When I first wrote about the new Subaru Impreza, many of you in the comments absolutely hated it. Sure, the 2.5 RS nameplate is back, but the manual gearbox is dead and many decried the car as boring. However, now that pricing for the 2024 Subaru Impreza is out, it seems like it could be a great commuter car for the money. After all, isn’t that what regular Impreza models always were?
I reckon the big draw of the new Impreza range is the $24,085 (including a $1,090 freight charge) base model, which predictably isn’t pictured in the press materials. Not only does it sneak in below the critical $25,000 mark, it includes just about everything a car of its size and price ought to come with, plus a few surprises. Adaptive LED headlights at this price point seem like a steal, while few compact cars include SiriusXM satellite radio on the base model. Other perks include dual-zone automatic climate control, dual seven-inch infotainment screens, a tire pressure monitoring system that displays the status of individual wheels, a continuously variable transmission, and a stop-start system to keep from wasting fuel at traffic lights. Sure, alloy wheels are $350 extra, but that’s a reasonable price for an option that’s very desirable but not necessary.
In the middle of the range sits the 2024 Subaru Impreza Sport which offers most of the 2.5 RS feature set without the 2.5 RS power. As I’ve previously detailed, the standard two-liter boxer four-cylinder engine puts out a reasonably 152 horsepower and is mated exclusively to a CVT. On the plus side, the Sport gets paddle shifters for selecting any of eight fake gears, sport-tuned suspension, and various drive modes, so it’s not exclusively a cosmetic package. What’s more, it bundles in several desirable features like an 11.6-inch touchscreen, push-to-start, nicer upholstery, and six speakers. Not bad for $26,085. However, if you want blind spot monitoring or a power moonroof, you have to spec a $1,900 option package on top of this trim. It is what it is, I guess.
At $28,975 including a $1,090 freight charge, the 2024 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS is $2,650 cheaper than a WRX and comes very well-equipped. From wireless phone charging to sport seats to everything available on the Impreza Sport, this is a near-loaded compact hatchback. A 182-horsepower 2.5-liter flat-four engine doesn’t sound like a bad perk either. The only option package on the Impreza 2.5 RS is a whopping $2,070 but includes a ten-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, a moonroof, and a power driver’s seat, meaning that the most expensive 2.5 RS should theoretically come out to $31,045.
It’s worth noting that the Subaru Impreza isn’t the only major small car to come with all-wheel-drive anymore. Toyota now sells an electrically-assisted all-wheel-drive Corolla and Mazda offers a traditional all-wheel-drive system in its Mazda 3. Despite competition, the Impreza should hold its own because of the way its competitors are packaged. If you want all-wheel-drive in a Mazda 3 hatchback, you’re looking at spending at least $30,665 for the Carbon Edition. That’s a lot more money than the Impreza 2.5 RS’ entry point, although the Mazda is brilliant refined.
As for the Corolla, it’s an eAWD system available on the hybrid, which means that the rear wheels aren’t connected to the combustion engine in any way. While this should be fine for snow-covered city streets, those in mountainous regions or rural areas might find solace in a purely mechanical system. In addition, the eAWD Corolla is only available as a sedan which could be a deal-breaker for hatchback enthusiasts.
What’s more, the base-model Impreza is priced well full-stop. The cheapest Mazda 3 hatchback is an extra $530, only comes in three colors, and doesn’t include automatic climate control. The Honda Civic hatchback starts at $2,860 more than a base Impreza which is a lot of money in this price bracket. The only hatchback that really seems competitive is the Toyota Corolla hatchback which starts at roughly the same price as the Impreza, offers a similar feature set, but has a surprisingly tight rear seat and cargo area.
With a reasonable price spread and loads of equipment on the base model, the 2024 Subaru Impreza should satisfy Subaru customers who don’t demand three pedals. While Subaru die-hards will kvetch about the lack of a manual gearbox, people who haven’t rebuilt an EJ25 in their garage need sensible cars, and the new Impreza looks as sensible as the best of them. Expect the first new Imprezas to complete their trip from Gunma, Japan to American showrooms early this summer, right in time for road trip season.
(Photo credits: Subaru)
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I drove a zillion rentals in my 35 years in Manhattan, and had 3 cars before that move (I’ll always love you, Fiat 128SL, even if you rusted as fast as sugar dissolves in hot tea).
I retired and bought a Honda Fit with a CVT. I have absolutely no idea why the hate for these transmissions.
I would have loved the manual, but they weren’t yet making them. I dodged a bullet: 4000 RPM on the highway with the manual when 75% of our travel is our big, long trip in the fall.
I have no complaints.
I’ve written before about being adjacent* to a Subaru Justy CVT, my experience with the CVT in a ‘13 Cube (you remain dead to me, Nissan), and my father buying a ‘14 Impreza CVT. I will never buy a CVT until I get to the point that I can’t a) manipulate a clutch and b) am unable to wrench. Not only do I dislike the mushy slow response, but I actively abhor the fake gears programmed because the average appliance-driver expects shifts.
However, I don’t have a commute (work van), so my car is mostly just a weekend toy.
*Willing Car Guy Wrenching Buddy
Different car obviously but I’ve been driving my mom’s ’21 Forester around and the CVT actually doesn’t bother me too much. (Si mode helps quite a bit in this regard.) What DOES bother me is the stop/start system, which is pretty questionably a “perk.” I didn’t like it in the rental Renegade (lol) I had years ago and I don’t like it now, whatever its theoretical advantages. It always makes me feel like I’m about to have a tiny panic attack at stoplights.
Wow it looks like Subaru found some extra paint cans stashed in the back of the warehouse.
2,650 less than a WRX for the 2.5RS? Based on the HP difference that seems overpriced…
yes, but that base wrx is similarly equipped to the base Impreza.
I had an ’18 limited and it was a great car for the money. At 80k miles it was still as tight and smooth as new and always felt a little more upmarket than people gave it credit for. It was an absolute dog, though the paddle shifters were a little fun.
If they offered a WRX hatch or the 2.5RS last year when mine got totaled I might still be in a Subaru, but the switch to an Si with an extra 50 hp and manual has been great. My wife took her half of the check and got a prius so we still have one sensible hatchback in the fleet but I do miss the subie.
I’m not upset that this base Impreza loses the manual option. I’m not even upset that it’s a CVT.
I am, however, fucking PISSED that the WRX is no longer available in this hatchback configuration. #IMissMyHatch
Ugh, I hate that CVT’s are becoming the norm. In theory they’re better, but in practice I haven’t enjoyed one at all.
It’s a classic case of the car industry forcing a demonstrably inferior product on us so they can save a few bucks. CVTs have one single benefit…fuel economy. They provide a marginal efficiency improvement and are the cheapest transmission to manufacture by a long shot. So for companies that don’t have great fuel economy across their fleet like Subaru they’re a cheap compliance solution.
The problem is they’re more complicated than torque converters, they’re less hearty, and they require more maintenance. My wife’s CRV unfortunately has one and it essentially has the same maintenance schedule as every DCT I’ve owned…which is just nucking futs to me. You need to do more upkeep on an inferior product.
…what? Why? And this doesn’t even touch on the fact that they completely zap acceleration and soul out of every vehicle. If you just want an appliance and don’t really care about that then I suppose I could see why it wouldn’t be a bother other than the reliability risks, but if you enjoy driving in any capacity they’re a non-starter. In order to pass on the highway in my wife’s car you literally need to put the pedal to the floor for 3-4 seconds and wait.
And honestly I’m not even sure if efficiency is THAT much of a benefit compared to a good modern automatic like a ZF8, DCT, or Ford/GM 10 speed. Most of those are still capable of rushing you into a high gear and puttering along at highway speeds. But it also comes down to Japanese manufacturers.
Most CVTs are in Japanese cars, and the Japanese essentially only use Jatco or Aisin automatics, which pretty much objectively suck. For whatever reason Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and Nissan refuse to develop a decent in-house automatic…and while they could collaborate with ZF of Getrag or Tremec or something I think the fact that they stick with Japanese companies to supply these parts is both a cultural point of pride and a money saver…although ZF is now licensing their technology to Jatco for Nissans so maybe that will change.
Either way…CVT is no dice for me. Always has been always will be. And the modern ones really aren’t even THAT much of an improvement. A good torque converter or DCT still embarrasses them every single time.
The sluggish throttle response you mention is likely just as much or more in the name of tuning for economy regardless of transmission.
Honda produces their own transmissions, CVTs included – I think the only non-Honda-produced transmission was the ZF 9-speed. Toyota owns a controlling interest in Aisin so that explains their use. But by now, why put forth the effort to make a new conventional transmission when most segments that are CVT-heavy are some of the more likely ones to get electrified? I’d say the efficiency gains were more pronounced 10-15 years ago when a lot of the models in development that went CVT first were switching from 5 speed autos (or even 4 at Toyota). 8-10 speed autos are much more common now and are going to be similarly effective at keeping the engine at an efficient point in the powerband (Toyota pulls it off in the Camry and RAV4, although the only RAV4 with an 8AT I ever drove shifted horribly), but that was luxury car territory back then.
I’m still surprised GM went to a CVT for several of their smaller models, but I guess since the VTi went in Saturns it’s “out of sight out of mind.”
I should also mention that a lot of my desire to see non-ass-tier autos in Japanese cars is selfishly motivated. Very selfishly motivated haha. I’d buy a GR Corolla or Civic Type R in a nanosecond if they had a decent automatic option.
And before I get flamed-I can drive stick and went out of my way to learn how since it was a glaring omission on my car enthusiast resume. I had to drive an hour away to see my Miata owning aunt every couple of weekends in 2020 to learn the basics and get enough wheel time to be comfortable with it. It was a labor of love, and as a result I have developed a real appreciation for rowing your own.
If I was buying a pure weekend car manual would be mandatory. But in my daily? Hellllllllll no. I have to commute right through the teeth of rush hour in DC every day and my wife can’t drive stick/isn’t particularly interested in learning. It just ain’t gonna work in my primary car.
But fret not my friends…my aunt’s NA Miata is almost assuredly in my future. She’s said she’ll pass it along to me once she can’t drive it comfortably anymore. If that happens I think I’d spend a couple grand to restore it and add a few tasteful mechanical upgrades.
As a DC area commuter, I’m with you. Also with you in that the spouse is not going to learn how to drive stick, and even though it has never happened, having a second car she can drive is still something we want.
Maybe someday I’ll get a Miata or a Corvette with a MT and then if she never drives it, oh well.
No I’m with you, I’m a manual guy but not anti-auto, and I don’t mind some CVTs for a spin here and there but in my own car if I wanted or needed to switch to an auto, it’s a non-starter. Honda’s 10AT seems to be good but now it’s only in products that are more than I need (utility vehicles like the Pilot). Even on the manual side it’s iffy.
We have a 2022 Crosstrek with the CVT. While it is not the car I would pick to drive, I don’t mind taking it out now and again. Don’t love the CVT but I can live with it. I dislike the auto stop start (you can turn it off, but have to each time you start the car) worse. You get used to it, kind of, but I still mostly hate it.
I like the size/package of the car, though the fact that it is called compact SUV baffles me. I feel like I am driving a big old boat every time I get behind the wheel.
If I give back:
Adaptive LED headlights
SiriusXM satellite radio
dual-zone automatic climate control
dual seven-inch infotainment screens or 11.6-inch touchscreen
wireless phone charging
then, could i get a proper transmission?
Shiiiiit if some of these Japanese manufacturers found a way to implement torque converters that would’ve felt modern in 2015 into some of these cars I’d be thrilled….
Yes, except you will have to select gears using the touchscreen and that’s two menus deep. And reverse will require a subscription.
What makes this not a station wagon? Is it the slope of the hatch and if that (or not) why is this not a crossover/CUV is it the departure and approach angles??
“What makes this not a station wagon? Is it the slope of the hatch and if that (or not) why is this not a crossover/CUV is it the departure and approach angles??”
Because someone decided that station wagons were not cool, and so they are defaulting to marketing and politics. You are correct that the American government’s CUV loophole for fuel standards is dictated by an archaic set of approach angles and ride height.
It’s way too arbitrary and stupid. (In my opinion.)
It does seems like a good value. Even if you’re shopping without any preference of bodystyle and/or drive wheels, against the Civic Sport sedan, the base Impreza is cheaper still, and the more comparable Impreza Sport comes in about $100 less. Both are 2.0L/CVT combos so that’s a draw; Honda has a 1mpg edge in economy, Subaru has a touch more equipment for the price (Honda still doesn’t doesn’t put variable intermittent wipers in lower trim Civics).
That said, Honda’s put the LX trim back on the Civic order books apparently, but the Impreza still looks like it will undercut that.
The Corolla hatch is closer in price, but the Subaru has much more interior volume. The Impreza splits the difference between Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback starting prices (FWD). But as with the hatch, an AWD 3 sedan is thousands more if you just want a small car with AWD.
Also, I don’t want a CVT for myself, but don’t hate them in practice for most vehicles. I just don’t particularly want an auto of any kind in this segment. But it did make me wonder what the least-expensive non-CVT small car out there is, and surprisingly it seems like it’s the Jetta – either with 8-speed auto or the manual, it’s a couple grand less than a Mazda 3 starts.
Nope, just can’t embrace cars with CVTs.
Same. I kinda get it in the Outback, it’s a bigger, lumbering, cruiser thing. In any car with any sporting pretense, hell no.
Sure, but a 182 hp in a 3000 lb car isn’t much sporting pretense. If you want that, go get an Si. This is solidly just a snow mobile.
I know we have some CVT apologists on this site but I remain firm in my CVT=no dice stance.
I’m with you. A CVT is a non-starter for me when car shopping. A number of vehicles were removed from consideration for me when I was vehicle shopping a few months ago because of this. Maybe they are getting better, but I’m seeing these creep up to larger and larger vehicles and engines and I really worry about the longevity of the transmissions. I hope I’m wrong, but I won’t be convinced until I start seeing these lasting regularly for 150,000+ miles and 8-10 years.
Having written a 1000-word CVT apology on this site previously… I’m with you on this one.
I ended up with a CVT because I was shopping used and needed A Car. Assuming you’re OK with buying 5 quarts of Amsoil transmission fluid every 30k miles to keep the belted bastard happy, a CVT is an entirely cromulent transmission for a used transportation appliance.
But if I’m buying new, shelling out over $20k for a car in the year 2023? Absofuckinglutely not. We have reliable dual-clutch automatics, planetary e-CVTs, and the ZF 8-speed exists.
CVTs are like touchscreen controls: 15 years ago, they were technologically advanced, but today they’re just a reminder that the automaker is being cheap and lazy.
CVTs are fine in the correct application. The CVT is great in my wife’s Accord hybrid. It smooths out everything and helps with fuel efficiency, and if you want/need to accelerate hard the electric motor provides instant torque. I’m a tightwad so I drive it like an old man to get the best numbers. The one time I have driven it hard it was very responsive. I don’t know how well the CVT works in the ICE version though as I’ve never drive one.
Totally agree. The Honda hybrid/CVT combo is excellent for a commuter. I did see a low power warning a few weeks ago though when it was -30 and the battery was unavailable until it warmed up. Not a real complaint, that’s why I bought a hybrid and not an EV.
At least the fake gears are still optional! So you can still drive it like a regular CVT if you want 🙂
Fake shifting in a CVT is fucking stupid
My wife has a 2014 with the CVT. I’m happy the car has fake shifting over nothing at all. I use them all the time. Instead of mushy response off the line, you put it “in first” and get a much more responsive pedal. I downshift constantly approaching lights, saving brake wear. I can lock in a gear for highway overtakes. I know it isn’t a manual, but it does make the lower powered engine and spongy CVT considerably more responsive, and I’d rather have the option than not.
The biggest benefit of a CVT is on the highway, not having gear shifts is great, and it stays in the efficiency band so fuel economy can be improved as well.
Agreed, I used them almost every day on windy roads to keep it in “second” and it made the car way more enjoyable. I get the hate for CVTs but there are worse options out there for a DD.
Toyota actually has a CVT with a *real* first gear, on the Corolla.
‘saving brake wear’
I vividly remember wrenching to CarTalk one Sat when they laughed about this:
“Save your $8 brake pads by using your $150 clutch?” -iconic laughter ensued.
It was a Come To Jesus moment for me realizing that much of the car lore I had learned was based on systems designed decades before. Engine braking made much more sense with tiny drum brakes from the 50s & 60s. Of course, I still use it on steep/long grades, but I’ll now throw it in neutral a block before a red light & coast in.
Makes me think of the fake oil pressure gauges recently discussed.
“a tire pressure monitoring system that displays the status of individual wheels”
That this is not a mandated feature is quite annoying. I own a MY2020 vehicle that cost a lot more than this Impreza that just has the idiot light, meaning on a cold morning when one tire slips 2 psi below the warning threshold I need to get out and check all of them.
Or the status of the individual sensors. I have a Focus that does Ford’s famous intermittent “tire pressure sensor fault” thing. I always suspect one of them got dropped on the ground/scrambled a little when I got new tires.
But of course, it’s a general fault thing, literally displaying that line of text, so there’s no way to know which sensor is bad without getting whatever the scan tool is to find out.
Especially since GM had this since ~2007 on a lot of cars. I thought it silly that Toyota didn’t put individual readouts on the Camry when I worked at a dealer in 2013, but then I was extremely surprised that my 2018 GTI doesn’t. My 2015 Optima would at least tell me which wheel was low, so I didn’t have to run around the car to check.
That said, Subaru didn’t even put automatic power locks on a lot of models until a few years ago.
I definitely had individual pressures on a 2008 G8.
My dad’s 2008 Aura had it, and I *think* that was a new addition over the ’07 intro, but they were definitely rolling it out across new product then.
My wife’s 2018 Crosstrek has this and it’s really handy to know which tire is a bit low.
My 2018 BRZ does NOT have this, just the general “one of your 4 tires is low” light. Same make, same year, but different features :-/
New ones have individual pressures.
Absolutely! This was a requirement when I got my last car. I had the stupid warning light and I would have to pull over and check when it happened. I hated that. Especially on a rainy or snowy day. Now if a tire is a few PSI down I monitor it and if it doesn’t go down more I keep it moving. I don’t care what else the car has and if I love everything else about it, if it doesn’t have that I’m not buying it.
Fun story: When my Mazda5 got a flat tire, I put on the spare, and threw the wheel in the back. The whole time we drove like that there was a flat tire warning on the dash! After checking all of the tires twice, it occurred to me that the tire in the trunk was still sending signals to the dash. It was a very basic system.
I always just top off my cars’ tires on the first cold winter morning of the season, because running even marginally low pressure will negatively impact a car’s efficiency and suspension characteristics. I don’t wait for my car to tell me the pressure is low.
Even if I did, the solution wouldn’t be to hunt down the tire with the lowest pressure and add 2-3 psi to bring it barely back into spec. The solution is to bring all four of them up to the recommended psi, because if one is low enough to trigger the warning on a cold day, chances are the other three are nearly as bad.
Outside of temperature-related pressure issues, it’s generally gonna be obvious which tire is having a problem because most other things that affect tire pressure will affect it enough be clearly visible if you go out and look at the tires.
Having the car tell you which tire is low is a nice feature, and I agree there’s absolutely no reason why modern cars shouldn’t all have it since the car itself definitely has that information, and providing it to the driver is just a few lines of code. It’s not really a big deal to me, though.
Gonna take a pass on this – just like every other car on the road will.
Damn. A base Impreza hatch was $20k in 2020 just before covid, with the now-dearly-departed manual. Feature creep’s a helluva drug.
Forget 2020, a ’23 base Impreza sedan is $20,815 and hatch $21,815.
Yeah, but no manual, which “nplnt” specifically noted, and which might make the deal sweeter for me.
To me, CVTs are DAF-fy, and I don’t want one.
That was my first thought on seeing the new prices..
Since the Ford Maverick is unobtainium, been looking idly at what might work instead. A Kia Niro hybrid gets similar mileage at a similar price point, loses the open bed and cargo space, but still has decent clearance for mild offroads. Then I saw the 23 Impreza hatch price and thought that might be my next car. Not at that price though.
I was going to say the same thing (and did on Twitter). We leased a base 2019 hatch and I’m pretty sure the MSRP was at or around $20k.
(on a side note, once the pandemic hit we stopped driving it and only drove our Mazda CX5 – to the point that after a few months we took it back to the dealer and they happily bought us out of the lease)