Review: Subaru Impreza (2014 – 2018)
Safe and predictable handling. Impressive grip levels. Good sized boot. Decent standard equipment.
Only one engine choice. High emissions. Drab interior.
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Subaru Impreza (2014 – 2018): At A Glance
- Insurance Group 14
- On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure
The credit crunch was bad news for Subaru. A poor exchange rate with the Japanese Yen meant increased prices and poor sales – so the Impreza hatchback was dropped from the UK line up. Now that the economy has picked up it is back on sale – though the range is limited to one engine and one trim level.
All models get a 114PS 1.6-litre petrol. In typical Subaru style it is a boxer engine linked to full-time all-wheel drive. It’s a proper all-wheel drive system, complete with a low-range transmission boxr for particularly treacherous conditions. Subaru doesn’t offer a front-wheel drive version.
That narrows the appeal of the Impreza of course – but Subaru doesn’t expect the Impreza to be bought by typical family hatchback customers. Instead it’s aimed at the rural buyer who needs to get to and from work year-round in all weathers – and it does a very good job, with tremendous levels of grip and traction.
It’s very hard to get the Impreza stuck thanks to the massive amount of traction afforded by the all-wheel drive system and on-board computers. The ride quality is good, even over rough surfaces – plus you’ll even manage some light off-roading – gravel tracks and muddy farmyards can be tackled with ease.
Unfortunately the Impreza is a bit of a one-trick pony. It’s a capable car, but the cabin is drab and there’s nothing remarkable about the looks or price. Furthermore, official fuel economy is poor at 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions are high at 147g/km.
On the plus side, standard equipment is good. Even entry-level models get automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, alloy wheels, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Even so, the appeal of the Impreza is limited. If you really want rugged, all-seasons capability in a family hatch it's a decent choice – but for everyone else there are better alternatives.
What does a Subaru Impreza (2014 – 2018) cost?
Subaru Impreza (2014 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 380–1270 litres
The Impreza might be a capable hatchback, but it’s also one of the dullest when it comes to its cabin. The quality seems much improved over old Subaru models, with a soft-touch dashboard covering among the changes, but there’s a lot of grey plastic and a general lack of flair or character.
Most of the controls are simple enough to work, but the buttons, dials and switches all feel on the crude side. One embellishment is a multi-function display, but it’s among the smallest colour screens available in a car, which doesn’t do it any favours. Thankfully there’s nothing to confuse – the controls are all easy enough to get to grips with.
Space isn’t too bad. Adults will fit in the back row with a bit of space to spare, while the boot offers a decent capacity of 380 litres, expandable to 1270 litres with seats folded. That’s more than you get with a Ford Focus and is the same as you'll find in the Volkswagen Golf.
Standard equipment is good – all models get 16-inch alloy wheels , reversing camera, auto lights, auto wipers and heated front seats. The options list is fairly small and buyers can only specify leather seats and a Pioneer navigation system, the latter of which is probably best avoided – an aftermarket navigation system is cheaper and more user-friendly.
Impreza RC is the only trim level. It comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, electric windows front and rear, heated front seats, parking camera, hill start assist, automatic lights, automatic wipers, dual zone climate control, USB/AUX connection, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control and tyre pressure monitoring.
Child seats that fit a Subaru Impreza (2014 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Subaru Impreza (2014 – 2018) like to drive?
Subaru only offers one engine in the Impreza – a 1.6-litre four-cylinder boxer. Unlike most similar smaller engines, it doesn't have a turbocharger so peak power is only 114PS with torque of 115Nm. That means it's far from the most powerful engine around and acceleration from 0-62mph takes a pedestrian 12.3 seconds. Sadly that leisurely performance doesn’t equate to good fuel economy either, which is unimpressive at 44.1mpg while emissions are 147g/km.
Fortunately Subaru models tend to come close to matching their official figures in real world driving, plus there are some more benefits to the boxer layout. The unusual design means the engine effectively lays on its side, which gives a lower centre of gravity and improves handling.
This is helped even further by a standard-fit, full-time all-wheel drive system and impressive suspension. Traction is excellent – it’s very difficult to get the Impreza out of shape, which makes it the ideal car for rural drivers who have to contend with poor road conditions, such as ice, mud and snow.
The transmission has a selectable low-range, which is designed for steeper hills or particularly slippery surfaces. Ground clearance isn’t great though – this isn’t so much an off-roader as a very capable hatchback. If that’s what you need from a car, there isn’t much on sale to touch the Impreza aside from the larger Skoda Octavia Scout
Ride quality is very good – rough surfaces are dealt with comfortably and quietly, but it’s not all good news. There’s noticeable wind noise and the engine sounds gruff when worked hard – and you’ll have to work it hard to extract any useful acceleration from it. Furthermore the steering could do with a bit more weight and the gear change could be slicker.
Drivers who want an automatic can choose Subaru’s CVT transmission, which is smooth and quiet at low speeds and copes well when accelerating gently. However it gets very loud when pushed hard – when overtaking, for example – but this is typical of all CVT automatic gearboxes. The CVT auto has no selectable low range mode.
|1.6||44 mpg||12.3 s||147 g/km|
|1.6 Lineartronic||46 mpg||12.6 s||140 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Subaru Impreza (2014 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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Is £16,495 too much to pay for a pre-registered, very low mileage Subaru Impreza?
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