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The Impreza Redefined, Subaru’s Cheapest Car Should Become A PHEV

There's news about the Subaru Impreza that has me raising questions. Should Subaru drop the gas-only Impreza and make the compact hatch a Plug-In Hybrid model? Something needs to change.

As I look at the sales numbers for the 2024 Subaru Impreza, I have a question. Does it make sense? Should Subaru Corporation drop the gas-only Impreza hatchback for all trim levels and make the compact hatch a Plug-In Hybrid model only? 

Before I discuss that, let's examine the May numbers. For more information on recent Impreza events, read my report here.

Impreza Fails To Impress

Subaru of America reports its U.S. retailers delivered 2,419 compact Impreza hatchback models to customers in May. The Impreza dropped 38.6 percent compared with last year, with 3,939 models in May 2023. That's another significant drop.

Impreza sales for the first five months of 2024 are no better, with 12,428 models sold. Last year, in the same period, Impreza had 16,337 sales, a 23.9 percent decrease over last year. Impreza is on a downward trend.

I wrote recently that the hot Crosstrek is taking all the sales from the Impreza as buyers compare the two models. That has some validity. Maybe Subaru is happy to let that happen? Check my report here

The Impreza Needs More Than A Spark

I would have thought that the hot new 2024 Impreza RS trim level with a 2.5-liter Boxer engine would be the spark that would light the Impreza on fire. But it didn't. 

I thought Subaru's decision to drop the sedan and only offer the Impreza as a hatchback was a great move. And it was. Sedans are on the way out. But that hasn't been enough, either. 

Bring Back The Manual?

Dropping manual transmission cars is a trend many automakers are making. For Subaru, it's about safety. Subaru dropped all manual shifters in all 2024 Impreza models to bring EyeSight driver assist technology as standard equipment to all Impreza trim levels. Check out my safety tech report here. 

I would say that offering a 6-speed manual gearbox in the Impreza RS would make it a fun hatch to drive. But even that wouldn't be enough to increase sales significantly because only a few driving enthusiasts want a manual transmission as a daily driver. 

So, What's The Answer?

I think Subaru Corporation needs to do two things to save the Impreza compact hatch and launch it to new heights. 

Leave the Impreza a compact hatchback because it fulfills a specific purpose for the brand's younger buyers. But it needs its own identity. When you look at the Impreza now, it looks like a chopped version of the Crosstrek—and it is. It sits lower and has the same footprint and body style. 

Crosstrek Casts A Big Shadow

Since the Impreza is now made in Japan rather than in the U.S. plant, Subaru can completely redesign its exterior, giving it a unique look on the outside and inside. It needs to get out of the Crosstrek's shadow.  

So, let's dream even more. With its new unique identity, Subaru Corporation should bring the all-new Impreza with a Plug-In Hybrid powertrain in all trim levels. Impreza should become a PHEV and drop the gas-only model. 

Impreza Redefined

A new all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza Plug-In Hybrid would launch the redefined hatchback into the new era of electrification. Shortly after, Subaru could offer an Impreza EV. It would be Subaru's hot new entry into the affordable compact hatch battery-electric vehicle market. And it would be one of only a few with all-wheel-drive and Subaru's Symmetrical all-weather performance.  

Subaru can watch the Impreza sales keep dropping, or they can redefine the Impreza and give it a complete makeover. It's a new world. I think Subaru is up to the challenge.    

Would you like to see an all-new Subaru Impreza? What about a fuel-efficient Impreza Hybrid or an all-electric compact hatch? Click the red Add New Comment link below to join the discussion.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Subaru


DONNA L DUVALL (not verified)    June 6, 2024 - 4:40PM

I have a 2018 Subaru Impreza with the winter package. Love the car, fun to drive and great gas mileage....EXCEPT the WINDSHIELD is a deal killer! I have had to replace the windshield FOUR times, not to mention a gazillion chip repairs. I'm always told that Subarus are the worst for windshield issues because they don't seem to be made to spec to keep the weight down. Well I've had it! So much cost and hassle. I'm going HONDA!

Kerry Fletcher (not verified)    June 7, 2024 - 3:23PM

In reply to by DONNA L DUVALL (not verified)

I have had Imps since 08. Had 08,12,16,20,24

If they went to plug in only I would either keep my 24 or not buy another subaru. I would love a hybrid or full elect but plugging in is not an option where we live. Winters are harsh here as well so driving range would be even lower and frankly Subies are meant to be driven in the snow! It's a great car.

Danny (not verified)    June 7, 2024 - 12:55PM

I don’t understand why the RS doesn’t use the fa24 (2.4 litre) engine. The Impreza lacks guts and the fa24 would fix that.

Kathryn O'Brien (not verified)    June 8, 2024 - 8:58AM

This is my dream; you are correct! I would go back to this car if they have it a plug-in. I was an Impreza 5 door fan from generation 1-3 when it was in the "short" body style and loved those cars. Leased them for maybe 15 yrs in a row?As soon as they gave it a facelift I was annoyed and stopped leasing them. I didn't want that huge car as a city driver. It was basically same as an outback or cross trek in length... why bother?

So after all that time I jumped ship to try a Prius prime for the plug-in to see what going ev might be like. I considered it my "training wheels." The car was too small and powerless in my northern climate snow storms. I missed my all wheel drive. I did love plugging in and minimal gas use though. So my lease was coming due and I abandoned it

Went back to Subaru this last year. I'm driving the Solterra. Went full on electric. I'm finally used to it now but it's too big of a car for me. Barely fits in my narrow city driveway, backed into a few things while I got used to the size and dented the plastic bumper, harder to parallel park in city since I need more room, it's just unnecessary. I also wasn't able to take a road trip to a city an hour away without major fear of being stranded, the battery mileage isn't great. It might improve with a smaller car like a short wagon Impreza.

Give me the best of both!

Delano P (not verified)    June 8, 2024 - 12:47PM

If it was really about safety, they would still offer manual transmissions as those have drivers w/ less accidents. AI should not be taking driving away from people, but that's what makes bad drivers.