Which Subaru Impreza Years To Avoid and Why? (Explained)

The Subaru Impreza is a compact car series manufactured by Japanese transportation conglomerate Subaru Corporation since 1992. Also,the Impreza models got an overall 3.5 on Subaru Impreza Reliability-2022 Ratings|RepairPal out of 5.0 and ranked 33rd in the RepairPal’s Compact cars category.

Unfortunately, not all the Impreza released models were designed and built in the same manner. As a result, models like 2008, 2012, and a few more years models are infamous for significant engine, electrical, and transmission concerns.

Thus, if you are eager to know more about those infamous Impreza models, keep reading this article- 

Subaru Impreza Years To Avoid: (With Reasons)

Currently, Subaru Impreza has entered its 30th year with the latest launch of the 2022 model.

In 1993 Subaru introduced the first model of its Impreza series as the economy compact sedan and sports wagon. Even Impreza is one of the well-received and best-selling series of the Subaru brand.

Over the years, Impreza has gone through several redesigning, styling, and structural modification to bring out the best that matches each generation’s consumer expectations.

However, some particular years of Impreza also consist of notable flaws and mistakes.

If you are looking for Impreza new or used model, avoid the following released years:

  • 2006 Subaru Impreza
  • 2007 Subaru Impreza
  • 2008 Subaru Impreza
  • 2012 Subaru Impreza
  • 2018 Subaru Impreza

All these mentioned Impreza models years made Subaru rank in 13th position on the Least Reliable Subaru Models category due to 252 received complaints and an 11.69 score on the PainRank™ scoring system.

These Impreza models are infamous for having issues like sudden unintentional acceleration, and transmission problems or complete failure.

2006 Subaru Impreza Problems:

2006 Impreza users mentioned that they had to deal with several enginerelated issues like head gasket leaking, broken engine mount, tapping noise coming from the engine, failed crankshaft position sensor, excess oil consumption, and the check engine light staying on for no reason.

2006 Users also reported commonly encountering transmission failure due to faulty torque converter, which mostly arises at 6,000 miles of operation, and they had to spend approx. $2,350 to repair.

Other commonly reported issues were clutch fork snapped in half, when taking off in first gear clutch tends to shudder, stuck air pump valve stays open, catalytic converter failure, and noticing bad wheel bearings.

2007 Subaru Impreza Problems:

The 2007 Impreza model users reported engine troubles such as oil burning, the check engine light staying on, blown out head gasket, and engine failure.

Also, mentioned A/C malfunctioning symptoms like A/C erratically engaging & disengage, blower motor grinds, or the air conditioning system completely failing.

2007 Impreza users also noticed that sometimes all vehicle gears won’t work or stop responding accurately and transmission failure. Users also mentioned airbag issues, where they noticed that the airbag light flashes without prior reason.

2008 Subaru Impreza Problems:

Reports claim that 2008 most common engine trouble were head gasket leaks, the engine tends to rev when the clutch is in, knocking, shuddering, traction lights keep blinking, excess oil consumption, and a broken timing belt that causes engine failure.

Users Also Claimed To Notice A Film On Their Vehicle Windshield Or Window.

They also noticed broken clutch throughout bearings, clutch pedal squeaking, and premature clutch failure.

Other 2008 highlighted issues were A/C, interior, steering, body/paint, and fuel system problems, which several users encountered while using their vehicles.

2012 Subaru Impreza Problems:

This year’s model users highlighted mostly the engine and transmission problems.

Reportedly, 2012 model users had to deal with problems such as excess oil consumption, sudden unintentional acceleration, the engine tends to burst into flame while driving on the highways, the cold engine surges until it warms up properly, and poor gas mileage.

Other most commonly highlighted issues against the 2012 Impreza were a key stuck in the vehicle ignition, unusual excess noises coming from the inside vehicle, service brake failure, and significant loss of power while driving.

2018 Subaru Impreza Problems:

This year’s Impreza users commonly reported electrical as well as steering troubles, where they mostly encountered symptoms like dead battery, faulty alternator, Apple car music system is not working, chewed soy-based wires due to excess rodents, suddenly the key turns and won’t start again.

Other commonly highlighted 2018 Impreza issues were Apply car play not always working, radio failing to turn off, Cam Caps or career oil leaks, and noise coming over the bumpers.

What is the Worst Years of Subaru Impreza?

According to the SUBARU IMPREZA MODEL YEAR COMPARISON graphical presentation, the following Impreza years are the worst-

The 2008 Subaru Impreza

298 complaints were reported and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officially issued Fifteen Recalls. Also, Subaru officially released 146 TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS (TSBS).

2008 Impreza’s most highlighted complaints were like windows/windshield seem to have a film on them, head gasket leak causing engine trouble (typical fixing cost $1,000), and unusual knocking (typical fixing cost $4,200).

The 2012 Subaru Impreza

This year’s models got 335 complaints reported by consumers, and Six Recalls were issued by the NHTSA, which also forced the Subaru to issue 497 TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS (TSBS).
The 2012 Subaru Impreza’s most highlighted symptoms were the sudden unintentional acceleration (average fixing cost $4,000), not shifting properly (average fixing cost $7,500), and brake failure.

The 2018 Subaru Impreza

This particular year’s Impreza models got 102 complaints, including Four Recalls issued by NHTSA. Also, Subaru officially had to issue 535 TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS (TSBS). 
Most 2018 Impreza highlighted symptoms such aswindshield cacked without prior reason (average repairing cost $700), the vehicle tends to wander while driving, and unusual noise over bumps.

What is the Most Common Problems of Subaru Impreza?

Let’s learn about the most common problems that make some Impreza models worth avoiding- 

1. Engine Problems:

According to the What Breaks The Most list of Subaru Impreza, there are 78 cases reported against some Impreza vehicles.

According to SUBARU IMPREZA Year-By-Year ENGINE PROBLEMS visual representation, engine troubles were commonly visible in Subaru’s 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012 released CTS vehicles.

But issues are relatively severe in Impreza’s 2008 and 2012 released cars.

The most highlighted symptom was the sudden unintentional or unintended acceleration, which commonly occurs at 40,000 miles and requires approximately $4,000 fixing cost.

Another most reported issue was an oil-burning, which most users noticed after 111,000 miles of operation, and the repair cost was around $2,900.

Many users also reported noticing blown head gaskets, which commonly occurred as soon their vehicles reached 116,000 miles and the repairing expense was around $2,000.

2. Electrical Issues:

According to the What Breaks The Most list of Subaru Impreza, 23 cases of major electrical errors were reported against some Impreza vehicles.

According to SUBARU IMPREZA Year-By-Year ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS representation, vehicle electrical malfunction or failure were most visibly available in 2016, 2018, and 2019 Impreza vehicle models.

One of the most highlighted symptoms was that rodents attract and chew away the soy-based wires, which mostly get noticed as soon the vehicle reaches 14,000-19,000 miles and requires $400 up to $1,500 to fix it based on the damage condition.

Another most mentioned issue was ABS, traction control and vehicle hill assist lights keep staying on without any prior reason, which commonly occurs at 21,000 miles of operation.

Which Subaru Impreza Years are Safe to Buy Used? 

According to the SUBARU IMPREZA MODEL YEAR COMPARISON, the following Impreza years are safe since there are no complaints reported against these models –

  • 1994 Subaru Impreza
  • 1996 Subaru Impreza
  • 1999 Subaru Impreza

The 1996 Subaru Impreza coupe is available in four trim options- Brighton AWD, L AWD, Outback AWD, and LX AWD. Along with the all-wheel-drive legacy of Subaru, this model also features a rugged structural body and delivers excellent gas mileage to meet the standard of any top sports utility vehicle. This year’s Impreza also earned 4.5 consumer ratings out of 5 and most users claimed it is amazing and even great for driving in winter seasons.

1999 Subaru Impreza five-seater sedan is also available in four trim options- Outback AWD, L AWD, Outback Sport Wagon, and 2.5 RS AWD. This all-wheel-drive sedan also earned 4.1 consumer ratings out of 5, where most owners claimed that it’s a great deal to have at such an affordable range and 100% of drivers recommended this vehicle.

The 2000 Subaru Impreza five-seater sedan is a durable car that came with the all-wheel-drive, scrappy personality, and bulletproof reliability record to offer the ultimate fun rides. Also got an overall 4.6 consumer ratings out of 5 due to excellent performance, great value for the money, and trustable reliability.

Which Year’s Subaru Impreza Have Most Window/Windshield Problems?

According to Carcomplaints.com, Impreza’s 2008 models have the most window/windshield-related issues reported by their consumers.

Which Year’s Subaru Impreza Have Most HVAC-related Problems?

According to Carcomplaints.com, Impreza’s 2007 and 2008 released models have the most A/C or heater issues reported by the users.


When Subaru introduced its Impreza series in public, it was an instant hit and became one of the trusted names for offering economical compact sports cars.

Even numerous consumer reports also show how durable and reliable the models are, but some Impreza models also failed to maintain their own standards.

Thus, while considering your options, remember to avoid those year’s released models.

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