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2016 Subaru Impreza: New Car Review

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author photo by Autotrader November 2015

2016 Subaru Impreza is the do-it-all compact car, offering great fuel economy, a roomy interior, numerous safety features and the added benefit of Subaru's permanently engaged Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Available as a sporty 5-door wagon or sleek 4-door sedan, the Impreza's continuously variable transmission (CVT) and frugal 4-cylinder engine provide fuel economy figures reaching 37 miles per gallon on the highway. The Impreza's modern cabin and exterior styling make it the type of compact car everyone can feel good about owning, as does the available EyeSight Driver Assist System. A great safety record, excellent resale value and an impressive list of standard features serve to bolster the Impreza's credentials.

What's New for 2016?

There are no major changes for the 2016 Subaru Impreza.

What We Like

Standard all-wheel drive; good fuel economy; choice of 4- or 5-door models; standard rearview camera; EyeSight Driver Assist System; roomy rear seat

What We Don't

No power driver's seat or power lumbar offered; difficult-to-read hash marks on climate-control knobs; weak acceleration; no high-end audio option

How Much?

$19,090-$30,000

Fuel Economy

The 2016 Subaru Impreza is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine rated at 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. With the standard 5-speed manual, the Impreza receives an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg hwy. Opt for the automatic CVT and those figures climb to 28 mpg city/37 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Impreza compact is offered in two body styles, a 5-door wagon and a 4-door sedan. Trim levels for the sedan and wagon include 2.0i, 2.0i Premium and 2.0i Limited, while the wagon offers two additional trims, the 2.0i Sport Premium and 2.0i Sport Limited.

The base 2.0i (sedan, $19,090; wagon, $19,590) includes a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, power mirrors, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, 6.2-inch touchscreen, AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers, HD Radio, smartphone app integration for Aha, Pandora and iHeartRadio, 15-in wheels with covers, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, a USB/iPod port, a rear-window defroster and, on the hatchback, a rear wiper/washer and rear spoiler.

The 2.0i Premium (sedan, $21,890; wagon, $22,390) adds the automatic CVT, a 6-speaker audio upgrade, color-keyed mirrors, 16-in alloy wheels and the All-Weather package (heated seats, heated side mirrors and windshield de-icer) on manually equipped models.

The 2.0 Sport Premium ($21,890) adds gray-finish 17-in aluminum alloy wheels, striped cloth upholstery, the Cold Weather package, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and black-finish roof rails.

The 2.0i Limited (sedan, $23,390; wagon, $23,890) brings leather seating, 17-in wheels, automatic climate control, the Cold Weather package, auto on/off headlamps and an upgraded 7-in swipe/scroll touchscreen audio system with voice control, SMS text messaging and satellite radio.

The 2.0 Sport Limited ($24,390) adds gray-finish 17-in wheels, black-finish roof rails and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The most desirable options are bundled into packages. The Premium trim can be equipped with a power sunroof, alloy wheels and fog lights, as well as the All Weather package on models with an automatic transmission. Limited and Sport Limited models can be equipped with a 7-in swipe/scroll touchscreen navigation unit, an EyeSight Driver Assist System, steering-responsive fog lights and keyless entry with push-button starting.

Safety

In crash tests, the Impreza was awarded a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2016 Impreza an overall 5-star rating, consisting of four out of five stars in its front-end crash test and five stars in the side-impact and rollover roof-strength crash tests.

Behind the Wheel

Although it's no sports car, the 2016 Impreza is a livable daily driver. The Impreza's automatic CVT takes some getting used to, but it does provide quick off-the-line starts and helps the Impreza return some pretty impressive fuel economy figures. With only 148 hp, the Impreza's biggest drawback is its lack of passing power and the ability to quickly climb steep grades. You can save about $1,000 and go with the standard manual transmission, but we found the shifter feels rubbery and disconnected. Plus, it actually delivers worse fuel economy than the automatic.

On twisting country roads, the Impreza feels responsive and alert, with good feedback from the electrically assisted power steering. Its suspension soaks up most bumps and road imperfections, yet still remains relatively tight during turns. Inside the cabin, you'll find a comfortable environment with well-placed instruments and a lot of information screens to tell you everything from your fuel economy to which wheels are getting power. Our one complaint: The tiny yellow hash marks on the rotary climate-control knobs are hard to see in daylight and aren't well-lit at night.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Volkswagen Golf -- The Golf offers a nicer interior and better ride, plus its turbocharged engine offers better acceleration. However, front-wheel drive is no match for all-wheel drive, especially in deep snow.

2016 Mazda Mazda3 -- The Mazda3 is far sportier than the Impreza, and it achieves better fuel economy. It also offers more high-end features but can run past $30,000 when fully loaded.

Used Audi A3 -- A 2008-2012 Audi A3 can cost about the same as a new Impreza, offers the option of all-wheel drive and delivers a level of luxury and performance a step above the compact class.

Used Subaru Outback -- A 2010-2014 Subaru Outback offers more power, more room and more features, with only a slight penalty in fuel economy. A certified pre-owned car will also come with a full warranty.

Autotrader's Advice

Unless you absolutely can't live without navigation or satellite radio, the Premium trim offers more than enough standard features to satisfy most buyers. If you're going to splurge, choose a Limited or Sport Limited and add the EyeSight Driver Assist System and navigation. You'll love the added safety features, and you'll still drive away for around $26,000.

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Used 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sedan
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Subaru Impreza: New Car Review - Autotrader