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Up Close With the 2024 Subaru Impreza: Hatchbacks Are More Fun

subaru-impreza-rs-2024-02-exterior-profile 2024 Subaru Impreza | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The 2024 Subaru Impreza leans into its sporty past with the return of the RS trim and a more powerful 2.5-liter boxer engine while at the same time admitting something car enthusiasts have been screaming for years: Hatchbacks are fun. The sixth-generation Impreza, debuting at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, has two sporty trims and is exclusively available as a hatchback; unfortunately for enthusiasts, it also eschews a manual transmission in favor of a standard continuously variable automatic transmission.

Related: More 2022 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

The design changes are more subtle than other cars here on the L.A. show floor. The latest Impreza doesn’t appear much different from the fifth-gen model, but the grille, headlights and taillights are new. The sportier RS looks the part with darkened exterior accents and black 18-inch wheels. In photos, the new rear bumper with its larger reflectors looked pre-dented, especially when painted red; in person, it really does look that way, regrettably.

Subaru has added its 11.6-inch, portrait-oriented touchscreen display in higher trims. It’s a welcome addition, though we have had issues with some of the climate controls living within the touchscreen in some other of the automaker’s vehicles (Subaru has corrected a previous issue with how the screen displays Apple CarPlay). The interior layout is familiar and forward visibility is good; while the A-pillars intrude a bit, the side mirrors are still on the doors, which opens up some extra window real estate.

According to Subaru, the 2024 Impreza’s new front seats are more comfortable than the last car’s; I can’t confirm that they’re more comfortable, but they are comfy enough for a compact car. Backseat room is also acceptable and seems largely unchanged from the previous generation.

Other major changes will require actual driving to test: The RS has a 2.5-liter boxer engine instead of the carryover 2.0-liter found in Base and Sport versions. With more horsepower and torque, along with a sport-tuned suspension, a lighter and stiffer chassis, and standard all-wheel drive, Subaru might have a fun-to-drive Impreza that can better challenge the Honda Civic Sport Touring and Mazda3 hatchbacks. We can’t wait to find out.

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