. I'm sold on Subaru."
"So I will start by saying I have always drove a manual transmission and this is my first brand new car, therefore my review might come off a little different than most. And if I was made of money I would have gotten the WRX instead but the fuel economy is just not where I would like it to be. So instead, I have the 2015 Impreza sport premium, pretty much all stock minus the homelink mirror. The ride is pretty smooth but for some might be a little too bumpy. My only qualm at this point is it's a little too gooey of a ride for me. You hit a dip on the highway and it just throws you out of the seat. At first the seat was like sitting on a rock and took a few weeks to even be remotely comfortable. The interior is very spacious, I have cloth interior (because I live in Florida and I don't like burning my legs during the summer on leather), the headrests are adjustable up & down as well as front to back, no lumbar support which is a bummer. The only complaints I have for this car is that when it rains and I'm driving, it sounds like it is raining in the car (I have caught myself checking to make sure all of my windows are up). The AC blows so cold I have to turn it warmer or off occasionally. The stereo system with no upgrades is ok, it chooses when and what device to connect to when it feels like it. With the touch screen you have the ability to go in and manually adjust the equalizer so it kind of helped with the factory settings for the speakers. I enjoy having all the controls on the steering wheel and I have my ipod hooked up and can scroll through songs and playlists with those controls. I feel that it is easier than trying to fight with the touchscreen. Biggest con of the speakers is that when you are listening to whatever music you like, if you have it under #10 volume setting you can barely hear it, #11-#20 is probably standard background noise level for most people, but say that 1 song comes on that you really would like to enjoy and you want to crank it....you cannot successfully pass #25 without causing distortion in the speakers- I think they take a nap at this point. The volume goes to 30 but it really is not that loud, unless of course you are standing outside of the car, then you can hear it as clear as day. I do not think that the doors are insulated very well. My previous car was a 2007 Mazda 3 stock as stock can be and the stock speakers bumped like you had a subwoofer in the car, but it was loud inside the car and quiet on the outside. But I did not choose this car for it's not so amazing sound system. I like the backup camera that came stock this model year, the display comes up on the head unit and takes some getting used to if you have never used one before. The sight lines out of the car from the drivers seat is really good compared to some other newer model cars I have been in. The hatchback makes it a breeze to see when backing up as well as changing lanes in traffic. It has amazing safety ratings which is not surprising. While researching this brand and just from what I know and can physically see, there are supports in the door that essentially lock into place when you have the doors shut to assist in the case of a side impact collision. Also, in the case of a front end collision you would not have to worry about the engine coming through the firewall because it drops down so that the front end can take the impact and crumple while not leaving you trapped in the car. AWD is awesome and also works wonders with the traction control assist. I know some other people reviewing this car refer to AWD while driving in northern climates, but it is awesome here because it doesn't just rain a little, it is a torrential downpour as a normal afternoon shower. Driving can become dangerous during the summer under these conditions, but all these features make it easier to know I will make it home safely every day. I drive a lot on the highway but some stop and go city traffic and over the last few months I have been averaging 38-41 mpg combined. I use the cruise control A LOT and with the sport it comes with paddle shifters, which does take some getting used to after driving stick shift for over 10 years, but I choose to use these to control my speed instead of using the brake every time I need to just slow down and not completely stop. I don't take off very heavily but I did a small experiment because I was bummed about the gas mileage not being as high as I wanted it, so for a week I drove normal and just leaving the car in automatic mode, drove how I always drove in the past, and with the CVT transmission it has some lag in 3rd gear into 4th. Then for the following full week, while I was in traffic with stoplights, I used the manual mode to take off and also to get onto the highway. My fuel economy was much better the second week with my conclusion being that when allowing the transmission to shift itself, it prematurely shifts into 4th gear. When you shift yourself you actually get up to speed at the same rate as from a complete stop until 3rd gear in automatic mode. Naturally, when you are taking off from a complete stop you assume that the transmission is going to shift at the same rate for each gear until you are up to speed, so while thinking that this car will do that once you hit 4th gear, your natural reaction is to hit the gas pedal slightly more thinking that you are going to get out of that slump, but all you end up doing is burning fuel for no reason. I have not had my first oil change yet, but have not had any burning smell that I have read on some reviews, according to my maintenance schedule I only need to change it every 6,ooo miles. Oil is full sythetic, however, a lot of other users that report having the oil leak or burn up- my question would be, Do you let your car warm up before you just take off? I have this awesome little light on my gauge cluster that is blue when you first turn on the car say first thing in the morning. I wait for that light to go away before I drive off, it takes about 2 minutes which allows the oil that has been congealing in the bottom of the engine all night to have a chance to warm up and coat the engine and all the gaskets. Now this is the middle of summer still and this is the south. I'm sure during the winter when it is colder I will have to give it 5 minutes to warm up. I have done this with every car I've ever driven and have NEVER had a problem with oil leaking or magically evaporating. Subaru is known for it's longevity, but you have to treat your car right and if you take care of it, then it will take care of you."
Pros: "Standard AWD, good MPG, ample power, hugs road"
Cons: "Infotainment system needs improvement"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I test drove the Civic SI, RAV4 and the Impreza and decided to go with the Subaru. The SI would have been nice, but I wanted an all wheel drive and the RAV4 was a bit pricey, and I really wanted a car rather than an SUV. I live in Seattle and people here loves Subaru, maybe because it rains a lot here and although it doesn't snow much, it can get crazy driving here in a few inches of snow, because the city only plows the main roads. My first impression of the impreza is, it is a solid built car, it hugs the road well, thanks to the standard AWD. People complain of the acceleration but it is not a slow car, i agree it's no pocket rocket, but it provides ample power on my daily city driving.It's also practical because of good mpg. So far I am very satisfied with this car."