Offered as a sedan or hatchback, the 2019 Subaru Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, yet remains competitive with its rivals in the areas of pricing, fuel economy and safety. The Impreza’s resale values are near best in class, and Subaru offers its impressive EyeSight driver-assist system on every trim.
You'll Like The 2019 Subaru Impreza If...
In the 2019 Subaru Impreza, you’ll find a comfortable compact with a big back seat, impressive fuel economy and the added bonus of standard all-wheel drive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are along for the ride, too, as is the availability of Subaru’s excellent EyeSight driver-assist system.
You May Not Like The 2019 Subaru Impreza If...
If you’re looking for a sporty drive, a slick-shifting manual transmission and lots of power, the Mazda3, VW GTI and Honda Civic run circles around the Impreza. Those hoping to venture off-road will be better served by the added ground clearance found on the Impreza-based Crosstrek.
For 2019, Subaru now offers EyeSight on every Impreza trim and makes it standard on the Limited grade, along with reverse automatic braking and high-beam assist. SiriusXM satellite radio is finally part of the Premium trim’s new 6.5-inch Starlink audio, as is a single-disc CD player.
The Impreza’s interior is pleasant, but not revolutionary. Subaru uses extensive upscale materials and soft-touch surfaces on the dash and doors, and the seats are supportive offering excellent legroom both front and rear. Models without Eyesight employ red backlighting for the instrument cluster, while cars with it get an upgraded instrument panel with white backlighting and a 4.2-inch color LCD display. All audio systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, meaning there’s no need to pay extra for a navigation upgrade. All that back-seat legroom comes at the expense of cargo space, however, with the Impreza sedan offering only 12.3 cubic feet, and the hatchback 20.8.
Subaru has managed to keep the Impreza instantly familiar while simultaneously making it longer, lower and wider than its predecessor. Credit the grille and headlight treatments, but the rear end and surface detail are all what we expect from Subaru's compact car. But it's integrated with a long roof and coupe-like design that's much more modern than the stubby car from a couple years ago. More important is the hatchback, which actually accounts for 60 percent of Impreza sales in defiance of the usual trend favoring sedans. This hatchback is a looker, and it now shares its built-in roof-rack attachments with the sedan.
There's no escaping it: The 2019 Subaru Impreza is lacking under the hood. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder puts out 152 horsepower, but it has more than 3,000 pounds of Subaru to lug around, and it never feels sporty. It's a shame, because the chassis feels like it could easily handle more power. The steering feels lively and direct in your hands, and the suspension offers up surprising grip, even on lower-end models. On the highway or around town, it's also quieter than you might expect, thanks to a stiff chassis and impressive sound deadening. The engine can be paired with either a 5-speed manual transmission, or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that uses steering-wheel-mounted paddles to simulate the feel of a traditional 7-speed automatic. However, while enthusiasts will gravitate to the manual, they'll also hope a more powerful engine makes it under the hood.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2019 Subaru Impreza 2.0i starts at about $19,480 including the $885 destination charge, making it the least expensive all-wheel-drive vehicle you can buy. The better-equipped Premium model starts around $22,500. For more luxury, the Impreza Limited starts just under the $26,000 mark. If you want a little more driving fun, the Sport model is about $23,000 if you want a manual transmission, or $23,900 with an automatic. Those prices are for sedans -- add about $500 if you want a hatchback. Load up a Limited with all the options and you're still looking at less than $30,000, making the Impreza easily competitive against the Honda Civic, Mazda3 and Ford Focus, none of which offers all-wheel drive. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their new Impreza, and note that the Impreza is consistently a class winner in resale value.
The primary differentiator between the 2019 Subaru Impreza and its competition is standard all-wheel drive, even in the base model. That base model hits the essentials in other ways as well. The Impreza 2.0i includes a Starlink audio system that brings a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also on tap are a rearview camera, air conditioning, standard cruise control and incline-start assist. The Impreza 2.0i comes with a 5-speed manual transmission with the CVT automatic as an option. On the rest of the lineup, the CVT is standard.
According to Subaru, the 2.0i Premium is the volume leader, adding a 7-speed manual shift mode for the CVT, better shocks, an updated audio system, and luxury touches like welcome lighting and illuminated power-window switches. The Impreza Sport adds more aggressive wheels, tires and suspension settings, red stitching on the dash and doors, and a better audio system with an expanded touch-screen interface. Topping the lineup is the Limited, which features a 6-way-power driver's seat, EyeSight, steering-responsive headlights and more. EyeSight is available as a stand-alone option or can be bundled with a moonroof, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot detection.
STANDARD ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is virtually undetectable, yet push the Impreza through a sharp curve or down a snow-covered road, and you’ll quickly come to wonder how you ever lived without it. Best of all, the system doesn’t adversely affect the Impreza’s fuel economy or price.
EYESIGHT DRIVER ASSIST
Available on every Impreza, the EyeSight system employs windshield-mounted stereo cameras to observe driving conditions. The system can maintain a safe distance from the car ahead, warn when you’re drifting from your lane and even slow or stop the car in the event of an impending collision.
Under the Hood
While each Impreza grade is different, they all share one common element: a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter flat-4 boxer engine with 145 lb-ft of torque. While not big on power, the Impreza’s engine is easy on gas, especially when paired with the CVT automatic. Only the base 2.0i and Sport offer a 5-speed manual, a pairing that allows drivers a bit more speed for passing and merging, but lower fuel-economy numbers. Other compact cars share similar horsepower and torque numbers, but the added weight of the all-wheel-drive system makes the Impreza feel like it’s always struggling to keep up.
152 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/32 mpg (manual, sedan), 28/38 mpg (automatic, sedan), 23/31 mpg (manual, Sport sedan), 27/36 mpg (automatic, Sport sedan), 24/31 mpg (manual, hatchback), 28/36 mpg (automatic, hatchback), 22/30 mpg (manual, Sport hatchback) , 27/35 mpg (automatic, Sport hatchback)
Where some compact cars struggle for attention, the 2019 Subaru Impreza remains a favorite among Subaru loyalists and first-time buyers alike. For most, the Impreza’s unbeatable combination of safety, reliability, capability and affordability is hard to pass up. Sure, the Mazda3 is more fun to drive, and the Nissan Sentra is more affordable, but neither offers the Impreza’s standard all-wheel drive, a must for anyone who’s lived through a Northeast winter. On the safety front, Subaru’s EyeSight system is one of the best collision-avoidance setups around, and the Impreza’s resale and reliability numbers have the competition seeing red. Sure, the Impreza’s 2.0-liter flat-4 suffers from a lack of power, but if you want speed, there’s always the WRX.