Before we get to the heart of our 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i review, it’s important to remember what exactly is unique about this car: Not only is the Impreza the only mainstream compact to come with standard all-wheel drive, it’s the only mainstream compact to even offer it. That’s a major differentiator between this Subaru and its rivals, and if you’re the kind of shopper who puts a high priority on the added driving confidence that comes with AWD, this technology can balance a lot of drawbacks. Not that the Impreza 2.0i has many. Let's take a look at the 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i, which is due to be replaced by an all-new 2017 Impreza arriving later this year.
2016 Subaru Impreza Road Test and Review
Photo Credit: Subaru
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Pricing
This portion of our 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i review shows a big reason behind the car’s success: Its value. The 2.0i trim is the entry point to the Impreza lineup, and at first glance, the sedan’s MSRP of $18,295 seems noticeably out of line with the cost of the competition. After all, three mainstream compact rivals, from Chevy, Dodge and Nissan, start under $17K. But the Impreza’s cost includes standard all-wheel drive, which no other car in the category even offers. Subaru also serves up standard goodies like a rearview camera and an infotainment setup with a 6.2-inch touchscreen. And one of those low-cost competitors has a base model that lacks air conditioning and power door locks.
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Power, Performance and Fuel Efficiency
Readers trying to decode the title of our 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i review should know that that “2.0” refers to the size of the car’s 4-cylinder boxer-style engine, which displaces 2.0 liters and delivers 148 horsepower and 145 lb.-ft. of torque. That output should satisfy drivers who don’t necessarily feel the need for speed. Those who do have that need, for the record, should opt for the potent WRX or WRX STI, the latter boasting twice the power of a base Impreza. Although the 2016 Impreza doesn’t get quite the EPA ratings of its rivals, it can still reach 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway/31 mpg combined with its continuously variable transmission (CVT). And this, it should be remembered, is with the unmatched stability of standard all-wheel drive.
Photo Credit: Subaru Media
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Exterior Design and Lighting
In terms of exterior design, the 2016 Impreza sedan can make two very different impressions. From the side, the Impreza sedan is appealing, if somewhat bland. From the side, however, you can see quite a detailed nose with dramatic fog-lamp pockets and a prominent aero-style leading edge. In back, the Impreza comes with a standard spoiler, too.
The 2016 Impreza sedan, at 180.5 inches, is shorter than most of the competition—although the Ford Focus sedan is almost two inches shorter than the Subaru. Also worth noting: Many rivals are adding a hatchback model their lineups for 2017. Subaru, for the record, already sells an Impreza hatchback.
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Interior Design and Capacities
Despite the 2016 Subaru Impreza sedan’s compact exterior dimensions, the cabin has a bevy of size benefits: This Impreza has unbeaten front headroom and legroom, along with the same rear headroom rating as rivals from Honda and Toyota. Also, the Impreza boasts more rear-seat legroom than competitive Dodge and Ford models.True, the Impreza sedan has the smallest trunk, but the hatch has best-in-class cargo space, with rear seats folded or when they're in use.
As for the design of the Impreza’s cockpit, it's fair to call it unusual. An asymmetric approach combines a tightly driver-focused setup on one side with a multi-dimensional arrangement on the other.
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Audio and Infotainment
The 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i has a notable advantage: a standard Starlink infotainment setup that boasts a 6.2-inch high-res touchscreen, a USB port with iPod support, and Bluetooth for both audio streaming and hands-free calling. Rivals such as the Nissan Sentra maintain low prices by not providing standard touchscreen infotainment, and even those competitors that do have them have smaller screens. The Honda Civic’s standard display, for instance, is only 5 inches, or 24 percent smaller than the Impreza's.
Subaru's Starlink system also has integration with Aha and Pandora Internet listening resources, plus a growing number of cloud-based apps.
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Safety Ratings and Technology
Subaru equips it Imprezas with a comprehensive suite of high-tech safety measures, which will be covered later in the “Available Equipment” section.
Worth noting: The 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i is one of the rare entry-level compacts with a standard rearview-camera system, and it’s also earned a 5-Star Overall Safety Score from NHTSA.
Shoppers also should realize that, with its optional EyeSight safety bundle, the Impreza is a Top Safety Pick+ of the IIHS, and it still scored the best grades possible in all crashworthiness tests, even without those extras—unlike rivals from Ford, Toyota, Dodge and others.
2016 Subaru 2.0i: Available Equipment
Because the Impreza sedan already comes standards with "loads of features"—Subaru's words—the only options here are foglights, a between-the-front-seats console and sliding armrest, and all-weather floormats. But people who buy a 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i can tap into a wide range of available luxury cues and innovative technologies.
As mentioned, the latter includes Subaru's EyeSight driver-assistance package with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane-departure warning. Then there are premium touches such as two-stage heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as an upgraded infotainment system with a 7-inch screen and navigation.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Other Cool Info
Some readers of this 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i review will no doubt have an interest in performance-oriented compacts, such as the Honda Civic Si or Ford Focus ST/RS. It’s an important niche for some automakers—Subaru included—because these high-performance variants can attract customers even to the more basic cars on which the hotter entries are based. For instance, Impreza drivers are riding on the same basic underpinnings that support the 268-horsepower WRX and the 305-horsepower WRX STI. And the retail STI, of course, inspires the same racecar that’s been driven to multiple victories in this year’s Rally America series, plus plenty more.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i: Final Thoughts
Our verdict to conclude this Autobytel review of the 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i sedan? Subaru has raised customer expectations for the compact sedan segment. The Impreza tops its mainstream rivals in key areas such as customer satisfaction and safety. And it manages to be competitive in the fuel-economy department. That said, the Impreza is not without its drawbacks, such as fairly mundane driving dynamics and a limited range of audio systems. But, as we said before, Subaru’s standard and affordable all-wheel-drive technology makes up for much.
Note: Consumers should be on the lookout for closeout discounts on the 2016 Subaru Impreza, as dealers may be more likely to negotiate now that the 2017 models are on the horizon.