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Are All Subaru Imprezas AWD?

a blue car driving on a dirt road

One of the key selling points of the Subaru Impreza is that every model, regardless of trim level, comes equipped with the automaker’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system as standard equipment. This advanced AWD technology has been a core part of Subaru’s brand identity for decades, providing enhanced traction, control, and capability in a wide range of driving conditions.

The Symmetrical AWD system works by continuously distributing power to all four wheels, ensuring optimal grip and stability on slippery surfaces like snow, ice, gravel, and even wet pavement. Unlike some competitors that offer AWD as an optional extra, Subaru believes so strongly in the benefits of this technology that they make it standard across the entire Impreza lineup.

This commitment to AWD has been a major factor in the Impreza’s popularity in Canada, where harsh winter weather and rugged terrain are common challenges for drivers. The ability to confidently navigate snowy roads, icy conditions, and unpaved surfaces without sacrificing fuel efficiency or affordability has made the Impreza a go-to choice for many Canadians seeking a reliable and capable compact car.

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All Subaru Imprezas Come Standard with Symmetrical AWD

One of the standout features of the Subaru Impreza is its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, which comes standard on every trim level. Unlike many competitors that offer AWD as an optional extra, Subaru has made this advanced traction technology a core part of the Impreza’s DNA.

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system is designed to provide optimal traction and control in all driving conditions. It works by continuously monitoring wheel slip and automatically transferring power between the front and rear axles, as well as between the left and right wheels, to maximize grip. This helps the Impreza maintain stability and composure, even on slippery surfaces like snow, ice, or loose gravel.

The key to the Symmetrical AWD system’s effectiveness lies in its unique layout. Unlike many other AWD systems that are designed primarily for off-road use, Subaru’s system is engineered for on-road performance and handling. The system features a longitudinally mounted boxer engine and a symmetrical drivetrain layout, which helps to evenly distribute weight and improve stability.

In practical terms, this means that the Subaru Impreza offers superior traction and control compared to front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive vehicles, especially in challenging conditions. Whether you’re navigating through a snowstorm or tackling a winding mountain road, the Impreza’s Symmetrical AWD system provides a reassuring level of grip and confidence.


Why Canadians Love AWD Imprezas

The Subaru Impreza’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system is a major selling point for Canadians, particularly those who live in areas with harsh winter conditions or rural environments. The ability to maintain traction and control on snow, ice, and gravel roads is a significant advantage, ensuring safer driving and peace of mind.

From a safety perspective, the Impreza’s AWD capability can be a lifesaver in inclement weather. When roads become slippery, the added traction helps the vehicle maintain control and avoid skids or loss of stability. This can prevent accidents and give drivers more confidence when navigating treacherous conditions.

Additionally, the demand for AWD vehicles in Canada translates to strong resale values for used Imprezas. Buyers recognize the benefits of the symmetrical AWD system, making these cars highly sought after in the pre-owned market. This means Impreza owners can expect to recoup more of their initial investment when it comes time to sell or trade in their vehicle.

Beyond practical considerations, the Impreza’s AWD capability also appeals to Canadians with an active, outdoor lifestyle. Whether it’s accessing remote camping sites, navigating backroads for hiking or skiing, or simply enjoying the freedom of off-road exploration, the Impreza’s sure-footed traction makes it a reliable companion for outdoor enthusiasts.


Potential Engine Issues to Watch For

While the Subaru Impreza is known for its reliability, like any vehicle, it can experience some engine issues, especially as it racks up higher mileage. One common problem that Impreza owners should be aware of is head gasket leaks. The head gasket seals the cylinder head to the engine block, and if it fails, it can cause coolant and oil to mix, leading to overheating and potential engine damage.

Oil consumption is another issue that some Impreza owners have reported. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as worn piston rings or valve stem seals, and can result in the need to top up the oil more frequently than normal. It’s important to keep an eye on your oil level and address any excessive consumption promptly.

Proper maintenance of the timing components is also crucial for the longevity of the Impreza’s engine. The timing belt or chain is responsible for synchronizing the rotation of the camshafts and crankshaft, and if it fails, it can cause significant engine damage. Subaru recommends replacing the timing belt at specific mileage intervals, typically around 105,000 miles, so it’s important to stay on top of this maintenance item.


Transmission Reliability Concerns

When it comes to the Subaru Impreza’s transmission, there are a few potential issues that Canadian drivers should be aware of. One of the most common problems reported is with the automatic transmission, where failures can occur, particularly on higher mileage vehicles.

Automatic transmission issues can manifest in various ways, such as harsh shifting, slipping gears, or complete transmission failure. These problems can be costly to repair or replace, so it’s essential to stay on top of regular maintenance and be vigilant for any warning signs.

For those who opt for the manual transmission, the primary concern is clutch wear. The clutch is a wear item that will eventually need replacement, and its lifespan can be shortened by aggressive driving habits or improper maintenance. Signs of clutch wear include a grinding noise when shifting gears, difficulty engaging gears, or a spongy clutch pedal feel.

Proper clutch technique and avoiding excessive slipping can help extend the life of the clutch, but even with careful driving, it’s a component that will eventually need to be replaced, especially on higher mileage Imprezas. Neglecting clutch maintenance or driving with a worn clutch can lead to more significant transmission issues down the line.


Other Common Problems

While the Subaru Impreza is generally a reliable vehicle, especially when it comes to its standard all-wheel drive system, there are some common issues that owners should be aware of. One area of concern is the infotainment system, which has been known to experience glitches and freezes. This can be frustrating for drivers who rely on the system for navigation, music, and other features.

Another recurring problem with the Impreza is excess oil leaks. Over time, seals and gaskets can deteriorate, leading to oil leaks from various parts of the engine. While not necessarily a major issue, these leaks can be messy and potentially costly to repair if left unchecked.

Other common problems reported by Impreza owners include issues with the climate control system, squeaks and rattles from the interior, and premature wear on certain suspension components. Additionally, some owners have reported issues with the braking system, such as pulsation or vibration when applying the brakes.

It’s important to note that while these issues can occur, they are not necessarily widespread or indicative of major reliability concerns. Regular maintenance and addressing problems promptly can help mitigate many of these issues and ensure a long, trouble-free ownership experience with the Subaru Impreza.


Maintaining Your Impreza for Maximum Longevity

To ensure your Subaru Impreza delivers reliable performance and longevity, following the recommended maintenance schedule is crucial. Neglecting routine service can lead to premature wear and potential breakdowns, negating the inherent durability of the AWD system.

One key aspect of proper Impreza maintenance is using high-quality fluids and lubricants designed specifically for Subaru vehicles. The manufacturer’s approved engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid formulations help protect critical components from excessive wear and corrosion. While budget-friendly alternatives may be tempting, they could prove costly in the long run.

Additionally, it’s essential to keep an eye out for any technical service bulletins (TSBs) or recalls issued by Subaru. These advisories address known issues and provide authorized dealers with repair procedures to rectify potential problems before they escalate. Ignoring recalls or TSBs can compromise the Impreza’s safety and reliability, so addressing them promptly is highly recommended.

By adhering to Subaru’s maintenance guidelines, using the specified fluids, and staying up-to-date on recalls and TSBs, Impreza owners can maximize their vehicle’s dependability and longevity. Proper care and attention will help ensure many years of capable all-weather performance from this iconic AWD compact.


The Future of the AWD Impreza in Canada

As Subaru prepares to launch the 2024 Impreza, several notable changes are on the horizon for this popular all-wheel-drive compact car in the Canadian market. One of the most significant updates is the discontinuation of the manual transmission option, a move that aligns with industry trends as automatics become more prevalent.

The 2024 Impreza will be available solely with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which promises improved fuel efficiency and smoother operation compared to the outgoing manual gearbox. While some driving enthusiasts may lament the loss of the third pedal, the CVT’s convenience and modern performance are expected to appeal to the majority of Impreza buyers.

Beyond the transmission, the 2024 Impreza is slated to receive a refreshed exterior design, with updated styling cues that give the car a more modern and athletic appearance. Interior updates are also anticipated, potentially including new infotainment and connectivity features to keep pace with evolving consumer expectations.

As the Impreza enters its latest model year, it will face increasing competition from a growing crop of small, all-wheel-drive crossover vehicles. Models like the Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-30 offer a similar blend of all-weather capability and compact dimensions, coupled with the added versatility and cargo space of a crossover body style.

While the Impreza’s lower ride height and traditional sedan/hatchback profile may still appeal to some buyers, the crossover segment’s popularity in Canada could pose a challenge for Subaru’s long-running compact car. However, the Impreza’s proven all-wheel-drive prowess and affordable pricing should help it maintain a strong foothold among buyers seeking a capable and value-oriented vehicle for tackling Canadian winters.


All Subaru Imprezas Come Standard with Symmetrical AWD

One of the key selling points of the Subaru Impreza is its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. Unlike many competitors that offer AWD as an optional extra, every single Impreza model comes equipped with this capable drivetrain straight from the factory.

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD is a full-time system that actively distributes power to all four wheels. It uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to automatically transfer torque between the front and rear axles as needed for maximum traction. This allows the Impreza to maintain impressive grip and stability on slippery or loose surfaces like snow, ice, gravel, and dirt roads.

The AWD system gives the Impreza a distinct advantage over front-wheel drive rivals when driving in harsh Canadian weather conditions. Whether navigating through a surprise snowstorm or traversing muddy backroads, the Impreza’s sure-footed AWD capability inspires confidence behind the wheel. This makes it an excellent choice for those who frequently encounter challenging terrain or simply want added peace of mind during the winter months.

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Questions About Subaru Impreza AWD

All Subaru Imprezas sold in Canada come standard with Subaru’s signature symmetrical all-wheel drive system. This advanced AWD system provides enhanced traction and control in all weather conditions.

The following 2024 Impreza models are available in Canada:


– Impreza Sedan


– Impreza Sport Sedan


– Impreza Sport-tech RS Sedan


– Impreza Hatchback


– Impreza Sport Hatchback


– Impreza Sport-tech RS Hatchback


All models come standard with Subaru’s symmetrical AWD.

Subaru Imprezas have a reputation for excellent reliability in Canada. According to data from J.D. Power, 96% of Impreza owners say they would buy another Subaru due to the high dependability. Proper maintenance is key, but Imprezas are designed to handle Canada’s tough conditions.

The average lifespan of a Subaru Impreza in Canada is over 300,000 km. With regular maintenance, an Impreza can reliably last over 15 years on Canadian roads. Subaru’s reputation for durability and Canada’s love of AWD helps Imprezas achieve impressive lifespans.

Yes, the Subaru Impreza has excellent resale value compared to other compact cars. According to Canadian Black Book data, the Impreza retains over 50% of its value after 5 years. This can be attributed to the durability, reliability and popularity of the Impreza in Canada.

Here are the official fuel economy ratings for the 2024 Subaru Impreza in Canada:


– City driving: 8.8 L/100 km


– Highway driving: 6.7 L/100 km


– Combined rating: 7.9 L/100 km


The flat-4 Boxer engine and standard AWD provide a balanced fuel economy rating.

The 2024 Impreza 5-door hatchback models have up to 1,565 litres of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded down. This makes the Impreza hatch versatile for outdoor gear, pets, luggage and everyday use.

All Canadian-spec Imprezas come standard with Subaru’s renowned EyeSight driver assist technology. This includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. Additional standard safety tech includes blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

EyeSight uses two cameras mounted at the top of the windshield to monitor the road ahead. The system can detect potential collision threats and can automatically apply the brakes if needed. EyeSight also provides adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and sway warning functions.

Yes, the Subaru Impreza is one of the best winter vehicles available in Canada thanks to its standard all-wheel drive system. Subaru’s advanced AWD technology allows it to handle snow, slush and ice with control and stability. The Impreza receives strong Canadian winter ratings year after year.

X-Mode is Subaru’s advanced system for maximizing traction and control on slippery surfaces. It optimizes the engine, transmission, AWD system and brakes to conquer challenging terrain like snow, mud and steep inclines. X-Mode comes standard on Canadian Impreza models.

No, regular 87 octane fuel is recommended for optimal performance and fuel economy in the Subaru Impreza. Premium fuel is not required, but feel free to use it if desired. Just be aware it will not provide any noticeable power or performance gains.

Unfortunately there are currently no hybrid or electric Subaru Impreza models. Subaru is focusing hybrid efforts on its other models right now such as the Crosstrek hybrid. However, a hybrid or electric Impreza could possibly come in the next generation model.

For 2024, top Impreza trims now come equipped with Subaru’s latest STARLINK 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It features smartphone integration, built-in navigation, enhanced voice recognition, WiFi capability, and over-the-air updates. Lower trims get a perfectly adequate 6.3-inch system.

Sadly Subaru no longer offers a manual gearbox option on the 2024 model year Impreza. Going forward all Impreza models sold in Canada will use Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission. This allows better fuel efficiency but loses the enthusiast appeal of a manual.

When properly equipped with a tow hitch accessory, the Subaru Impreza has a maximum tow rating of 1,500 pounds (680 kg). This allows you to tow a small trailer, watercraft, ATVs, snowmobiles and more. Just be careful not to exceed the rated tow capacity.

The Impreza has an abundance of aftermarket support when it comes to performance upgrades. Popular mods include suspension lowering, intake and exhaust systems, upgraded brake pads, wider wheels and performance chips/tunes. Just know modifications can impact the warranty coverage from Subaru.

Subaru Imprezas sold in Canada are built at Subaru’s state of the art manufacturing plant located in Ota, Gunma, Japan. The facility uses leading production methods to assemble Imprezas to Subaru’s stringent quality control standards.

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