New vs Used: Subaru Impreza

Subaru just introduced its all-new Impreza and we’re out to find out if it’s worth the cash or if you’d be better off buying a used model.

The Most Lauded Model in Subaru’s Long History

The Impreza is one of Subaru’s most storied models and for 2024 it’s all new. It also costs more than ever before. Is it worth that extra cash? To find out, we’re going to compare it to itself from just a year ago. We’ll talk about specs, driving performance, interior comfort, trims, and features. Then we’ll crown a winner and tell you why you’d be better off spending your cash on one or the other.


2023 Subaru Impreza 2.0L H4 -
2023 Subaru Impreza 2.0L H4 -

For 2023, Subaru sold the Impreza with two body styles, a sedan and a hatchback. Both used the same 152 hp flat four-cylinder engine and came standard with all-wheel drive. Buyers could get either a continuously variable transmission or a manual gearbox. Pricing for a used 2023 Impreza stands anywhere from around $18,000 up through about $24,000 depending on options, trim, and condition. According to the EPA, the Impreza achieved up to 27 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway.

2024 Subaru Impreza 2.5L H4 -
2024 Subaru Impreza 2.5L H4 -

The all-new 2024 Impreza is only available as a hatchback but still comes standard with all-wheel drive. It also employs the same old four-cylinder engine from the previous generation and still makes the same 152 horsepower. It also gets the same CVT from 2023 and the manual option is gone. It actually gets worse fuel economy figures, 27 and 34 respectively. Wasn’t this supposed to be all-new?

Thankfully, Subaru has seen fit to include a new RS trim in the lineup and it’s not just a bunch of styling tweaks. Well, there are some “sporty” styling differences but what matters most is that under the hood lurks a 182 hp 2.5-liter engine. No, it’s not going to set anybody’s hair on fire but it’s progress. With that progress comes a higher price though. The new Impreza starts at $24,000 and can cost just shy of $29,000 for the RS model.

Driving and Performance

2023 Subaru Impreza -

2023 Subaru Impreza –  |  Shop Used Subaru Impreza on

The Impreza hasn’t been what we’d call a driver’s car since its STI heyday but that doesn’t mean that it’s all bad. It might be woefully slow but the chassis is pretty stiff which makes it feel good in the bends. Steering feedback is above average too which makes piloting the Impreza very easy in tight parking lots or on twisty roads. We also like how responsive the brake pedal is. A quick stab is met with an appropriate response and smooth engagement likewise provides linear performance.

Interestingly, as we mentioned with the 2023 Impreza, the manual transmission is disappointing so in a choice of two evils we’d probably go for the CVT. More on that later though. Would we love to see Subaru lean back into its rally roots? Absolutely, but the Impreza has been a cheap reliable economy car for even longer and it still is.

2024 Subaru Impreza -

2024 Subaru Impreza –  |  Shop New Subaru Impreza on

The 2024 Impreza drives and handles largely the same as the 2023 model but there are a few little differences worth talking about. Firstly, the steering is even sharper, no doubt in part because Subaru took the design it uses for the WRX and employed it here. Secondly, this chassis is even stiffer than in the old car. Combine just those two improvements and the Impreza feels one tiny baby step closer to a car we’d be excited to drive.

Other improvements add to that feeling including standard torque vectoring which allows the Impreza to handle a touch more sharply. Finally, the new 2.5-liter engine is a big step in the right direction. It’s far from perfect and would do better with a turbocharger but 182 hp feels like what the base Impreza should have. While some cars on the market have engines that far exceed the chassis control of the car they’re in, the Impreza is the opposite. This chassis could handle a lot more power than it gets.

Comfort and Interior

2023 Subaru Impreza -
2023 Subaru Impreza -

Practicality reigns supreme in the cabin of the 2023 Impreza. What the company seemingly saved on performance innovations it’s spent on making this interior feel top-notch. Sure, there are some hard plastics here and there but that’s true of just about any car regardless of price.

What’s impressive about the Impreza is that it looks and feels premium despite its price tag. The panels all fit beautifully, the switchgear feels good, and the layout is elegant, easy to use, and logically laid out. The seats are comfortable in the front and in the back and boast above-average headroom and legroom. The trunk also holds up to 20.8 cubic feet of cargo.

2024 Subaru Impreza -
2024 Subaru Impreza -

The 2024 Impreza actually improves on the 2023 model by offering an even more polished design and a quieter cabin. The seats are more ergonomic too. The other differences between the two models are very subtle. For instance, there’s a clever little step near the rear seats so that accessing the roof to secure cargo is that much safer and easier. The seats still don’t fold down flat but they’re less in the way in the down position than those in the 2023 model. Cargo space behind the second row is basically identical though.

Trims and Features

2023 Subaru Impreza Limited -
2023 Subaru Impreza Limited -

The 2023 Impreza came in four trim levels.

Base – 16-inch wheels, power exterior mirrors, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a 6.5-inch infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, four speakers, and a USB port were all standard. Subaru’s safety suite, EyeSight, was standard too so long as you went for the CVT. That’s wildly disappointing but at least CVT customers got adaptive cruise control, lane-departure mitigation, and collision mitigation.

Premium – This trim adds an upgraded suspension, automatic headlights, fog lights, heated mirrors, remote start, heated front seats, and integrated satellite radio. It also has six speakers instead of four and two USB ports instead of one.

Sport – The Sport trim is little more than an appearance package. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, sport cloth seats with red stitching, sport suspension tuning, a rear spoiler, a brake-induced torque vectoring system, and an 8-inch infotainment system.

Limited – The top trim added 17-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

2024 Subaru Impreza RS -
2024 Subaru Impreza RS -

The 2024 Impreza comes in just three trim levels starting out with the Base.

Base – 16-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch dual-screen infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and four speakers. Since the manual transmission is gone, every Impreza now comes with EyeSight.

Sport – This trim adds 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, premium cloth upholstery, an 11.6-inch infotainment screen, a digital driver information display, integrated navigation, and six speakers in total.

RS – The RS gets the bigger engine along with dark gray wheels, heated wipers, heated front seats, heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and access to other premium features like a sunroof, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a Harman Kardon sound system.

The Verdict

2023 Subaru Imprezas -

2023 Subaru Imprezas –  |  Shop Used Subaru Impreza on

The Impreza is a car focused so heavily on practicality that we too think that the winner should simply be the more practical of the two. With that in mind it’s hard to think that the new Impreza is worth what could be an additional $10,000 depending on the trim one considers. A used 2023 or 2022 Impreza offers almost everything that we like about the 2024 but does so for thousands less. Notably, Subaru’s warranty coverage is transferable too so if you pick up one with mileage remaining on the warranty, it’s still covered. That makes the used 2023 Impreza the one we’d spend our cash on. Be sure to check out this guide on negotiating the best price for your next used car.

Related Buy Smart: New vs Used Articles

New vs. Used: Volkswagen Taos

New vs. Used: Chrysler 300

New vs Used Chevrolet Trailblazer

Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion, extending to nearly all car cultures. After obtaining an occupational studies degree in sports medicine, Stephen turned his attention to sports cars. He was employed as an auto shop manager, spent time in auto sales, and worked as a software developer for a racing company, but Stephen began writing about cars over 10 years ago. When he's not in front of a computer screen, he's racing his own Bugeye Subaru WRX in as many autocross and rallycross competitions as he can.

  • 1

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *