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The New Subaru Impreza RS Hot Hatch That Could Have Been

Which is the best next-generation 2024 Subaru Impreza pick for you? The new Impreza RS will be a good pick for compact car customers. Check out how it could have been better.


The all-new 2024 Subaru Impreza RS trim level is a good pick for compact car shoppers, but it could have been even better. The 2024 Impreza will be missing a key feature, taking the sporty feel out of the new RS model.

Which is the best next-generation 2024 Subaru Impreza pick for driving enthusiasts? If the new 2024 Impreza RS had a 6-speed manual shifter with a WRX close ratio gearbox, it would have been the hot hatchback model Subaru of America is missing in the lineup.

2024 Subaru Impreza RS

But Subaru chose to drop the manual transmission in all 2024 Impreza trim levels, and it’s only available with a Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) automatic. The 5-speed manual is gone forever from the Impreza lineup.

Why did Subaru drop the Impreza manual shifter?

It’s a trend many automakers are making, and the end of the manual transmission is here for the new Impreza. For Subaru, it’s about slow manual transmission sales, but it’s more about safety. Subaru dropped all manual shifters in the 2024 Impreza to bring EyeSight driver assist technology as standard equipment to all Impreza trim levels.

2024 Subaru Impreza RS

The RS and Sport trim get a CVT upgrade

The new 2024 Impreza RS and the Sport trim levels feature an 8-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters that allow the driver to control the transmission via eight pre-set ratios. It’s not as fun to drive as the 5-speed manual, but it’s better than the standard CVT.

Subaru should have given the sportier Impreza RS hatchback a 6-speed manual shifter for driving enthusiasts. They could have also boosted the RS horsepower and made it a hot hatch to compete with the Honda Civic Si and the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

The sixth-generation 2024 Impreza RS trim only comes with a Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) automatic. We know Subaru did it to improve Impreza’s safety scores. It will be safer but less fun to drive than a 6-speed manual. It’s the 2024 Impreza hot hatch that could have been.

Subaru says the all-new 2024 Impreza RS will launch in the U.S. this spring and then be introduced to other markets worldwide. Would you buy the new hot Impreza RS hatchback with a manual gearbox? Let Subaru know in the comments below.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Scott (not verified)    November 29, 2022 - 4:00PM

Heck yes I would trade from my 1999 Subaru Legacy MANUAL TO the new RS.. now you gone out and cut off the balls ... Stop trying to wrap people in bubblewrap

Drake (not verified)    December 2, 2022 - 6:26AM

Subaru went and dropped the ball... AGAIN. Subaru, are you trying to push away your racing heritage? Your history is becoming the best thing about you.

Patricia (not verified)    December 4, 2022 - 2:06PM

I absolutely would’ve bought a new Impreza RS if it was a manual 6 speed. I’m on my second manual Subaru and I’m now on a waiting list for a VW R, sadly. I guess my voice isn’t being heard!

Sean Mack (not verified)    July 23, 2023 - 9:54AM

Yes, speaking from the opposite end of the car enthusiast demographic (middle-aged, conservative driver with like-minded wife), I'm quitting Subaru after 25 years with the drop of the manual from the Impreza and Crosstrek lineup. Wife refuses to/"cannot" drive automatic, and I love the manual even with less safety and lower gas mileage. We'll pop one more clutch into our 2014 Impreza and hope for the best. We were ready to spring for a nice Crosstrek, but I guess it's time to face middle-aged reality and step to Toyota purely for reliability.