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Subaru Impreza hatchback (2014-2017) - Engines, drive & performance

The Subaru Impreza’s 1.6-litre petrol engine feels gutless, and the lack of sixth gear makes it noisy on the motorway, too

Carbuyer Rating

2.9 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.0 out of 5

All told, the Impreza really is a compromised car. It should excel in the countryside – where buyers need more grip – but the lethargic engine feels totally out of its depth on faster roads. In town, the light steering makes it easy to manoeuvre, but the four-wheel-drive system increases running costs, so unless you live in a snowy city in northern Scandanavia, you’ll rarely feel the benefit.

Subaru Impreza petrol engines

If you’re familiar with Subaru Imprezas of old, or even the current Subaru WRX STi, you’d be forgiven for expecting the new model to be an entertaining car to drive. However, the gutless 1.6-litre petrol engine (no diesel is offered) feels incredibly slow compared to the more modern turbocharged power you get in a Ford or Volkswagen. It’s a shame really, because the four-wheel-drive system offers plenty of grip, so the car could easily handle a bit more power.

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However, that four-wheel-drive system does make the Impreza feel quite heavy and slow to react. The light steering offers very little feedback, making it a challenging car to drive quickly. The lack of a sixth gear makes it a bit noisy on the motorway, which is where cars like the SEAT Leon and Volvo V40 feel most at home.

Acceleration is poor, with 0-62mph taking 12.3 seconds. This looks particularly poor when you consider that a Volkswagen Golf GTI emits less CO2 than the Impreza, yet can sprint from 0-62mph in less than seven seconds.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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