2024 Subaru Impreza RS - Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Plush ride comfort that exceeded our expectations
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
On August 26, 2023, a 1998 Subaru Impreza sold for $606,000 at England's Silverstone Festival Classic Sale. The base price of the 2024 Subaru Impreza I recently tested was $28,975. Stunningly painted in a newly available shade called Oasis Blue Pearl, my factory tricked out Impreza RS cost just $31,440 out the door. Will it be worth $637,000 or so at auction three decades from now? Probably not. You see, the '98 Impreza WRX (#000/400) sold at Silverstone was a prototype 22B STi model formerly owned by World Rally Championship (WRC) king Colin McRae. I doubt my brief tenure behind the wheel of a 2024 RS press car will merit that kind of bidding frenzy in the decades to come.
However, if you are looking for a bargain four-door hatchback with four comfy seats that's fun to drive, check out Subaru's newly revived RS version of the Impreza. Subtle styling touches distinguish the RS from lesser Impreza models: RS badging on the front doors and rear deck, black finished grill, side spoilers and side mirrors, plus body-color exterior door handles.
Besides the WRC tribute paint job, our test RS also received a stunning interior makeover. The first thing you notice is the aluminum alloy pedals. Race-inspired cloth front bucket seats were finished in two shades of gray with muted red side bolsters. The rear seats matched the tri-color motif of the front seats, while red stitching throughout the cabin relieved the tedium of the otherwise black and charcoal panels. Given their racy appearance, the front seats proved unusually commodious and supple. Climbing into the rear seats was surprisingly easy, given the low profile of the sloping roof. While the RS may on first acquaintance look impractical due to its racing pretensions, it proved to be a perfectly usable, brilliantly configured daily driver. We especially commend Subaru for retaining a large volume knob and a large tuning knob on the face of the central 10.5 inch infotainment screen.
Subaru's base Impreza powerplant is a 2.0 liter Subaru Boxer flat-4 which produces a lackluster 152hp and 145lb.-ft. of torque. But the RS ups the ante with a much livelier 2.5 liter flat-4 producing 182hp and 178lb.-ft. of torque. This upgrade allows the RS to cut the 0-60mph run in 7.4 seconds and post a standing start quarter mile time of 15.7 seconds at 91mph. This uprated engine powers all four wheels through what Subaru calls "symmetrical all-wheel-drive." A "Lineartronic" CVT transmission has been programmed to simulate 8 separate forward gears and utilizes small paddles for "gear" modulation. A pleasantly plump red stitched black leather steering wheel provides a host of spoke-mounted buttons for cruise control modulation, as well as the myriad safety nannies provided by Subaru's Eyesight Driver Assist Technology. But due to the steep rake of the Impreza's sound-insulating windscreen, the sizeable Eyesight module claims a bit too much of the forward vision corridor.
At 58.3 inches tall, the RS sits pleasingly low to the ground. The pavement hugging impression continues thanks to good stick from low profile 225/40R18 Yokohama Avid S34 all-weather radials (TW 360) which are mounted on handsomely understated black enamel alloy rims. For 2024, Subaru has borrowed a dual-pinion power steering rack from their racy WRX model to provide better road feel and feedback. But we searched the dash in vain for a Drive Mode knob to modulate power assist feedback because the steering felt overly boosted considering this model's otherwise sporting portfolio. Even with that reservation, we have to say that the RS is a great handling Impreza.
Thanks to its 3,213lb. curb weight - minimal by today's standards for any 4-passenger car - the RS feels as light on its contact patches as Fred Astaire. It was indeed a pleasure to put it through its athletic paces on the challenging back roads near our home. Yet even when we took it on an extended Freeway jaunt, its plush ride comfort exceeded our expectations. Subaru engineers have managed to amalgamate great handling with plush ride comfort in a great looking sports-oriented package that is eminently affordable.
2024 SUBARU IMPREZA RS
ENGINE: 2.5 liter flat-4, DOHC 16-valve Direct Injection >br>
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 26MPG City/33MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $31,440
HYPES: Light, Athletic, Striking
GRIPES: Feather Light Steering, Big Eyesight Module
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©2023 David E Colman
Editor's Note: The 2024 Subaru Impreza RS could be the perfect car for you because it combines performance, reliability, and versatility in one sleek package. With its sporty design and powerful engine, the Impreza RS delivers an exhilarating driving experience that would satisfy your need for speed. Its legendary Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive would ensure exceptional traction and control, making it ideal for all weather conditions. Additionally, the Impreza RS offers impressive fuel efficiency, making it a practical choice for daily commuting and long road trips. With its spacious interior and advanced safety features, you could confidently embark on any adventure, knowing that you are protected and surrounded by modern comforts. The 2024 Subaru Impreza RS would truly embody everything you desire in a car, making it a perfect choice for you.