The Impreza is a compact car first manufactured by Subaru in 1992 as a model year for 1993.
Available in either sedan or hatchback form, the Impreza’s base model comes with all-wheel-drive, plenty of cabin room, and a 2.0-liter Boxer engine that produces 152 hp.
With an MSRP starting at $18,795, can the modestly priced Impreza withstand the test of time?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into exactly how many years of service you can expect from the Subaru Impreza...
Here is the short answer to how long do Subaru Impreza last:
The Subaru Impreza is a durable vehicle and on average can last between 200,000 miles and 250,000 miles which gives it an estimated lifespan of 13 – 17 years based on an annual mileage of 15,000 miles. This is dependent on taking good care of your vehicle and adopting good driving habits.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Subaru Impreza?
Japanese automakers have a solid reputation for building cars that are built to last, and falling under this umbrella, the Impreza is no different. Subaru was placed 8th out 26 automakers in the US for reliability according to a survey by Consumer Reports.
On average we think its reasonable to expect between 200,000 and 250,000 miles from your Impreza which equates to well over a decade of service. These vehicles are durable and will last between 13 and 17 years of service before breaking down or needing expensive repairs.
Vehicle longevity can vary greatly and ultimately its down to the owner to get the most life from their car.
Boy racers who drive in a fast and aggressive manner and fail to keep oil levels topped up can expect to see our projected numbers reduced whilst conservative drivers who practice regular maintenance might even see the 300K mark.
To get the most out of your Subaru Impreza:
- Drive smoothly. This includes smooth braking and smooth acceleration. This puts less stress on components and reduces wear and tear.
- Carry out basic car maintenance habitually – this includes things such as ensuring fluids are topped up and tire pressures are correct.
- Equally important is keeping up to date with factory scheduled maintenance – this specific information can be found in your vehicle’s manual.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a Subaru Impreza?
Older model years of the Subaru Impreza, ranging from the late ’90s to early ’00s can be found suffering from severe body-panel rust and undercarriage corrosion.
A particularly dangerous rust problem known as “Blob rust” plagues Impreza models from 2002, 2003, and 2004 specifically.
Although the current trend of automobiles suggests that rusting occurs less in newer vehicles, newer model years of Impreza, 2017, 2018, and 2019, in particular, have been reported to accumulate rust in relatively low mileage.
Because of this compact car’s history of rust issues, we believe that investing in a ceramic coating can go a long way toward keeping your Impreza rust-free for as long as possible.
Alternatively, rust-proofing sprays are widely available and are designed to protect your undercarriage and exposed metal parts. Sprays form a layer to guard against moisture and air and help combat rust due to their anti corrosion properties.
For areas subject to heavy snowfall, such as the Salt Belt States and regions close to the sea, we recommend taking extra precautions to mitigate rust, primarily keeping the vehicle clean.
Salt buildup on vehicle surfaces is corrosive, and the sand, dirt and snow that accumulate can trap moisture in wheel wells and underbody structures.
Regular car washes, rustproofing sprays, keeping the car’s interior dry, and ceramic coating for a longer-term investment are all standard rust proofing and preventative measures to consider.
You may also be interested in our article: Subaru Impreza in snow and winter driving
How Long Does the Subaru Impreza Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
The Subaru Impreza stands out in the sedan/hatchback segment by offering standard AWD, the same drive-train found in Subaru’s famous rally cars. On top of good fuel economy and an affordable entry price, the Impreza also caters to those looking for an engaging driving experience.
In this section, we’ll see how the Subaru Impreza compares to its rivals.
Subaru Impreza vs. Honda Civic
While a long-lasting car in its own right, the Impreza’s 200,000-mile lifespan is outperformed by the Civic.
Similar to the Impreza, the Honda Civic also comes in both sedan and hatchback form. However, the Civic has been well-known for boasting an average lifespan of 300,000 miles, or 20 years of service.
The annual maintenance cost of the Honda Civic is $362, which makes it a significant $291 cheaper than the $653 maintenance cost of the Subaru Impreza.
The Honda Civic’s reliability is one of its biggest advantages over the Impreza. The Civic ranks 3rd in the compact car category with a reliability score of 4.5 out of 5.
The Subaru Impreza falls behind on the Repair Pal reliability rating scorecard with 3.5 out of 5, ranking it at 33rd out of 36 compact cars.
Subaru Impreza vs. Toyota Corolla
There has yet to be a sedan, or any commercial vehicle for that matter, that has been able to dethrone the Toyota Corolla’s legacy as the most reliable, long-lasting car on the market.
The Toyota Corolla boasts an average lifespan of 300,000 miles across all generations. This means that the Corolla will last almost an entire decade longer than the Impreza which has a life expectancy of 200,000 – 250,000 miles.
Honda Civic costs $368 for annual maintenance, making it a considerable $285 less expensive than Subaru Impreza’s $653 maintenance cost.
With a reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5, the Toyota Corolla ranks 1st out of 36 compact cars, while the Impreza falls far behind with a rating of just 3.5, ranking it 33rd.
Subaru Impreza vs. Mazda 3
The Subaru Impreza and Mazda 3 both feature AWD and are available in either sedan or hatchback configurations.
Both compact cars have a long lifetime, the Mazda 3 is on par with the Impreza with an estimated lifespan of 200,000 – 250,000 miles.
Annual maintenance costs for the Mazda 3 are far below the average for compact cars at only $266.
When compared to the $653 yearly maintenance bill of the Impreza, the Mazda 3 is $387 cheaper.
The Mazda 3 ranks within the top 10 in the compact car category in terms of reliability, with a Repair Pal rating of 4.0 out of 5.
On the other hand, the Subaru Impreza falls behind, ranking 33rd out of 36, with a rating of 3.5 out of 5 from the same organization.
How Reliable is a Subaru Impreza?
The Impreza isn’t the most reliable car on the market, however it is not the worst by any stretch of the imagination – we would suggest it is a fairly reliable vehicle.
- According to Repair Pal, the Subaru Impreza ranks just 33rd out of 36 compact cars, with a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.
- Cars.USNews gave the Impreza its lowest possible predicted reliability rating of two out of five.
- J.D. Power rated the Impreza as having average reliability with a score of 74/100
If reliability is you main criteria then this might not be the optimum choice of car for you.
Reliability Compared to Other Cars
|Toyota Corolla||4.5 / 5.0|
|Kia Forte||4.5 / 5.0|
|Honda Civic||4.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota Matrix||4.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cobalt||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra GT||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra||4.5 / 5.0|
|Mazda3||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford C-Max||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Forte Koup||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra Coupe||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet HHR||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Sentra||4.0 / 5.0|
|Buick Verano||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Caliber||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Avenger||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cruze Limited||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Veloster||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Eclipse||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Jetta||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mazda5||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan 370Z||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Beetle||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Golf||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cruze||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Focus||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Dart||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Lancer||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chrysler PT Cruiser||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Golf SportWagen||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru WRX||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru Impreza||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen GTI||3.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Eos||3.0 / 5.0|
|Subaru WRX STI||2.5 / 5.0|
|Avg. Compact Car||4.0|
The Best and Worst Years of the Subaru Impreza
The Impreza has received fluctuating amounts of negative owner feedback over the years, however from our research we would suggest purchasing brand new to to reduce the chance of encountering any issues, although several model years have experienced relatively low complaints.
According to Car Complaints’ extensive database, 2012 ranks as the worst model year of the Subaru Impreza. Owners reported sudden, unintended acceleration on a regular basis. This problem cost an average of $4,000 to repair and occurred at an average of just 40,000 miles.
- A spike in complaints can be observed in 2007 and 2008 with 20 and 49 complaints respectively.
- Another spike can be observed in 2012 and 2013 with 30 and and 15 complaints respectively.
Data shows the number of complaints has been on a downward trend in recent years which shows Subaru has been working hard to iron out the Impreza’s imperfections.
Other problems found primarily in model years 2005-2012 include:
- Engine problems
- Window/windshield problems
- Clutch problems
- Cooling system malfunction
- Transmission problems
Below is a table showing the number of complaints made against the Impreza, data is collected from Car Complaints.
|Model Year||No. of complaints|
What About Recalls?
The Impreza has been entirely free of recalls in recent years.
A recall is issued when a manufacturer or the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) deems that a vehicle or one or more of its components creates an unreasonable safety risk or does not meet minimum safety requirements – recall related problems are fixed free of charge.
To find out if your Impreza has been subject to a recall, you can use the recall search bar on the Subaru website, by simply entering in your vehicle VIN number.
Here is the full list of recalls:
- 1993: 3 recalls
- 1994: 3 recalls
- 1995: 4 recalls
- 1996: 3 recalls
- 1997: 3 recalls
- 1998: 3 recalls
- 1999: 4 recalls
- 2000: 4 recalls
- 2001: 3 recalls
- 2002: 6 recalls
- 2003: 6 recalls
- 2004: 6 recalls
- 2005: 4 recalls
- 2006: 9 recalls
- 2007: 8 recalls
- 2008: 14 recalls
- 2009: 14 recall
- 2010: 14 recalls
- 2011: 13 recalls
- 2012: 6 recalls
- 2013: 4 recalls
- 2014: 3 recalls
- 2015: 2 recalls
- 2016: 1 recalls
- 2017: 3 recalls
- 2018: 1 recall
- 2019: 1 recall
- 2020: 0 recalls
- 2021:0 recalls
Subaru Impreza Model Year List
Here is a full list of model years for the Subaru Impreza:
- 1993 Subaru Impreza
- 1994 Subaru Impreza
- 1995 Subaru Impreza
- 1996 Subaru Impreza
- 1997 Subaru Impreza
- 1998 Subaru Impreza
- 1999 Subaru Impreza
- 2000 Subaru Impreza
- 2001 Subaru Impreza
- 2002 Subaru Impreza
- 2003 Subaru Impreza
- 2004 Subaru Impreza
- 2005 Subaru Impreza
- 2006 Subaru Impreza
- 2007 Subaru Impreza
- 2008 Subaru Impreza
- 2009 Subaru Impreza
- 2010 Subaru Impreza
- 2011 Subaru Impreza
- 2012 Subaru Impreza
- 2013 Subaru Impreza
- 2014 Subaru Impreza
- 2015 Subaru Impreza
- 2016 Subaru Impreza
- 2017 Subaru Impreza
- 2018 Subaru Impreza
- 2019 Subaru Impreza
- 2020 Subaru Impreza
- 2021 Subaru Impreza
Is the Subaru Impreza Expensive to Maintain?
The Subaru Impreza will cost an average of $653 a year to maintain, with an expected cost of $5,357 over a 5 year period. This is slightly higher than the average maintenance cost of $526 for compact cars.
According to Repair Pal:
- Average annual repair costs for all compact cars is $526 per year in comparison to $652 across all makes and models.
- This takes into account both scheduled maintenance and unscheduled repairs.
- The average total annual cost for unscheduled repairs and maintenance is based across all model years of a vehicle.
The Impreza comes with a 3 yr/36,000 (whichever comes first) mile basic warranty and a 5 yr/60,000 mile powertrain warranty should any unexpected issues occur within early ownership.
|Model||Avg. Annual |
|Frequency of |
|Probability of |
|Hyundai Elantra GT||$397||0.3||9%|
|Kia Forte Koup||$469||0.3||11%|
|Hyundai Elantra Coupe||$497||0.4||9%|
|Chevrolet Cruze Limited||$498||0.4||11%|
|Chrysler PT Cruiser||$641||0.2||14%|
|Volkswagen Golf SportWagen||$606||0.8||11%|
|Subaru WRX STI||$758||0.5||21%|
|Avg. Compact Car||$526||0.3||11%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
Subaru Impreza brake pads typically last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
How you drive your vehicle will play a big part in brake longevity. If you tend to do a lot of stop-and-go driving or are prone to heavy braking then your brakes will need frequent replacement.
Full and complete stops from a high speed are the biggest culprit of premature brake pad wear.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
Subaru Impreza tires last 3-4 years, or 50,000 to 60,000 miles based on 15,000 miles driven per year.
Maintaining the correct tire pressure will not only keep you safe it will also bolster your tire’s lifespan, the correct pressure for your tires is usually located in the driver’s door jamb.
To ensure even wear of your tires, have them rotated regularly as specified in the owner’s manual or new-tire warranty guidelines, this is usually every 5,000 – 8,000 miles.
How Long Does the Transmission Last?
The transmission on the Subaru Impreza is built to last between 150,000 and 180,000 miles before needing replacement.
Ensure fluid levels are topped up and fix any problems immediately to keep the transmission running smoothly.
How Long Do Spark Plugs Last?
Subaru Impreza spark plugs will need replacement every 30,000 miles.
Spark plugs are responsible for creating the spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture, causing the explosion which makes the engine produce power.
They are usually inspected and if needed, replaced when you go for a tune up.
What About Insurance Cost?
The average insurance costs for a Subaru Impreza is $227 per month or $2,724 annually according to Finder.
Insurance costs can vary from person to person; be sure to shop around to find the best possible deal.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Subaru Impreza
- Observe regular rust-proofing intervals.
- Avoid over-the-top modifications.
- Use only high-quality spare parts or after-market attachments.
- Drive carefully to prolong the life of your tires, brake pads, and to get the best possible longevity.
- Keep up to date with factory scheduled maintenance.
- Keep fluids topped up and check fluid levels regularly
- Check your tire pressures at regular intervals
- Check engine oil every two weeks
- If possible, keep the vehicle stored in a garage, out of the elements
- Use good quality parts and fluids
- Invest in a ceramic coating to protect against contaminants and minor scratches
- Consider all rust-proofing options
- Wash the vehicle regularly particularly when encountering salt and snow
- Do not overload your vehicle.