The RS trim is back and this time it’s the top version of the Impreza with the big engine and sportiest looks.

The RS trim is back and this time it’s the top version of the Impreza with the big engine and sportiest looks.
Photo: Subaru

The Subaru Impreza used to be a car that inspired wild loyalty among its owners. It looked cool, did things most compact cars couldn’t, and eventually spawned two hardcore performance models we know and love: the WRX and STI. Unfortunately, with the march of time, the Impreza became bland as other models moved in to take its place. Subaru hopes to change that with the 2024 Impreza that debuted on Thursday at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.

So what’s new for 2024? Well, to start, the Impreza is going hatchback only. If that’s a surprise to you, congratulations, you’re one of the handful who remembered that the 2023 model could be had with a trunk. Next, it’s got a stiffer chassis. Subaru claims a 10 percent increase in this department, though who knows if that will be enough to notice. However, the addition of a new steering rack derived from the WRX should be noticeable, and Subaru claims it will be more direct and responsive.

The interior of the 2024 Subaru Impreza RS.

You wouldn’t mistake this for anything other than a Subaru interior, but it seems hard-wearing and comfy.
Photo: Subaru

The other massive change is the return of the 2.5-liter engine displacement. Obviously, this is a new engine that has nothing in common with the old-school EJ motors that people know and love, and with 182 hp and 157 lb-ft on tap, this boxer-four is not going to light your hair on fire, but it should make the driving experience a little more pleasant. That 2.5-liter engine is standard on the top-tier RS trim, but the Base and Sport trims get a 2.0-liter that generates 152 hp and 145 lb-ft.

Next, the Impreza is doing away with the manual transmission. Instead, all Impreza models will get a CVT, which, while not thrilling on paper, should make for a more efficient ride, and with gas prices nearing $7 per gallon in some places in the US, efficiency is king. The Impreza is obviously still all-wheel drive, but Subaru has tweaked the system to react more quickly to changing road conditions, which is cool.

Other changes include an upgraded EyeSight advanced driver assistance suite, which is standard across the entire Impreza range. There’s also an available 11.6-inch Starlink infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Sport and RS models benefit from Subaru’s Si-Drive system, which allows for different user-selectable drive modes.

The CVT transmission shift lever of a 2024 Subaru Impreza.

The manual transmission is gone for 2024, which means a CVT is all you get.
Photo: Subaru

The styling of the 2024 Impreza has been revised as well, and while it’s not likely to get anyone’s heart racing, it’s perfectly pleasant and an improvement over the milquetoast 2023 model. The edges are a little sharper, the grille a little more aggressive and there are new 18-inch wheels on the RS trim.

The interior is typical Subaru with materials that feel okay and look like they’ll wear well, even if they’re not at all luxurious. The portrait-mounted infotainment screen is nice, and there’s plenty of room, even for someone super tall (I’m 6’4″ and had ample space in the front seat and even fit comfortably sitting “behind myself” in the back).

Subaru has yet to give out any details on pricing, though we’d be shocked if it was a massive jump from last year. We do know, though, that the 2024 Impreza is set to hit dealers in the spring of 2023.

A blue 2024 Subaru Impreza Sport drives on a canyon road.

The Sport trim looks pretty good in blue, too.
Photo: Subaru

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