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While Subaru Runs In High Gear - The Aging Impreza Sedan And Hatch Run Out Of Gas

The 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, 2021 Crosstrek, and Ascent all posted gains last month, but the Subaru Impreza is running out of gas. Here’s what the compact car needs for the 2022 model change.

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The Subaru Impreza is falling further behind the other all-wheel-drive models in the lineup. In September, when every Subaru model posted gains over last year, the Impreza compact sedan and hatchback dropped again. The Impreza was down 21.1 percent over the same month the previous year and is down -34.8 percent year-to-date, more than any model.

The Impreza sedan and hatchback were the first to be updated with the new Subaru Global Platform in 2017. In year four of its life cycle, Impreza received a minor refresh for 2020, and next year it will be the last year before a total remodel. In year five, the 2021 Impreza received minor changes and a reshuffling of standard features that were previously options. The significant changes come in 2022.

2022 Subaru Impreza

The current-generation Impreza is not keeping up with the competition. The Honda Civic is the segment leader with 73,083 sales through August 2020, while the Impreza managed only 13,535 sales to customers. The Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte, and Volkswagen Jetta all have more sales than Impreza.

What’s next for the 2022 Impreza?

A full redesign is coming in 2022, and the compact sedan and hatchback need something big to keep up with the competition. We know the next-generation 2022 Impreza will come with the new EyeSight X driver-assist safety technology. It could get a new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, and Subaru could drop the manual transmission.

2022 Subaru Impreza

The new turbocharged engine with have direct-injection and will likely come with similar power but will have improved fuel mileage. The 2021 Subaru Impreza has a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine with a CVT automatic and a 6-speed manual gearbox on lower trims. Subaru is fazing out the manual transmission, so all trims are equipped with standard EyeSight.

The hot Honda Civic is the model to catch, but it won’t be easy. Subaru needs something to catch the attention of a young demographic seeking sporty and fast. When the Impreza cut ties with the WRX in 2015, the compact car lost its performance car nature. It’s been in a steady decline ever since.

Subaru is not one to make radical exterior changes, but Impreza needs more than other models. The compact car looks like a lowered version of the Crosstrek now, and it needs to move away from the adventurous model with a radical new design.

The 2022 Subaru Impreza also needs a larger engine option like its stablemate Crosstrek just received. That would spark new interest in the Impreza models and give it a proper Sport trim with added power. The new 2.4-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine powering the 2022 BRZ would be a perfect choice. Stay tuned.

What would you like to see in the redesigned 2022 Impreza?

You Might Also Like: The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Gets A Power Upgrade - Its Next Big Move Is A Turbo

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

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Dan (not verified)    October 7, 2020 - 11:24AM

Impreza needs a lower price. To get same level of standard equipment as base Legacy the price is the same as the larger sedan

Yanny Labamba (not verified)    October 7, 2020 - 11:40PM

I have heard all many of problems with various auto manufacturers.

Subarus seem to have consistent quality control problems, more so then other manufacturers.
For that reason alone, I cannot take a risk with these vehicles.

Greg (not verified)    October 9, 2020 - 11:50AM

In reply to by Yanny Labamba (not verified)

Quality control issues? They had a few issues with the new Legacy and updated Ascent, all of which were addressed and corrected quickly. Unlike other manufactures, Subaru will take care of issues concerning safety and manufacturing quicker than let's say GM or Toyota. I am definitely not a Subaru fan boy, but let's do some reading before posting misleading dialogue. For 2020 Subaru has an average of 90 problems per 100 vehicles, which isn't tops, but it puts Subaru in the higher middle tier. As apposed to 2018 when they had 115 problems per 100 vehicles which was 5th from the bottom. They've obviously made strides to correct issues with production.

Greg Winner (not verified)    October 9, 2020 - 11:56AM

For the US spec Impreza, they should use the 1.8 liter in the Levorg and provide a CVT more in line with the new Forte. Somehow Kia has developed the only CVT that actually feels like a traditional step geared transmission and uses a chain instead of a rubber band. If we have to have a CVT, make it a solid reliable unit like Kia's, Other wise the Impreza needs to impress with enthusiasts much like the Mazda 3 and Civic have, and offer value for your dollar like Hyundai/Kia. They must appeal to typical Subaru buyers and young buyers alike. It's a difficult balance, but Subaru has and can do so again.

Gary D (not verified)    November 8, 2020 - 8:24PM

I agree that the Impreza needs an optional engine. The new BRZ N/A 2.4 engine would be a great fit for the Impreza sport and limited trims. With the upgraded interior previewed in the Levorg, the 2022 Impreza may be more than competitive again. I have owned 5 Imprezas (02;04;06;08 and 12) and would love to add a 2022 to my list!

figgy (not verified)    November 18, 2020 - 12:53AM

suspension, comfort, and power of the Outback with the compactness of the Impreza and styling of the WRX hatchback. Would sell like hotcakes.

Peter Rudic (not verified)    December 19, 2020 - 5:15PM

2022 must be redesigned in such a way that it looks good. The current model is frankly, ugly. The one before was quite nice looking and smaller.. What is this obsession of making small cars larger and larger. Impreza is almost the same size ad legacy. So where is the difference for different customer? So it should go back to size of previous model as HATCHBACK not station wagon.. Of course more power for this one is dead in water. I will wait for the new one and buy if these conditions are met. Otherwise I am buying Golf GTI

Dan (not verified)    January 31, 2021 - 10:14PM

Only reason i'm considering Impreza is the hatch/wagon + manual transmission. Don't love the look of the current gen, but will hold out for next. In a perfect world the WRX would still come as a hatch

Cheryl (not verified)    February 5, 2021 - 6:41PM

I’m disappointed with my 19 Impreza radio and hope 2022 includes upgrade to infotainment SYS
I spent extra money for top model and wonder if I made a mistake.

Overall like flexibility of sedan w hatchback as needed.
Mileage not impressive either compared w similar.

Boobaru (not verified)    February 19, 2021 - 4:28PM

Honesty, what this Impreza needs, is a more aggressive top trim (Sport/Limited) with more power and torque!

I think this generation will be the last year for the manual since Subaru is pushing for "standard eyesight." Which honestly isn't a big deal the 5-speed in the Impreza (but 6-speed in a Crosstrek? wtf Subaru?) is not a good tranny for 2021.

JPeach (not verified)    March 13, 2021 - 1:34PM

The Impreza is the right sized car for me. 1.5L Turbo doesn't bother me so long as the turbo lag is non-existent (I dream big!).
I wish I could say that no manual transmission mattered, but it doesn't. I'd be getting the CVT regardless.
For me to consider one, they'd have to smooth out the sheet metal.
I need to walk up to my car and not be put off by how ugly it is.
Bulging fenders? No continuous lines from the front to the back?
Stand 8 feet from the drivers door and look at the swollen bug-like plastic headlight / turn-signal assemblies. Seriously?
Way too much front overhang.
The car looks like it was designed by a committee with every member working in a different room.
When they all brought their parts together, the committee chair was out at lunch.
Start w a 2005 Outback/Legacy and a 2015 A3 and see where you go from there.

Or build me a Legacy Sport Wagon.

Peter Rudic (not verified)    March 13, 2021 - 4:22PM

One thing for sure, the current Impreza is UGLY. Many already commented as to problems it has. Power for sure, Must. get at least 180 torque at 1500 RPM.. KONA| has a good little turbo engine. Also it must be designed as Hatchback not station wagon which it is today. The model before current one was far better designed. What is with Subaru, that every new model looks worse than the on it replaces it. .I drive 2008 SAAB AERO, and that car looks better than all Japanese, Korean and other oriental built cars. Get yourself a German or Swedish to design your cars. Only they design CARS not transportation appliances as Americans and the bunch of you from Orient.. I will wait for it and replace my beloved SAAB, if it meets these and more conditions. Just because you have all wheel drive, it does not make your cars good or special. Evry9one has them now. Get to work

Soma (not verified)    May 31, 2021 - 1:33PM

I am looking forward to a Plug-in Hybrid Impreza Hatchback. I LOVE Subaru, and have had a Forester, Legacy Sedan, and an Outback. I would like to see gas + electric option in the Impreza. It's the right size and cost for me.

Frank Martin (not verified)    July 13, 2021 - 3:15PM

Subaru announced that the 2022 Impreza will remain essentially unchanged from 2021. Sales in June 2021 (1,657) are dropping like a rock and only half that of June 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic. However, it may be that scarce computer chips are being reserved for the more profitable Outback.