The modern Subaru Impreza has always been a good car – not an especially interesting one, but a good one. That's true of the new 2024 model, which doesn't get much flashier but improves on the outgoing car in most of the ways that matter. This new model is better looking and a bit quieter, plus it’s pretty darn affordable with a base $24,115 asking price.
Upgrading to the RS model, which adds a bigger 2.5-liter engine and some aesthetic tweaks, still costs less than $30,000. The RS model tested here, which has a sunroof and fancy paint, is only $31,045. But the return of the RS badge to the Impreza range probably won’t be a smash hit with enthusiasts – for a few reasons.
|2024 Subaru Impreza RS
|182 Horsepower / 178 Pound-Feet
|$22,995 + $1,120 Destination
|Price As Tested
The good news is that this Impreza looks way better than did last year. The front end has more edge thanks to slimmer headlights and a wider grille, while the taillights boast a new angular design. The RS model improves that already attractive styling with bigger 18-inch wheels finished in dark gray, and the optional Oasis Blue paint is worth the $395 splurge.
And it’s a hatchback, which is rare these days. The five-door adds some much-needed functionality to the segment with a solid 20.4 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 56.0 cubes with the second row folded flat. That’s more than a Crosstrek (19.9 / 54.7), which is odd given the two share a bodyshell.
The new Impreza looks way better than did last year.
But in terms of driving dynamics, the RS falls a bit flat. The bigger 2.5-liter engine does give it some extra go, as opposed to the 2.0-liter unit that's standard on all other trims. The Impreza RS has 182 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque instead of the 152 hp and 145 lb-ft on the base model. It accelerates with okay verve, but don't count on the continuously variable transmission to be all that exciting – or refined – as the Impreza whines its way to 60 miles per hour.
Chucking the Subaru into a corner is decently fun. The horizontally opposed engine gives the car a nice low center of gravity while the suspension is squishy but well-sorted. Subaru made the Impreza's chassis 10 percent stiffer this year, and that helps quash body roll. The steering is electrically boosted to hell, as most Subarus are, but it does offer decent feedback at least.
When you're not flinging it around, the Impreza is compliant. Not only is it more rigid this year but quieter too; Subaru added extra sound deadening for 2024. While it certainly isn't coffin-like, you won't have to yell at your passengers to have a conversation at 70 miles per hour. And having standard all-wheel drive makes the Impreza an excellent choice for buyers in inclement weather; the Mazda3 is the only other hatch that even offers it.
Just don't count on the continuously variable transmission to be all that exciting – or refined...
The one downside is that the interior feels cheap – no surprise there, given the previous Impreza's flimsy-feeling cabin. The Honda Civic hatch and Mazda3 are both way more premium. More hard plastics are within reach and shiny black stuff covers most of the center console. At least this RS model offers comfy black and red cloth seats.
The 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen is the focal point of the cabin and it runs Subaru's latest Starlink infotainment system. It looks great, but the functionality is pretty poor; touch responsiveness is slow, the graphics already look outdated, and there's way too much baked into the screen – like the HVAC controls at the base of the display. At least Subaru had the wherewithal to keep some hard buttons for things like volume, tuning, and temperature controls.
The Verdict: The 2024 Subaru Impreza is a good economy car, un-flashy as it may be. The five-door layout makes it an instant option for buyers wanting an affordable car with extra space, and all-wheel drive makes it a good option for inclement weather. But the historic RS badge barely adds anything to the equation beyond power; the driving dynamics are just okay and you will have to settle for sub-par interior quality and so-so acceleration. That's the price you pay when you're only shelling out less than $30,000.
Gallery: 2024 Subaru Impreza RS Review
2024 Subaru Impreza RS