- Attractive styling
- Responsive, drama-free handling
- Standard AWD
- Easy loading, flat cargo floor
- 37 mpg, in an all-wheel-drive car
- Tepid performance
- Road noise
- Mandatory AWD
The 2015 Subaru Impreza is tough, practical, and relatively attractive, offering a small all-wheel-drive package for those who need it without the big fuel-economy penalty it used to bring.
The 2015 Subaru Impreza remains the only model in its segment to offer standard all-wheel drive. The Impreza is a family of compact cars that comes as either a five-door hatchback or four-door sedan.
For 2015, the Impreza gets a refresh that includes new front-end styling, improved infotainment, new advanced-safety options, and better fuel economy.
All these things should make this subcompact family even more attractive to those in need of all-weather ability.
The mild redesign given to the 2015 is subtle, and it includes modestly different headlights, grille, and bumper. Together, they inch the Impreza closer to the look of the larger Legacy sedan. Sedan models also now receive a trunk-mounted lip spoiler as well as an LED-lit third brake light. The overall shape is familiar from last year; both the hatch and sedan have an upright look with purposeful, chunky styling elements.
The interior remains large for the class, with rear seats that fold flat for better cargo handling. There's also a useful variety of bins, trays, cubbies, and cup holders, along with a pair of 12-volt power outlets. For 2015, Subaru promises thicker side glass, which should address our one real complaint with the cabin; past models let a bit too much road noise in on some surfaces. The 2015 cars also are supposed to have improved interior materials.
In all standard Impreza models (the higher-performance WRX and STI models are covered by a separate review), a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed ('flat') four-cylinder engine makes 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, transmitting it to all four wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or, for better gas mileage, the second generation of Subaru’s Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. The five-speed comes standard in lower-end models, but it's largely our preference between the two; the CVT is offered in all trims and now standard in both the Premium and high-end Impreza Limited. Handling is responsive and drama-free, but it doesn't quite win in the fun-to-drive category (that would go to the Mazda 3 or Ford Focus).
The federal government gives the Impreza a five-star overall safety rating. In IIHS testing, it has earned the Top Safety Pick+ accolade, with a top-tier 'good' score in the tough small-overlap frontal test as well as all other categories. You'll find all the other safety equipment that's expected in this class, and with the recent redesign Subaru slimmed the pillars for better visibility. For 2015, Subaru has made the rearview camera standard equipment on all models, while the EyeSight system from the Legacy and Outback is now available; it uses front-mounted cameras and sensors to add adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and pre-collision braking functions.
The 2015 Impreza remains offered in base, Premium, Limited and Sport Limited models. Premium models add popular equipment like cruise control and fog lamps. The Limited trim level adds 17-inch alloy wheels and the CVT with six-speed manual mode and paddle shifters as standard, plus leather seat upholstery, automatic climate control, auto on/off headlights, an AM/FM/CD stereo with HD radio, and some trim options. One of the few options is a navigation system. Aha Radio is included with any car optioned with the navigation system.
Fuel economy also gets a boost for 2015, with the most fuel-efficient CVT models now maxing out at 28 mpg in the city and 37 highway. The five-speed manual comes in at 25/34 mpg, while Sport models with either transmission drop one mpg in both the city and highway ratings.