Keeping it simple.The 2022 Subaru Impreza is about to turn 30, but it’s just as simple and dependable as ever. It isn’t a car for speed demons (aside from WRX models, covered separately), but it fulfills its eco-car mission with cheer.

Exterior design is restrained and uncomplicated. We prefer the lines of the hatchback, which has a tapering roofline that lends a bit of flair.

The inside is equally bland, but equally pleasant. No one will mistake the Impreza for a BMW, but it doesn’t feel as cheap as many cars in its price range. Subaru’s interiors have improved over the past decade, and the Impreza is a good example of simplicity done well.

Compact capability. The Impreza is a compact car that competes with models like the Honda Civic and Mazda3. The ace up its sleeve is Subaru’s vaunted all-wheel drive system, which is standard on every Impreza. On wet and snowy roads, the Impreza is miles ahead of most rivals.

The Impreza compares well on cabin space, too. It has more leg room than a Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla, and the second row is comfortable for two adults (though it’s a bit narrow for three).

Cargo space is an average of 12 cubic feet in the sedan, but the hatchback is highly practical. With up to 55 cu ft of capacity, it’s as versatile as many compact crossovers.

Fun factor. Among the Impreza’s virtues, acceleration is conspicuously absent. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 152 horsepower, which is on the low end of the segment. It’s fine around town, but highway passes are leisurely.

The suspension does its best to inject a bit of personality. Handling is balanced, but the standard Impreza doesn’t hold a candle to the racy WRX. The Sport trim gets stiffer shocks, but it isn’t worth the tradeoff in ride quality.

The Impreza starts with a manual, with a CVT available for $1,300. Given the Impreza’s mild-mannered personality, this is one case where we’d take the CVT. It has a habit of droning, but it improves fuel efficiency by 5 mpg combined.

Bang for the buck. The Impreza is an impressively good value. It’s cheaper than its most important competitors, none of which come with standard all-wheel drive.

In base trim, the Impreza is sparse but serviceable. The standard touchscreen is on the small side, but it still comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The hatchback is a $500 upgrade, and we’d recommend it. The CVT brings additional safety features like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, which we think justify the upgrade.

Even better, bump up to the Premium trim. For a little over $3,000, the Premium gets better sound deadening, an improved suspension, and heated front seats. The CVT is standard, making the Impreza Premium a proper bargain.

Final thoughts.The Impreza’s biggest flaw is an anemic powertrain, but it’s an easy one to overlook. Value, capability, and simplicity make the Impreza a worthy choice for shoppers on a budget. Especially for shoppers in snow states, the Impreza should be on the shortlist.

Check 2022 Subaru Impreza Prices Near You