2024 Subaru Impreza RS Review: First Drive
|Output:||182 hp, 178 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy (MPG):||26 city, 33 hwy|
|Fuel Economy (L/100 km):||9.0 city, 7.2 hwy|
|Starting Price (USD):||$24,085 (inc. dest.)|
|As Tested Price (USD):||$28,975 (inc. dest.)|
|Starting Price (CAD):||$28,790 (inc. dest.)|
|As Tested Price (CAD):||$33,790 (inc. dest.)|
As of late, Subaru is a company focused more on evolutionary updates, not revolutionary ones. This theme continues with the all-new Impreza that enters the model’s sixth generation for the 2024 model year. Although at first glance the new car is instantly recognizable, a closer look though reveals subtle changes here and there. Notably the more aggressive headlights and taillights, as well as the larger frameless grille.
But it’s not the car’s sheet metal that’s the big news this year. The significant changes center around a simplified lineup that focuses more on in-car technology. For 2024, there’s no sedan option, no manual transmission, no leather seating, and the lineup has been pared down to just three trim levels. This allows Subaru engineers to reinvest development costs on new features like a powerful optional engine, wireless phone charging, and wireless Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto.
The revised lineup for the 2024 Impreza starts with entry level models simply referred to as Base. Mid-trim options continue on with the label of Sport. The top of line model brings back a trim from the Impreza’s past, called the RS. While at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally, we had a chance to get behind the wheel of the 2024 Subaru Impreza RS.
Other than a minor bump in height, the new Impreza is near clone in terms of exterior dimensions compared to the previous generation. It has a length of 176.2 inches (4,475 mm), width of 70.1 inches (1,780 mm) and height of 58.3 inches (1,480 mm). This makes it one of the larger compact hatchbacks, out flanking five-door versions of the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla. Only the Honda Civic is larger overall.
All versions of the Impreza now wear aluminum fenders to save weight and come standard with steering responsive LED headlights. On RS models like our tester, there are 18-inch dark grey alloy wheels, LED side signal mirrors, body colored side skirts, and of course RS badging.
Addressing the Biggest Weakness
With the new Impreza, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine carries over making the same 152 hp and 145 lb-ft. of torque. It’s standard on both the Base and Sport versions of the car. For many drivers, this will suffice as it’s a competent engine that gets the job done. It’s also fairly efficient for an all-wheel drive car, netting 27 mpg (8.8 L.100 km) city, and 34 mpg (6.9 L/100 km) highway, although those figures are down a bit compared to CVT equipped 2023 Impreza models.
We though, have always felt the Impreza could use a bit more power. We weren’t alone and many echoed our thoughts. Subaru appears to have heard our requests and the brand now offers a more potent powerplant for RS models. It’s the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder that sees duty in a multitude of other models within the manufacturer’s portfolio. In the 2024 Subaru Impreza RS, it makes 182 hp and 178 lb-ft. Those aren’t earth-shattering figures, but it’s a very welcome increase.
Welcome Power, Little Penalty
The extra power is noticeable behind the wheel transforming the Impreza’s driving characteristics. With more usable power throughout the rev range, less rpms are needed to get up to freeway speeds. Simply rolling into the throttle provides enough thrust without having to really open up the engine or transmission. This is a plus as the Subaru’s engine/transmission combo can get a bit vocal near redline.
As alluded to early, the Impreza is now only offered with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Thankfully, this is one of the better CVTs on the market and makes for smooth, seamless driving. The Sport and RS trim levels include eight selectable speeds and steering wheel paddle shifters if one is inclined to drive using simulated gearing. Those that would rather leave the gearing choices to the car can still choose between Intelligent and Sport modes using the SI-Drive standard on all Impreza’s except the Base models.
It’s a bit of a shame that the 2.5-liter engine isn’t just the standard Impreza power unit. With ratings of 26 mpg (9.0 L/100 km) in the city and 33 mpg (7.2 L/100 km) on the highway, there isn’t much of a fuel penalty with the larger engine.
Subaru claims the Impreza features a 10% stiffer structure, and the standard all-wheel drive system has been updated for better line tracing. On the road, we didn’t feel much of a difference compared to the previous generation Impreza, which isn’t a bad thing. We regard the Impreza as one of the livelier, fun-to-fling compact hatchbacks and the new model retains this feeling. The handling, ride comfort, and vehicle responses will be very familiar to current owners. It remains a nice balance between a fairly engaging chassis, and a ride that easily absorbs bumps on the road.
All Impreza’s come with the same suspension tuning, a 13.0:1 steering ratio, and brake-activate torque vectoring. The Sport and RS do feature larger front brake rotors and the RS wears grippy 225/40R18 tires. Weighing in at 3,275 lbs., the new 2024 Subaru Impreza RS is a bit heavier than the previous generation, but we don’t feel the small weight increase behind the wheel.
The Impreza is an incredibly easy car to just get in and drive. There’s no learning curve and the vehicle responds as expected, with no nuances to account for. The cherry on top is the added benefit standard all-wheel drive for those in areas prone to rain, snow and/or ice.
Much like the exterior, most of the interior dimensions of the 2024 Subaru Impreza are nearly identical to the previous generation. There’s 39.8-inches (1,010 mm) of headroom up front, or 38.7-inches [984 mm] with the optional moonroof. In the back, there’s 38.0-inches (965 mm) of headroom. Legroom is a bit smaller up front now, listed at 42.9-inches (1,089 mm), while rear seat riders still get the same 36.5-inches (926 mm) of legroom. Cargo space is pegged at 20.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 56.0 cubic feet with the folded.
Adults can fit well enough in either row, and our six-foot tester fit in the rear seat without issue. Those up front should appreciate the revised seats that feature better comfort. We’re also big fans of the armrests on the door and center console which now include more padding.
The RS includes grey and black trim pieces as well as red accents on the seats. Overall we’d peg the interior’s fit, finish, and material quality very similar to the out-going model, which we’ve always highly regarded. There was such a monumental improvement in terms of material quality when the 2017 Impreza debuted, it’s understandable there’s only been incremental upgrades here.
Greater Focus on Technology
The biggest change inside the new Impreza is the addition of a 11.6-inch infotainment system in the Sport and RS trims (Base models have dual 7-inch screens). The Impreza is one of the last Subaru models to receive the brand’s new infotainment hardware/software and the upgrade makes the car feel more modern. Although the old system was easy enough to operate, it felt dated and was prone to freezing. The new system is a big improvement with faster responding software, a larger display screen, and more intuitive controls. It will take a few moments to learn, but once familiar with it, the system is simple to use.
All models of the Impreza now feature dual zone automatic climate standard. The Sport and RS add Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the mix. The RS also includes standard wireless phone charging, heated front seats, wiper de-icer, leather wrapped steering wheel and a leather wrapped shift knob. For an additional cost, the RS can be further equipped with a Harmon Kardon audio system, power driver’s seat, and moonroof. As we mentioned before, there is no leather seat option in any version of the Impreza…at least for American consumers.
In Canada, Things are Different
Canadian consumers though can still get leather seats. North of the border there remains a fourth trim level known as the Sport-Tech. It receives much of the same equipment as the RS trim, including the larger, more powerful 2.5-liter engine.
Inside, the Sport-Tech replaces the cloth seats with leather units and includes other technology like the DriverFocus distraction mitigation system. Stylistically the Sport-Tech differs with silver grille accents, two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as various unique interior trim pieces.
Pricing and Safety
Subaru has built a reputation on safety in recent years and the 2024 Subaru Impreza includes standard EyeSight on all models, which is now achievable since the manual transmission is dead. The EyeSight system is the latest generation from Subaru which includes a wider field of view for the front-mounted stereo cameras. Upping the safety game, the RS trim level includes blind-spot detection, lane change assist, rear-cross traffic alert, and automatic emergency steering.
In the United States, the Impreza starts at $24,085 (all prices include destination charges). The Sport starts at $26,085 and the RS at $28,975. There are a few options available on each trim, including the optional RS package that adds a power moonroof, power driver’s seat, and Harmon Kardon sound system (absent from our test car). This would have pushed pricing up to $31,045.
In Canada, pricing for the entry-level Convenience starts at $28,790. The mid-level Touring costs $31,990 while the RS comes in at $33,790. The loaded up, leather-equipped Sport-Tech has an MSRP of $36,790, of course after destination charges.
2024 Subaru Impreza RS: The Verdict
Subaru played it safe with the redesign of the Impreza, but more importantly, played it right. The brand has addressed the largest complaints of the outgoing model by adding more power and better in-car technology, all while keeping everything we liked about the vehicle, and at an attractive price point. The 2024 Subaru Impreza RS is a solid choice for those who still appreciate the responsiveness, efficiency, and usefulness of a traditional compact hatchback.
How much horsepower does a 2024 Subaru Impreza RS have?
The RS features the larger 2.5-liter engine that makes 182 hp.
What is the difference between 2023 and 2024 Impreza?
The 2024 Subaru Impreza is a new generation, featuring enhancements throughout. There are less trims, but more technology and an optional engine now available.
What’s the difference between Impreza and Impreza RS?
The biggest difference is the more powerful, upgraded engine found in the RS. There are also styling and equipment differences inside and out.
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- More Powerful Engine
- Wireless Charging/Connectivity
- Easy to Drive
- Ride Comfort and Handling
- Base Engine Not Much More Efficient
- Engine Can Get Loud
- No More Top Trim in USA