By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

After 25 years, the RS is back, as in the enthusiast-oriented Impreza trim! Admitted, the 2024 Subaru compact hatchback has for long been under the shadow of the more-popular WRX but if you want some vim and vigor in a ride, it will keep up to your expectations. The ride demonstrates incredible nimbleness, remarkable handling and response.

Under the hood of the RS sits a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine putting out 182 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 178 pounds-feet of torque @ 3700 rpm. It is coupled with a continuous variable transmission with 8-speed manual mode and option of steering wheel paddle shifters. The four-wheel independent MacPherson-type strut front and a double wishbone rear suspension soak up bumps and maintain stability in the standard and revised symmetrical all-wheel-drive ride. Borrowed from the WRX, and understandably so, is the dual-pinion electric power-assist steering, which is quick to respond at the slightest turn of the wheel.

The Impreza sports a new frameless hexagonal grille in black finish, surrounded by hawk-eye LED headlights, a raked windshield and noticeable RS doors/hatch badging. The cabin embodies a clean and simple layout with a huge 11.6-inch tablet-style touch screen (first for Impreza) to control navigation, audio and phone along with circular control knobs. Red bolsters on the black cloth seats look sporty and well-complemented by the gunmetal/carbon fiber accents on the dashboard. Lest we forget, the Impreza now gets wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The 60/40-split rear-seat passengers have plenty of room to stretch their legs. Also standard are leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, aluminum alloy pedals, dual auto a/c, 4.2-inch instrument cluster, rear seat armrest with dual cup holders, and wireless phone charger.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, vehicle dynamic control, stability and traction system, rearview camera, blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. The Eyesight assist monitor, which features lane departure warning and active cruise control, ensures that the driver maintains a straight path while the DriverFocus distraction mitigation system sounds a warning if its camera and facial recognition software finds tiredness signs or driver diversion.

Why opt for the Impreza? The reasons are endless. The car sips gas; in fact, we eked out nearly 32 mpg during our week’s driving. And then there’s the $27,885 base tag, a steal considering new car prices are up the roof. Anyone looking to purchase a comfy, good-looking, fun to drive, stylish and agile compact hatch would find that the Impreza fulfills all their needs. And some more!


Tires: 225/40R18

Wheelbase: 105.1 inches

Length: 176.2 inches

Width: 70.1 inches

Height: 58.3 inches

Weight: 3,323 pounds

Fuel capacity: 16.6 gallons

City: 26 mpg; highway, 33 mpg

Price as tested: $31,045

Web site: www.subaru.com