2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Review

Is it better to look fast than to be fast?


Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer



Positives: Good steering and handling, attractive looks, excellent all-wheel drive, and a smooth and easy to use infotainment system.
Negatives: Underpowered engine that makes a lot of noise, performance can't back up the looks, needs more lumbar support, glare from the glossy infotainment screen.
Bottom Line: The Subaru Impreza is a perfect car for anyone who needs an affordable all-wheel compact sedan and isn't too worried about going fast. The 2.0i Sport trim level adds some additional equipment and gives the car and overall sporty look. If that's important to you, then you'll love the car at this trim level. If all-wheel drive isn't a top concern, you may consider shopping around this segment, as some cars from other automakers offer better comfort and performance for the price.
 View Our 2017 Subaru Impreza Overview
The Subaru Impreza is the car that was the basis for the WRX sports sedan. The Impreza is the all-wheel drive commuter car for the masses. It’s the car for the people who find the WRX a little too tough to live with and expensive. Folks like the Impreza because it offers standard all-wheel drive in an easy to live with package.

The 2.0i Sport trim level ups the ante with a sport-tuned suspension system and a more racy appearance. It's like a WRX with a lot of amenities and less power. We drove the Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport for a week to really get to know the car. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

7

 

If only the Subaru Impreza had more power. The car looks fast, has a sporty ride, and good steering, but its engine is near the bottom of the segment in terms of horsepower and torque. The naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder, just can’t compete with the other turbocharged cars in this segment. For commuters, the engine performs just fine and will get you around with ease no matter the weather, but a little extra power would be appreciated.

Ride Quality: The Impreza’s sport-tuned suspension is on the firmer side. The car feels composed over bumps and gaps in the road, but you feel the imperfections. If you’re looking for a silky smooth ride, there are other compacts that do a better job of soaking up bumps.

Acceleration: The Impreza might look it, but it isn’t fast. The car is one of the slowest in the segment, posting a 0-60 time of over eight and a half seconds.

Braking: The brakes are powerful and offer good pedal feel. They have no issue slowing down or stopping the car.

Steering: The Subaru Impreza’s steering is well-weighted and precise with sharp turn-in. We enjoyed piloting this car through turns and around bends. It’s very easy to control.

Handling: Due to the car’s good steering, tight suspension, and standard all-wheel drive, it attacks twisty stretches of road with gusto. It instills confidence in curves and is well-planted going into or coming out of a corner.

Technology

7.8

 

The Subaru Impreza comes with a split screen setup. The 8-inch touchscreen display features Subaru’s STARLINK cloud apps, connected services, and runs the optional Harmon Kardon audio system. The screen above that shows relevant vehicle information that is not displayed in the instrument cluster directly in front of the driver. It’s a useful setup but a bit cumbersome and odd looking.

Infotainment System: The touchscreen is quick and responsive. The graphics are clear, easy to see, and look very modern. It’s a good system, but the glossy finish on the screen can blind the drive with glare when the sun is at a certain level.

Controls: There’s a good mix of touchscreen controls and physical buttons and knobs. The knobs do feel on the cheaper side, but they worked fine and are well placed. The steering wheel controls are easy to use, too.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing an Android phone was quick and easy and re-pairing automatic.

Voice Call Quality: We experienced no issues with call connectivity. Voices were crisp and clear on both ends.

Styling

8.7

 

The Subaru Impreza looks like a fast car, especially in 2.0i Sport trim. The trim level adds some new trim pieces. This is one of the more interesting, sporty-looking commuter cars on the market, and the exterior and interior styling promise an experience the engine and transmission, unfortunately, can’t keep.

Front: The aggressive headlights, hood creases, and fender flares give the Impreza a sporty-looking face that many people will find appealing.

Rear: The rear features wraparound taillights and a trunk spoiler that has both the car’s body color and black gloss finish on it. This helps drive home that this is the sport trim for the model.

Profile: From the side, you can easily see the attractive 18-inch alloy wheels and fender flares. Subaru did a good job keeping the same amount of drama going all the way down the car.

Cabin: The cabin is attractive but the split screen setup on the dash is a little too busy for our liking. Also, the climate controls look outdated and cheap. The leather-wrapped steering wheel and instrument cluster are the nicest part of the car’s cabin.

Comfort

6.8

 

The Subaru Impreza’s interior does a good job of providing a competent level of comfort while keeping the price down. Some of the materials are on the cheaper side, and in other automaker’s cars you can get things like real leather seats for about the same cost, but overall, Subaru’s car is satisfying.

Front Seats: The manually adjustable front seats feature cloth upholstery with red contrast stitching. The seats provide good bolstering and a reasonable amount of cushioning but could use a lot more lumbar support. During longer drives, your lower back may begin to ache.

Rear Seats: The rear seats feature a good amount of leg and head room. Anyone of average height should be comfortable. Seating three across the rear seat will be tight. For short trips, it’s definitely doable.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Subaru Impreza feels solid and well-built. We noticed no shakes or rattles over rough pavement. Our only complaint is that the engine when mated to the CVT, drones on a bit under heavy acceleration. It can get quite loud.

Visibility: The Impreza has good front, rear, and side visibility. The rear deck above the trunk doesn’t obscure the view behind you, and the backup camera comes in handy in parking situations.

Climate: The Impreza we drove came equipped with a manually adjustable HVAC system and heated seats. While automatic climate controls would have been nice, the system kept the cabin at the selected temperature.

Safety

9.8

 

If you’re looking for a safe compact sedan, the Subaru Impreza fits the bill. It’s hard to find a vehicle that’s safer than this car. It received the very best ratings from the IIHS. It sits atop the segment, beating the Honda Civic, Mazda3, and Hyundai Elantra, which are all extremely safe cars in their own rights.

IIHS Rating: The Subaru Impreza is a Top Safety Pick+. It aced all of the IIHS’s tests by getting the top possible rating in every single category.

Standard Tech: The Impreza has plenty of standard safety equipment, including vehicle dynamics control, ABS with brake assist, a brake override system, daytime running lights, a backup camera, and tire pressure monitoring.

Optional Tech: The tester we drove had blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane departure and sway warning as well as lane keep assist.

Storage/Cargo

7.3

 

In terms of storage and cargo space, the Subaru Impreza needs to be able to handle the everyday needs of modern families. This means a fair amount of interior storage space for electronics, personal bags, and other everyday carry items. The car does a good job by offering easy to use storage spaces, but it doesn’t surprise us. Interior storage capacity is just on par for the segment.

Storage Space: The small bin in front of the shifter works perfectly for your phone, keys, or other items you keep in your pockets that you want to keep within reach. Anything else of relatively small size should fit in the space under the arm rest or the two cup holders in the center console.

Cargo Room: The Impreza has 12.3 cubic feet of space in its trunk. That’s less than the Honda Civic sedan and the Hyundai Elantra and almost exactly the same as the Mazda3 sedan.

Fuel Economy

7.5

 

The Subaru Impreza is geared towards folks who need a reliable and good to drive commuter car for all environments. Because the car is a general consumer automobile, fuel consumption has to be a major concern. The Impreza keeps fuel consumption to a minimum, but if you look at the competition, like the Honda Civic, you'll find that the Impreza isn't top of the class. Then again, it does offer standard all-wheel drive, which saps more fuel. The competition doesn’t.

Observed: 28.6 mpg combined.

Distance Driven: 275 miles.

Driving Factors: We drove a mix of highway and city miles. We were fairly heavy on the throttle for more than half the week and drove more conservatively during our last few days with the car. If you drove carefully, you could average about 30 mpg.

Audio

8.2

 

The Harmon Kardon audio system with 8 speakers provides excellent sound to all areas of the cabin. It sounds great at any volume. It is a little steep, though. The optional package on our tester was $2,945, but did include several other features.



Final Thoughts

The Subaru Impreza is an excellent car for anyone interested in an all-wheel drive compact that comes well-equipped from a safety and infotainment standpoint. It will satisfy in most situations. The 2.0i Sport trim ups the visual appeal of the car and its handling capabilities but doesn't make it any faster. If you’re after something with a little more flair, but don’t need the performance chops that come with the WRX, it’s a smart choice.
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