Compact car; Built in
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $10,900 – $22,900*

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride
  • Acceleration
  • Engine noise while accelerating

The Subaru Impreza brings to the very competitive compact-car market some rare-for-the-class features including standard all-wheel drive and the brand’s signature “boxer” engine layout. Impreza delivers a well-rounded package that’s roomy, pleasant to drive, and very practical. Downsides include an engine that isn’t particularly powerful and can be quite noisy at times. For shoppers adventuresome enough to look beyond the default choices in small cars, the Impreza should be on their must-drive list. If you’re looking at hatchbacks, and even small SUVs, be sure to consider the Impreza wagon as well.


The all-wheel-drive Impreza is Subaru’s compact car, and it was completely redesigned for 2012. Impreza was available in two body styles, a 4-door sedan and a 4-door hatchback that the company called a wagon.

Subaru offered the Impreza sedan in 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Limited versions.

The base 2.0i came standard with all-wheel-drive, 15-inch wheels, 5-speed manual transmission, and many popular features including air conditioning and power windows/locks/mirrors.

The 2.0i Premium added cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded audio system, a center console armrest, and a stabilizer bar for the rear suspension.

The uplevel 2.0i Limited came standard with Subaru’s “Lineartronic” continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves much like an automatic. Other added equipment included 17-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed upholstery, upgraded stereo system with a 4.3-inch LCD display screen, automatic climate control, chrome exterior trim, and automatic on-off headlamps.

Subaru offered the Impreza wagon in 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Sport Premium, and 2.0i Sport Limited versions.

The base 2.0i model’s standard equipment included a 5-speed manual transmission, all-wheel-drive, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, height-adjustable driver seat, and a 4-speaker stereo system along with power windows, locks, and mirrors.

The next version was the 2.0i Premium. This model added cruise control, 16-inch aluminum wheels, 6-speaker stereo entertainment system, an armrest integrated into the center console, and a rear-suspension stabilizer. Steering wheel-mounted controls for the stereo were also included.

Then came the 2.0i Sport Premium. It wears gray-finished 17-inch alloy wheels, specific upholstery, fog lamps, and roof rails.

Continuing up the price scale, we arrive at the 2.0i Sport Limited. This Impreza came standard with Subaru’s “Lineartronic” continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves much like an automatic. Other additions included leather upholstery, stereo system with 4.3-inch display, automatic climate control, rear-seat armrest with cupholders, bright chrome accent trim, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and automatic headlight control.

Imprezas offered few factory-installed options. The CVT could be added to the 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Sport Premium variants. A power sunroof was available on all sedans except the base 2.0i, and on 2.0i Limited and 2.0i Sport Limited wagons. Buyers could specify extra-cost 17-inch wheels on 2.0i Premium. There were also a small number of option groups.

The Impreza’s only engine was a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that used Subaru’s traditional horizontally opposed “boxer” design. The 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Sport Premium came standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. The “Lineartronic” continuously variable transmission (CVT) that acts much like an automatic was optional on those three models and standard on 2.0i Limited and 2.0i Sport Limited.

All Imprezas were equipped with all-wheel drive.

The EPA estimated that the Impreza sedan with the CVT automatic would return 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. With the 5-speed manual transmission, the estimates were 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Wagons had the same estimates, except the manual-transmission version was rated at 33 on the highway.

All Imprezas used regular-grade gas.

Note: A version of the Impreza Wagon with a raised ride height, increased ground clearance, and SUV styling was sold as the Subaru XV Crosstrek starting in 2013. The 2012-2014 Impreza WRX and WRX STI performance models continued using the same basic design as the 2008-2011 versions of those cars. For more information on the XV Crosstrek or Impreza WRX, please see Consumer Guide’s reviews of those models.

Yearly Updates

2012 Impreza
Changes for 2013 were fairly modest. Base models now benefited from standard Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link and audio streaming. Across the board enhancements included iPod control capability, USB port, and an AUX input jack. Cars with the CVT transmission now included Incline Start Assist that was previously only standard with the 5-speed manual transmission. Impreza 2.0i Premium with the manual transmission was now equipped with the All-Weather Package as standard; the package remained optional for the 2.0i Premium with CVT. The optional navigation system now included a rearview camera. Finally, the 2.0i Sport Premium wagon gained a couple upgraded interior bits including a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
2013 Impreza
The 2014 models only received minor updates including the addition of Aha-based smartphone connectivity in models with the optional navigation system.


longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

The Impreza’s only engine is a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that uses Subaru’s traditional horizontally opposed “boxer” design. The 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, and 2.0i Sport Premium come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. The “Lineartronic” continuously variable transmission (CVT) that acts much like an automatic is optional on those three models and standard on the 2.0i Limited sedan and 2.0i Sport Limited wagon.

dohc H41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 148
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 145
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
CVT automatic

1. Wagon with manual transmission rated at 25/33.

Road Test

Manual-trans Imprezas are the liveliest of the bunch, but require adept gear selection for the best pep. Our testers have mixed impressions of the manual transmission’s shifter. Some think it works well, but others find it a bit balky to use. With the CVT, Impreza feels eager from a stop, especially around town. Highway merging is a bit more leisurely, but the car cruises effortlessly.

In Consumer Guide testing, Impreza 2.0i Limited sedans with the CVT averaged 24.5 in mixed driving and 28.6 with more highway work. A 2.0i Sport Premium wagon with the manual transmission averaged 26.1 MPG in mixed driving. Impreza uses regular-grade gas.

Impreza’s ride quality is surprisingly supple over most road imperfections.

Impreza handles well with well-checked body lean in corners and nicely weighted steering. Grip is excellent even on wet roads. The overall driving experience is very confidence inspiring, but not particularly sporty. Several testers were pleased with Impreza’s excellent traction during Chicago-area snow storms. Braking control is fine with an easy-to-modulate pedal.

Interior quietness is not one of Impreza’s strengths. There’s noticeable wind and road noise while at steady cruise. The engine is very vocal and not very pleasant sounding under strong acceleration, but otherwise it fades into the background.

In general, Impreza’s controls are clearly marked and logically placed. The audio system and climate controls are mounted fairly high on the dash and are within easy reach. The optional navigation system absorbs many audio controls, and it uses a touch-screen interface with small virtual buttons that are tricky to use on the go.

Impreza’s interior is conservatively styled, but it looks nice and uses a combination of soft-touch and hard-plastic surfaces. The dash’s central control panel has a grained metallic-black finish that adds a little visual interest, as does the restrained use of silver-painted trim on the dash and console.

The airy interior is an Impreza strong point. Even larger folks should feel comfortable up front. Generous fore-aft seat travel will have 6-footers sliding the seat forward a bit. Legroom and headroom are very good, even under the available sunroof. Entry and exit are easy, and the seats are comfortable. The center armrest is padded, but it is mounted far back on the console. It slides forward over the rear-most cupholder putting it in good position, at least for a 6-foot-plus driver. The headrests are adjustable fore and aft in addition to up and down. Visibility all around is very good, especially to the rear corners.

Rear-seat space is better than the compact-car norm. A six-footer will fit behind another, with adequate foot space, legroom, and headroom. Entry and exit are fairly easy, helped by wide-opening rear doors.

Sedans have a nice-size trunk with a wide opening and a handy flat floor, and the split-fold rear seat backs fold for more cargo space. Impreza wagons have a top-hinged rear hatch that opens to a good-sized cargo hold, and there’s a retractable cover to help hide luggage. In addition, the split-fold rear seat flops forward to open up additional cargo space. Small-item storage is better than average with bottle holders in all four doors (the fronts have additional storage space too), a large open bin in front of the shifter, a bi-level bin behind the shifter, two cupholders in the console, and a good-size drop-down glovebox. The center console bin is a bit far back, but it is has holders for a pen and tissues, along with a USB port, AUX jack, and 12-volt power socket in most models. The door pulls form storage bins in the armrests with enough room to securely hold a medium-sized cell phone or some change.


Model Tested: 2.0i Sport Limited wagon w/CVT

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 7


Value - 7

Total: 59


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.1 173.8 68.5 59.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
52.4 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 37.1 43.5 35.4
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.1 180.3 68.5 57.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.0 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 37.1 43.5 35.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2012 Impreza wagon 4-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 3

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 3


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots


Recall History

2012 Impreza
Description: Certain 2012 model Impreza sedans and wagons made between April 21, 2011 and February 16, 2012 may have an issue with the Occupant Detection System (ODS) that controls the passenger-side air bag. The ODS may deactivate if a front-seat passenger operates a device that is plugged into the vehicle’s power outlet or touches a metal part of the vehicle including the seat adjustment lever. If the ODS deactivates, the passenger-side airbag will be turned off and will not deploy in a crash.
2012 Impreza
Description: Certain 2012 model Impreza vehicles made between April 21, 2011 and November 15 2011 may nave a brake master cylinder that can malfunction, resulting in a sudden increase in the amount of pedal travel required to stop the vehicle.
2012-13 Impreza
Description: Certain 2012 and 2013 model Impreza vehicles equipped with the CVT transmission and an Audiovox remote engine start accessory (RES) may randomly start. If the RES keyfob is dropped, it may malfunction and randomly transmit an engine start request without a person actually pressing the button. If this happens, the vehicle’s engine may inadvertently start and run for 15-minute cycles until the fob’s battery is dead or the vehicle runs out of fuel.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.