Is A Subaru Impreza A Good First Car?

The Subaru Impreza is a compact car that has the option for both a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback.  The Impreza has a 4-cylinder engine with the option for either an automatic or manual transmission.

This article will explore whether a Subaru Impreza is a good first car, which includes weighing the risk and benefits of driving this compact vehicle.

Is A Subaru Impreza A Good First Car?

The Subaru Impreza can be a good first car for some people, but that doesn’t make it a good first car for everyone.  Being a compact car, individuals that are larger in size or desire a more powerful engine may not find the Impreza a suitable option.

Risks Of Driving A Subaru Impreza As A First Car

Subaru’s in general, have a good reputation for safety and reliability.  However, those factors alone don’t make it a good option as a first car for all people.

Here are some of the downsides of having an Impreza as a first car:

Limited Space

The Subaru Impreza is a compact car.  Accordingly, the space inside the car is limited.  For larger and taller individuals, the Impreza will not be the most comfortable ride.

Additionally, in the sedan version, the trunk space is also minimal at only 12.3 cubic feet.  The hatchback version provides more truck space at 20.8 cubic feet and the option to fold the rear seats creates more space.

However, if you need to haul larger items on a regular basis, there may not be sufficient storage space in this vehicle.  You should consider the size of the items you will need to lug on a regular basis and if they will fit in this car.

Lack Of A Powerful Engine

The Impreza’s engine isn’t the most powerful, generating only 152 horsepower and 145 pounds of torque. 

Therefore, many people feel as though the car is sluggish and takes some time to get up to significant speeds.  This is evident by the fact that this car takes at least 8.4 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour.

Not being able to accelerate quickly enough can be dangerous for a new driver because this may prevent them from getting out of the way of a precarious situation quickly enough to avoid harm.

Safety In The Event Of An Accident

Compact cars are small.  As such there is less vehicle around the driver to protect them in the event of an accident.  For new drivers, a vehicle that is a little larger can be safer in the event of an accident.

Benefits Of Driving A Subaru Impreza As A First Car

Although there are some downsides to driving an Impreza as a first car, there are also a lot of benefits.

Contemplate the following:

All-Wheel Drive

The Subaru Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive.  This is an excellent benefit for newer drivers who live in areas prone to inclement weather as all-wheel drive vehicles provide extra traction on slick roads.

Additionally, it is harder to find many other compact cars that come standard with all-wheel drive.  Many other cars in this category from other manufacturers have all-wheel drive as an option which would be available for an additional cost.


The cost is another great benefit of the Impreza for a first car.  The new Subaru Impreza starts at $18,795 for the sedan and $19,295 for the hatchback version. 

Although there are premium, sport, and limited models of the Impreza and additional options, most families will find the starting price point of this vehicle affordable compared to other options on the market. 

This is especially important if the newer driver is trying to afford their first car on a limited budget.


Gas cost and fuel efficiency is something that is an ongoing consideration for any car owner.  A benefit of the Impreza is that it uses 87 octane regular gas, which is the cheapest octane level. 

Additionally, the fuel efficiency of the car impacts how often you have to fill up the tank which impacts how much is spent on gas on a regular basis. 

Below is a chart outlining how many miles per gallon the Impreza gets per model offered in both automatic and manual transmissions:

Impreza ModelAutomatic (MPG)Manual (MPG)
Sedan28 city / 36 highway23 city / 31 highway
5-Door28 city / 36 highway24 city / 31 highway
Premium28 city / 36 highwayn/a
Premium 5-Door28 city / 36 highwayn/a
Sport Sedan27 city / 36 highwayn/a
Sport 5-Door27 city / 35 highway22 city / 30 highway
Limited Sedan28 city / 36 highwayn/a
Limited 5-Door28 city / 36 highwayn/a

Ease Of Parking

One of the benefits of having a compact car is that they are easier to park.  Although the lack of size can be a downside in some cases, smaller cars are easier to parallel park, fit into smaller parking spots, and will not have a problem with height restrictions in parking garages.

Generally, someone who is a newer driver needs to adjust to parking a car in different locations, and having a compact car will make this an easier task.

Good Visibility

Being able to see clearly is important for any driver but driving a car with good visibility is especially important for new drivers.  The Impreza is designed in a manner that promotes visibility out of all the windows.

Accordingly, blind spots are limited in the Impreza which will allow the new driver to be able to clearly see other vehicles surrounding them before changing lanes.

Manual Transmission Option

Manual transmissions have become rare these days.  Therefore, if you wanted to own a manual transmission vehicle before they are even harder to acquire the Subaru Impreza gives you that option. 

This could also be beneficial for a new driver who wants to learn how to drive a stick shift but doesn’t have access to one to learn.

Safety Features And Reputation

Subaru’s in general are known for their reliability, but they also come equipped with a lot of safety features that are great for someone looking for their first car.

Some of the safety features the Impreza has are as follows:

  • Brake assist
  • Braking override system
  • Traction control system
  • Rear view camera
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking
  • Vehicle dynamic control
  • All time all-wheel drive
  • Eyesight Driver Assist (option)

Final Thoughts

The Subaru Impreza can be a good choice for a first car depending on the characteristics the person desires.  The biggest downsides with the Impreza are the compact size of the car as well as the lack of engine power leading to a slow acceleration. 

However, if you are a smaller individual who doesn’t need a super-fast car, the Subaru Impreza may be the perfect option for a first car.

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