- Choice of sedan or hatchback styles
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Keen pricing & robust resale values
- Weak engine
- Aging model
- No significant changes this year
The 2023 Subaru Impreza is a compact car available in sedan or hatchback form. Some people are just big Subaru fans anyway, but the factor that could sway the decision for others is standard all-wheel drive, which is unmatched by any rival. Prices start at $19,795.
Wherever snow is a regular visitor, there are Subarus
aplenty. In places like these, there’s a lot to be said for a basic 2023 Subaru Impreza. Owners may prefer the cheap steel wheels instead of alloys as the set that wears the winter tires. The right rubber and an all-wheel-drive system can handle many rough conditions.
When the sun comes out, though, and dry roads bring the potential for more fun, the Impreza loses some of its luster compared with newer, faster, and more refined contenders like the Honda
Civic and Mazda3
If you have trouble deciding, let the amount of thermal underwear you own be one of your guides.
2023 Subaru Impreza pricing
The most affordable new Impreza is a base sedan model with the manual transmission. It has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $19,795, plus a destination charge. The hatchback equivalent begins at $20,295. Swapping the transmission for an automatic is an extra $1,300.
The top trim of the 2023 Impreza lineup is Limited, which comes solely as a hatchback and starts at $27,395. A $2,350 option package for this model brings a powered moonroof, navigation, and an 8-speaker/432-watt Harman Kardon audio system.
Although the 2023 Impreza is one of the cheapest new compact cars, its rivals can still be compelling — and priced in the low $20K range. For example, the Honda Civic is a much newer model. The Mazda3 brings the fun factor as well as an arguably handsome exterior and an almost luxurious interior. Then there’s the ever-dependable Toyota
Corolla and well-equipped Hyundai
Before buying a new Impreza, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for theirs. The Impreza retains its value extremely well, only beaten by the Civic in this regard.
Driving the 2023 Subaru Impreza
It’s really saying something when a generally unliked continuously variable transmission (CVT) is more recommendable than a manual transmission. If the 5-speed stick-shift in some versions of the 2023 Impreza was pleasant to use, we might think more highly of it. But it’s primitive and clunky, and makes the car thirstier.
Just because one of the trim levels is called Sport doesn’t mean it will be an exciting drive. Excitement is not an Impreza specialty, with only 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque simmering in the engine bay.
However, the Sport model does have a slightly firmer suspension than the rest of the range and employs its all-wheel-drive system to create active torque vectoring. By adjusting the amount of power going to certain wheels, torque vectoring can help the car track through a corner with optimum precision and reduce understeer — where the front tires begin to lose grip, pushing the nose wide, and the only other way to conquer it is to ease off the throttle.
Some might consider design flair inside the 2023 Impreza lacking. But that’s really not important with a cabin so well thought out from the standpoint of user-friendliness. Materials and build quality are also good for the class and the car’s age.
Those sitting up front have plenty of space. Rear passengers will also be fairly happy, with 37.2 inches of headroom and 36.5 inches of legroom. Both the sedan and hatch versions have 60/40 split/folding rear seats.
The sedan’s trunk space measures 12.3 cubic feet — the Honda Civic does better. The Impreza hatchback offers greater practicality. There’s a luggage area of 20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats, opening to 55.3 cubic feet when folded down.
Anyone looking to buy a new Impreza can choose a sedan with a trunk, or a hatchback. They might want to look past the base trim with its 16-inch steel wheels and check out the next-up Premium model for alloy rims. The Premium hatchback gains roof rails as well.
The one exception to this sedan-or-hatch arrangement is the top Limited trim, which comes only as a hatchback. This variant is also fitted with full LED headlights and LED daytime running lights.
Six cool features
1. All-wheel drive
As with most other Subarus, all-wheel drive is standard in the 2023 Impreza. Yet it doesn’t cost more than its front-drive rivals and still achieves decent fuel economy.
2. Automatic transmission
The base model has a manual transmission, but most buyers will spend the extra cash and go for the automatic. As a bonus, driver aids like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking also come on board.
This is Subaru’s array of driver assistance features that come standard in every new Impreza with an automatic transmission. As well as forward collision warning, it includes lane-keeping assistance/lane-departure warning and a rear-seat reminder.
4. Infotainment system
Although the standard touchscreen size is a disappointingly small 6.5 inches, this system comes with Apple
CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration as standard and is quite easy to use. Satellite radio comes in at the Premium level. Sport and Limited trims gain an 8-inch touchscreen.
5. Steering-responsive headlights
These come in the top Limited trim and follow the steering angle. They shine into corners and can give drivers an extra bit of reaction time if a bend obscures a hazard.
6. Harman Kardon audio system
Only optional in the Sport and Limited versions of the 2023 Impreza, sadly, but this sweet-sounding 8-speaker/432-watt setup can make long trips or long traffic jams feel much shorter.
Engine and transmission
A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine provides the 2023 Impreza compact car with 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque.
Both the base sedan and hatchback models have a 5-speed manual transmission as standard — so does the hatchback in Sport trim. The rest of the lineup comes with an automatic transmission. In every iteration, power goes to all four wheels.
These fuel economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency relate to 2022, but there shouldn’t be any changes for 2023.
152 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (manual, sedan), 24/31 mpg (manual, hatchback), 28/36 mpg (automatic, sedan/hatchback), 27/36 mpg (Sport sedan, automatic), 22/30 mpg (Sport hatchback, manual), 27/35 mpg (Sport hatchback, automatic)
KBB’s car review methodology.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.