What Are The Best & Worst Years For The Subaru Impreza? [My Honest Review]

Is a Subaru Impreza a good investment? If so, then which years?

Being offered in coupe, sedan, and hatchback body styles, the Subaru Impreza has gained a lot of traction over the years.

It has remained a compact car and features a solid lineup of models which date back to 1992.

Seeing how far the Subaru Impreza goes back and combining it with yearly models, it can be quite a hassle to get a good-quality model. This is enhanced further when you have no idea what to choose.

For this reason, I will look into the best and worst years for Subaru Impreza and give you my honest opinion and facts about the car.

Worst Years for Subaru Impreza:

  1. 2008
  2. 2012
  3. 2018
  4. 2019
  5. 2006

Best Years for Subaru Impreza:

  1. 2021
  2. 2020
  3. 1998
  4. 2017
  5. 1999

If the Subaru Impreza has recently caught your eye and you are interested in purchasing one, then be sure to have a look at the models discussed in this article.

I will also discuss other things you need to know about the Subaru Impreza.

What Are The Worst Years For The Subaru Impreza? Which Years To Avoid

Cars have a habit of being problematic to the point where they can get annoying.

Here are some of the worst and most problematic years for the Subaru Impreza that you would do well to stay clear from unless you want to spend a pretty penny.

1. 2008 Subaru Impreza 2008

The reason why I have placed the 2008 Subaru Impreza in the first place is that it has the most number of complaints in the entire lineup.

While it is possible that one of the earlier models could have been worse due to the lack of recorded complaints surrounding them, the 2008 model will have to do.

The biggest problem the 2008 Subaru Impreza faced was in the engine. It had a bad case of a head gasket leak.

The engine would rev when the clutch was in, and there would always be a knocking sound.

The windshield that came with this Subaru Impreza also seemed to have a film. This was enough for the NHTSA to raise various complaints on visibility.

Apart from these two major problems, there were various issues with the clutch, AC, and steering. All of this made the 2008 Subaru Impreza very undesirable.

2. 2012 Subaru Impreza

Following in the footsteps of the 2008 model, the 2012 Subaru Impreza is ranked second on this list for having the second most complaints.

The majority of these complaints were also directed towards the engine. The rest were either directed to the transmission or other components.

Moreover, the engine was known for its excessive consumption of oil. This was usually accompanied by sudden acceleration, which was anything but intentional.

There were instances of the engine even bursting into flames while driving! Lastly, the transmission was also prone to failure and would not shift properly.

3. 2018 Subaru Impreza

With the previous model doing so well, it was a surprise to see a decrease in performance and an increase in issues with the 2018 Subaru Impreza.

An array of electrical issues, engine problems, and steering issues followed. This is why I placed this model as the 3rd worst one.

The steering would wander while driving, which is sad because various electrical issues such as a faulty alternator and dead battery prevented the car from starting!

The engine still tended to accelerate unintentionally and the cam caps oil would also leak.

4. 2019 Subaru Impreza

What followed the 2018 Subaru Impreza was another small disappointment called the 2019 Subaru Impreza year model.

This model also suffered from various electrical and engine problems and somehow managed to cram in various other issues.

Despite this, it was still well-received than the 2018 model, which is why I placed it in 4th place.

The battery still tends to die very quickly, getting into electrical issues. The engine was still rapidly using oil and was, in general, very sluggish and would stall.

Regarding accessories, Bluetooth would struggle to maintain a connection, and the radio had various issues.

5. 2006 Subaru Impreza

Taking the final spot on this list is the 2006 Subaru Impreza model which was widely known for its issues with the engine and various other dilemmas.

Apart from the engine problems, the rest of the issues were few and far between, which is why this model is taking last place at number 5.

When it came to the engine, people had to deal with various issues ranging from leaking head gaskets and broken engine mounts.

Additionally, the crankshaft sensor would fail, and the engine would make a tapping noise.

Any other issues could be found in the clutch and transmission system but were uncommon at the very least.

What Are The Best Years For The Subaru Impreza? Which Years To Buy

Since I am done with listing the worst years, now I am going to write the best years in details so you could decide accordingly which model you should go for.

1. 2021 Subaru Impreza

Despite the cheap feeling interior on the base and mid-level trims, many would argue that the 2021 Subaru Impreza is probably the best modern version of the model.

This is partly because it has very few problems and, at most, minor grievances.

Coming in at four different trims, you could see the quality in the limited and premium trim as the cabin had utilized top materials.

Apart from that, all versions of the car came with outstanding visibility and great riding potential.

This was further expanded upon via amazing handling. Additionally, this was complimented by lots of rear legroom and headroom.

Flexing a variety of active safety features and an AWD as standard, you had a very capable car available in a 5-seat sedan or a 4-door hatchback.

This and the modern technologies packed into it made the 2021 Subaru Impreza my top pick in the lineup.

2. 2020 Subaru Impreza

While the 2021 Subaru Impreza is my topic pick, it could not have reached its full potential if not for the 2020 Subaru Impreza, which is a close second.

It would have been an easy contender for first place had it not had a few kinks here and there. Regardless of them, this model was also available in 4 different trims.

This model featured an updated styling and an array of active safety features, which would get carried over to the 2021 model.

Both models are very similar, but 2021 can edge out and take first place.

3. 1998 Subaru Impreza

1998 was a good year for the Subaru Impreza because it was the year of release for the Subaru Impreza 22B STI, one of the most iconic looking cars of all time.

While this model was only sold in Japan, many units have made their way to the states and often go over hundreds of thousands when they go on sale.

This particular variant of the Subaru Impreza took high performance to an entirely different level.

Being part of a limited production run, all units of this variant were sold in under two days. This rare Subaru deserves to be in this position, and it would be a sin not to include it on this list.

4. 2017 Subaru Impreza

Going back to more modern times, the 2017 Subaru Impreza was also a very impressive model.

This model was completely redesigned and offered as a sedan and a hatchback. It also included a new sports trim, raising the total trim count to 4.

Along with bringing new safety technology to the table, the 2017 Subaru Impreza had a standard AWD and excellent front and rear visibility.

Unfortunately, it was hampered by cheap interiors in the base trim, and many advanced safety features were just not available there either. This is the reason it takes 4th place on this list.

5. 1999 Subaru Impreza

Ending it off with another classic, the 1999 Subaru Impreza is another greatly appreciated vehicle that many adore.

This reliable and quintessential model was an AWD that was a huge example of dependability. The fact that, it delivered top speed and power was enough for me to give it a spot on this list.

While the car does have its issues, they are mainly related to cargo space or personal opinion.

When you are trading all of that for horsepower and above-average reliability, it is safe to say that it is a worthwhile trade, making the 1999 Subaru Impreza a solid car.

How Reliable Is A Subaru Impreza?

Seeing the track record of the Subaru Impreza, you can see that the car has been widely regarded for its reliability for decades now.

This has allowed the Subaru Impreza to gather staggering ratings over the years, with many people giving it an 80% or greater score.

Unfortunately, when compared to the competition, it is beaten by a lot of other vehicles.

These vehicles not only beat the car in terms of reliability but also in terms of fixing price, being cheaper to fix than the Subaru Impreza.

How Long Do Subaru Imprezas Last?

If you make sure to give some amount of care to your Subaru Impreza, you will find that it can easily last a minimum of 13 years.

If you give it a good amount of care and maintenance, you may be able to push beyond 17 years.

On average, you should expect between 200,000 and 250,000 miles from the Subaru Impreza, after which it is safe to assume the car will not last long.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Subaru Impreza

Since the maximum that you will see your Subaru Impreza up and running is a meager 17 years, you should carry out the necessary steps to make it last longer.

In this part of the article, I will list important advice that you should follow to increase the life of your Subaru Impreza.

Here are activities that you should follow:

  • Repressurize and align tires every year or so.
  • Regularly clean your car to avoid rust.
  • Schedule a maintenance test with a mechanic every 3 to 4 months.
  • Drive the Subaru Impreza on smooth surfaces and avoid the rubble.
  • Change worn-out or expired parts when need be.
  • Use quality fuel.

By carrying out the above tasks and doing so regularly, you will treat your car as it deserves to be and, in return, see it increase in its lifespan significantly.

Things That Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Subaru Impreza

Now that you know what you need to do to make your Subaru Impreza last longer, you should also know all the various activities which actively hurt its lifespan.

Knowing them will help you avoid them and, in turn, increase the life of the car.

Here is what you should avoid:

  • Driving on rough terrain/off roads.
  • Using poor quality replacement parts.
  • Driving too much or too little.
  • Not regularly changing fluids.
  • Hard braking and drifting
  • Driving on low fuel.

Once you start to remove these from your driving habits, you will see an increase in performance in your Subaru Impreza. This corresponds to a longer lifespan.

3 Most Subaru Impreza Common Problems You Should Know

You cannot put out a lineup of cars for as long as the Subaru Impreza and not get any common issues.

In this part of the article, I have taken the liberty to research and discuss the three most common and major issues which plague the Subaru Impreza.

Knowing them will help you understand what you should expect in case something goes wrong with your Subaru Impreza.

1. Transmission Failure

Generally happening extremely early on in the lifespan of the car, the Subaru Impreza’s transmission was lackluster and could not handle the speed and power of the car.

This resulted in the transmission eventually failing. This was on top of the fact that it would cost a couple of grand to fix. All of this would occur within the first year of the car’s life.

2. Unintended Acceleration

Engines are not the strong suit when it comes to the Subaru Impreza. While they are able to output a good amount of power and speed, they are just not built to last.

This massive dip in engine quality causes unintended acceleration, which is extremely dangerous.

Not only can this send the car out of control, but it can also lead to horrific accidents.

3. Excess Fuel Consumption

Another by-product of the poor engines being used in the Subaru Impreza, the engines would guzzle fuel like it was nothing.

Owners of the car found themselves spending huge amounts just on fuel which is something no one wants to do.

This is sad, considering that the Subaru Impreza is supposed to be a very fast car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Subaru Impreza A Good Car?

Taking all that I have discussed in this article, it is safe to say that the Subaru Impreza is a very good car.

Despite being overshadowed by its competitors when it comes to reliability, it is still able to hold its own.

All in all, the Subaru Impreza is a great car, and you should not write it off by any means.

Q2: Do Subaru Imprezas Hold Their Value?

After a gap of 5 years, it is possible for the value of the Subaru Impreza to drop substantially. This drop can be anything between 20 to 40% in value.

Seeing these numbers, it is safe to say that the Subaru Impreza has an average at best depreciation rate and a below average at worst.

Q3: How Many Subaru Imprezas Have Been Sold?

Through various reports, I have deduced that the Subaru Impreza has sold around 904,000 units in the United States alone.

It should be noted that this is not an official number and these reports are often on the lower side.

This means that the Subaru Impreza has sold well over 904,000 units which is a very substantial number.

Q4: Which Subaru Impreza Engine Is The Most Reliable?

Given the track record of the Subaru Impreza, it would be difficult to determine which Subaru Impreza engine is the most reliable considering all of them are prone to issues.

Through my research, I have determined that the FB series boxer engines that Subaru has recently put out and has been using are much more reliable than the ones used in previous generations.

Q5: Is Subaru Impreza Expensive To Maintain?

The Subaru Impreza is neither cheap to maintain nor is it expensive. When compared to its competitors, the Subaru Impreza is sitting comfortably on average.

Unless you are forced to make a major repair, it is unlikely that you will have to pay a lot to get your Subaru Impreza fixed. Maintenance wise it also requires almost $650/year.

Conclusion

The Subaru Impreza is a long-running lineup that a lot of people have come to appreciate.

Whether you are old school and want a vintage Subaru Impreza or want a modern one with all the gadgets and Knick knacks, there are plenty of models that will catch your fancy.

All you have to do is choose the model which appeals to you the most. With the help of this article, you should now have the means to figure out the best and worst years for Subaru Impreza.

This will guide you in making the best possible choice when choosing a model for this lineup.

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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