Here Are The Subaru Impreza Years to Avoid and Most Best Year for Reliability

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a reliable, safe, and versatile used compact car like the Subaru Impreza sedan vehicle?

Before you purchase, it’s crucial to know that not all model years are created equal. Some years have been plagued with problems and poor industry reviews.

Don’t get stuck with a lemon! This article will reveal the Subaru Impreza model years to avoid the plague.

By the end of this quick and informative read, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to steer clear of potential headaches and find the Subaru Impreza best year and perfect one that meets all your needs.

Subaru Impreza Best Year

Worst Impreza Years to Avoid and Unique Problems

According to several consumer reports and professional platforms, let’s begin with the reported worst years you should avoid due to many problems and concerns.

Head Gasket Issues

2002 and 2008 models: One of the worst years for the Subaru Impreza was 2008, with many complaints and 15 recalls.

A common issue with this particular model is related to the head gasket. Should you notice coolant leaks or overheating, it might signal problems with the head gasket. The 2002 model also falls in the category of years to avoid, though it is more problematic than the 2008 version.

Transmission Problems

The 2012 and 2015 models of the Subaru Impreza also made it to the list of worst years, primarily due to transmission issues, which include rough shifting, slipping, or a complete failure, requiring a costly repair or replacement.

Keep an eye out for warning signs, and address them promptly if you own or consider buying a used Impreza from these years.

Engine Problems

The 2009 and 2013 models experienced numerous engine problems, including high oil consumption, engine knocking, and owners reporting failure.

To keep your Impreza running smoothly, be proactive about regular maintenance and pay attention to any unusual engine sounds or performance changes.

The Best Impreza Years

Here are some best Subaru Impreza years to consider and what makes them stand out from other model years.

2023 Subaru Impreza

The 2023 Subaru Impreza is one of the best years for Subaru Impreza model available. As a newer model, you can expect it to have the latest features and technology.

Additionally, newer models generally have fewer complaints and recalls, making the 2023 Impreza an excellent choice.

2021 Impreza

The 2021 Subaru Impreza is another top contender. This model boasts an all-wheel drive system, a comfortable and spacious cabin, and excellent safety features, contributing to a more enjoyable driving experience.

Moreover, it has a strong reputation for reliability, making it a fantastic option for your next purchase.

2018 and 2016 Impreza

The 2018 and 2016 Subaru Impreza model years have received accolades for their performance and overall quality. You can enjoy a blend of modern features, a comfortable ride, and reliable performance with either of these options.

2001 and 2006 Models

If you are considering older Subaru Impreza models, the 2001 and 2006 editions are well-regarded thanks to their reliability and performance.

Remember that older models may require more maintenance, but Subaru vehicles are known for holding their value and having a slower depreciation rate than many other brands.

Which is The Most Reliable Subaru Impreza Year?

When selecting number one best year for Subaru Impreza and most reliable model, consider the 2017 modelThis year offers the best bang for your buck, providing a quiet and comfortable ride, even in the back seat.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and has an all-wheel-drive, four-door sedan configuration. With these features, you can enjoy a dependable and comfortable driving experience.

Reliability Scores and Rankings

The Subaru Impreza reliability stands at an average rating of 3.5 / 5.0 for a compact sedan.

J.D. Power Quality and Reliability ratings combine both quality and dependability scores. The quality scores are based on initial owner response and feedback on their new purchase, while dependability scores focus on longer-term ownership experiences of 3 years.

Consumer Reports has been testing the Subaru Impreza for almost 20 years, providing a detailed history of reliability for this model.

For example, the 2020 Subaru Impreza stands out as one of the best years to consider due to its high-reliability scores and 27 mpg fuel efficiency, which earned it a “green choice” accolade.

Be sure to research and compare the reliability scores for the specific model years you’re interested in to make the most informed decision.

Subaru Impreza Model Years Comparison

This brief comparison provides an overview of the most reliable Subaru Impreza years and the ones known for their problems.

Let’s break down some specific generation issues:

  • Second-generation Subaru Impreza (2005-2006): Watch out for head gasket failures and other issues.
  • Fourth-generation Subaru Impreza (2012 and 2015): Although they show improvements in reliability, some issues persist.

When comparing different Subaru Impreza model years, it’s worth noting that used Subaru Imprezas retain their value quite well.

After five years, they typically depreciate at 36%, which is slower than most other vehicles on the market.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Having ample ideas of maintenance and repair costs associated with the Impreza is essential and will be helpful in the long run.

On average, a Subaru Impreza will cost you about $5,900 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This figure beats the industry average for popular sedan models by $1,196.

The annual car maintenance costs total approximately $653. This cost is slightly higher than the average vehicle, which is $651 per year, making the Impreza reasonably affordable.

Routine maintenance: You’ll need to keep up with routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, which can help offset oil-burning issues reported in some models when they reach 111,000 miles and cost an average of $2,900 to repair.

The first 10 years: Despite the relatively low maintenance costs, it’s worth noting that there’s a 17.73% chance that your Impreza will require significant repair during its first 10 years.

To avoid a significant problem, follow the recommended maintenance schedule and promptly address any concerns.

In summary, here’s what to expect concerning maintenance and repair costs for your Subaru Impreza:

  • Average total maintenance cost for the first 10 years: $5,900
  • Annual maintenance cost: $653
  • Oil change frequency: Regularly to avoid issues with oil-burning
  • Potential major repairs: 17.73% chance within the first 10 years.

Subaru Impreza bad versions white

Safety Features and Ratings

Any used car buyer must understand the safety features and ratings for various model years.

For instance, the 2021 Impreza model boasts active safety features, including a standard All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system that provides excellent traction and increased stability on the road. This helps keep you and your passengers safe in various driving conditions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are two critical sources for vehicle safety ratings. The model has received impressive safety ratings in some of the best Subaru Impreza years, such as 2021.

Complaints and recalls: The 2008 Impreza model had many NHTSA complaints and recalls, mainly related to windshield and window issues that could hinder the driver’s view of the road.

In contrast, other Impreza model years have fewer complaints and better safety features, making them more desirable for buyers concerned about safety.

  • 2000, 2004: Basic safety features such as airbags and anti-lock brakes,
  • 2010, 2011: Improved safety features, including electronic stability control and traction control,
  • 2017, 2020: Updated safety technologies like EyeSight driver-assist technology and enhanced collision avoidance systems.

Remember that some Impreza models with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) might not be as reliable as those with a traditional manual or automatic transmission.

Trim Levels and Standard Features

Knowing the different trim levels and standard features will help make your choice easier, so read the details below:

The Subaru Impreza is typically available in several trim levels: Base model, Premium, Sport, and Limited.

Base Model

Starting with the base model, you can enjoy an all-wheel-drive system, a unique standard feature in the compact car class.

Also, expect a touchscreen infotainment system, power windows, door locks, and a rearview camera, providing you with essential convenience and safety options.

Premium Trim

Moving up to the Premium trim, you’ll notice additions such as alloy wheels, heated front seats, and automatic climate control, enhancing comfort during those colder months.

Some Premium trims offer advanced safety features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, providing extra peace of mind on your journey.

Sport Trim

The Sport trim might be your best choice for those seeking a more engaging driving experience. This trim level features sport-tuned suspension, larger alloy wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, providing a more athletic feel on the road.

Additionally, you’ll find unique interior accents and exterior styling cues, setting the Sport trim apart from other models.

Limited Trim

The Limited trim is the top-of-the-line option, including luxurious features like leather seating, a more extensive touchscreen infotainment system, and automatic climate control for added convenience.

Safety-wise, you’ll benefit from advanced driver-assistance technologies, like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, ensuring a safer and more relaxed driving experience.

Technology and Connectivity

Indeed, technology and connectivity are now a must-have in any modern vehicle, so you have plenty of options in the Subaru Impreza.

Subaru Starlink multimedia system: These impressive connectivity options come with recent models. Starting from 2017, Subaru Imprezas come equipped with the Starlink multimedia system.

This system is highly praised for its user-friendly interface and easy access to essential functions like music, navigation, and communication.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: Also, the recent Subaru Impreza models support popular smartphone integration features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which makes connecting your device and accessing your favorite apps a breeze.

With these features, you can enjoy hands-free communication, seamless navigation, and in-vehicle entertainment for long drives or daily commutes.

To sum up the technology and connectivity features in the Subaru Impreza:

  • Subaru Starlink Multimedia System (available since 2017)
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration
  • User-friendly interface

Fuel Economy and Performance

You also want to have some ideas of what to expect for fuel economy and performance, like looking to avoid years with notable issues with fuel economy and body problems, which include the 2009, 2010, and 2013 models.

Fuel economy is vital to any car buyer, and the Impreza offers decent gas mileage. However, the mentioned years need to provide better fuel efficiency.

Now, look at the manual and automatic transmission options and their impact on performance.

Manual Transmission

If you prefer a manual transmission, it offers a more engaging and sporty driving experience.

The Impreza’s manual options typically receive praise for their smooth gear shifts and efficient power delivery. However, these transmissions may have lower fuel efficiency than their automatic counterparts.

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission option in the Impreza lineup has evolved from a traditional torque converter to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

CVT generally offers better fuel economy than manual transmission, though many drivers still prefer the feel and control a manual gearbox provides.

Competitor Comparison

When considering a Subaru Impreza, it’s helpful to compare it with its main competitors: Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Nissan Sentra. Let’s look at how these models fare against each other.

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla’s best years are known for reliability and fuel efficiency. While it may not offer the all-wheel drive capabilities of the Subaru Impreza, it has a lower starting price and a reputation for low maintenance costs.

However, the Corolla’s interior might feel less spacious than the Impreza.

Honda Civic

Like the Corolla, the Honda Civic boasts strong reliability, excellent fuel economy, and affordable maintenance costs.

The Civic’s performance is a notch above the competition, with sporty handling and a comfortable ride.

But, like the Toyota Corolla, it lacks the all-wheel drive option available in the Subaru Impreza, which could be a deciding factor depending on your driving needs.

Nissan Sentra

The Nissan Sentra, while less popular than the Corolla or Civic, offers a comfortable and roomy interior, making it a suitable option for families.

Despite its lower starting price, the Sentra might have slightly higher maintenance costs and doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. However, you should be aware of the Nissan Sentra model years to be avoided.

Feature Subaru Impreza Toyota Corolla Honda Civic Nissan Sentra
All-Wheel Drive Yes, standard No No No
Fuel Efficiency 28 city / 36 highway (mpg) 30 city / 38 highway (mpg) 30 city / 38 highway (mpg) 29 city / 39 highway (mpg)
Starting Price Approx. $19,000 Approx. $20,000 Approx. $22,000 Approx. $18,000
Reliability Good, but some years to avoid Excellent Excellent Good


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it an excellent used car option?

A used Subaru Impreza can be an excellent option for its reliability, all-wheel drive, and fuel efficiency. Try looking into models from 2015 and later, especially the 2017 version, which offers good value for money.

Top-of-the-line Impreza?

The latest Subaru Impreza models, such as the 2023 version, offer enhanced performance, technology, and safety features. Consider the Impreza Sport or Limited trims for top-of-the-line features and amenities.

Hatchback or sedan?

The Subaru Impreza hatchback and sedan offer similar performance, comfort, and safety features. The choice comes down to your personal preference and cargo needs. The hatchback offers more cargo space, while the sedan has a slightly sleeker look.

Impreza longevity?

Subaru Impreza is known for its longevity, with many owners driving their vehicles well beyond 200,000 miles. Proper maintenance and avoiding models with known issues like those from 2012 and 2013 will help ensure you get the most out of your Impreza.


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