Road Test Review – 2024 Subaru Impreza RS – This Hatch Has The Moves To Succeed

When Subaru announced that the Impreza would ditch the sedan body style and focus on it being a hatchback-only experience for 2024, it certainly had us asking questions. For one thing, could we buy a four-door in time? (my wife was in the market for a new vehicle back then) and how will consumers respond to this radical transition. Thankfully, the Subaru faithful have responded positively to the changes, and after spending some time with the 2024 Subaru Impreza RS, we grew to like a hatchback-only future as well.


Impreza RS Is Ready For Fun Or Work

The RS is the range-topping (for now) member of the standard Impreza lineup. While the WRX is still the most powerful model, Subaru treats it like a separate model, and as a result, the two have distinctly different pricing ladders. The exterior styling here is trying to be more mature, with the front fascia getting new WRX-like headlights, a larger front grille, and a reworked lower front bumper. Moving to an RS model like our tester adds sportier trim pieces and splashes of black accents. The rear styling also embraces its inner balance, and we really like the way Subaru designers improved the taillights versus what we saw on the 2023 model to help them flow better with the design. This can be seen in some photos we shot with our resident 2023 model.

A favorite highlight feature of ours, though, is the integrated rear step that’s found near the rear seats. This step allows owners (especially shorter owners like my wife) access to the roof to help secure cargo and other items to the roof rails. In addition, having the new one alongside our resident 2023 example also helped highlight the full scope of the updates. While plenty of familiarity is baked into the design, we think buyers moving to the 2024 model from a 2023 example will definitely notice Subaru’s efforts in trying to stay fresh.


RS Interior Gets Sportier Seats, Stronger Family Ties To Crosstrek

Subaru interiors are known for their pragmatic tendencies versus being outright luxurious. If you are a fan of baked-in sensibility, the 2024 Subaru Impreza continues on with business as usual in that regard. Slip inside, and you’ll find that dual-zone climate control is now standard across the entire lineup. The abundance of analog controls for various features is a nice touch, and we are glad to see that Subaru resisted the urge to cram everything into the 11.6-inch infotainment system. The screen is very crisp and paired with a 10-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system on the RS. However, the software is still prone to spontaneous bursts of slow load times, and the screen can wash out on bright sunny days.

The RS also gets better front seats, and Subaru claims they also focused on reducing the amount of noise penetrating the cabin. While our tester was far from matching Mercedes-Benz in this regard, we did notice that the cabin was quieter than the 2023 model and that less wind noise found its way in. Tire noise will always be a persistent specter for Subaru’s sound engineers, but it’s a minor annoyance. The rest of the cabin will be very familiar to any Crosstrek owners, and we like how some of the CUV’s character has drifted into the cabin of the Impreza, especially with the quality of its interior plastics and even the decent amount of rear seat room for passengers. Fold the 60/40 seats down, and the Impreza can swallow 56 cubic feet of stuff. We used that space to haul a day’s worth of groceries and an entire bicycle, with the Impreza tackling the latter task with no problems.


Performance Hardware Is a Mixture Of Old and New, Manual Gets Benched

Performance for the 2024 Subaru Impreza will come from a pair of flat-four engines that re a mixture of old and new. In keeping with the theme of familiarity, the base and Sport trims are powered by the 2023 model’s 152-horsepower, 2.0-liter, flat-four engine. Move to an RS, and that 2.0-liter gets swapped out for the larger 182-hp, 2.5-liter, flat-four found in the Crosstrek. The extra 30 horsepower bump was appreciated but we really wish that Subaru equipped the 2.5-liter with a turbocharger since the engine is still a bit wheezy in the lower reaches of the power band. But learn to respect the 2.5-liter’s boundaries, and you’ll be awarded with a 0 to 60 time of 7.8 seconds. A CVT is the lone transmission available now, with the slow-selling manual being benched for the new model year.

But while the Impreza is not trying to wow the crowds with raw performance numbers (that’s what the WRX is for) the hatchback instead prefers to focus on improving the behind-the-scenes details, and that’s readily apparent when you fling the RS through your favorite stretch of driving road. The suspension has been improved, while an electronically operated steering rack similar to the one in the WRX helps sharpen steering response. A torque vectoring system is also standard, allowing the standard all-wheel-drive system to perform to its full potential. Braking in our tester was also strong, and the RS revels in making the art of driving fun, even if it means trading raw speed for fancier footwork.


Value Quotient

Pricing for the 2024 Subaru Impreza lineup remains one of the most attractive elements of the Impreza buying experience, with a base model starting at $24,085 when the $1,090 destination fee is added in. Subaru simplified the trim ladder for 2024, and buyers will have three trims to choose from, with the $26,085 Sport serving as the mid-level volume seller. Buyers looking for more performance will have to move to the range-topping $28,975 RS trim, with our tester having a final as-tested price of just over $29,000 due to some minor add-ons.

The Impreza’s value is impressive, but the main problem here is that it’s also facing some internal competition from the Subaru Crosstrek. That model has been a sales hit for the company and the Crosstrek’s pricing for its first three trim levels bleeds into the same territory as the Base and Sport trims for the Impreza. That said, the RS is the lone exception to this rule, and we think that it has enough personality to help it stay out of the Crosstrek’s growing shadow while also providing enthusiasts a value-packed fun to drive hatchback.