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2013 Impreza: Louder than I expected?

dlins13dlins13 Posts: 9
edited March 18 in Subaru
Hey all -

I'm close to buying a 2013 Impreza hatch (my first Subie! I'm excited.), but I'm worried about two things:
1) The new sedan I test drove had surprisingly loud road noise, to the point that I really had to crank up talk radio to hear it clearly. Bad news given my 2.5 hours of commuting a day.
2) The car has surprisingly good pickup in the 0-40 and 60-70 mph range, but lags a bit in the middle.

Any thoughts on whether the road noise is due to the car being new, or weird tire choices, or xxx? Or will I just have to get used to it?

And if I wanted to look for another hatch with AWD that has beter pickup in that 40-60mph range, any suggestions on other options?



  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    most road tests with the 2.0 engine say that it has sluggish mid-range power. won't find an awd with better gas mileage though, so you lose something to gain something, but the cars are pretty much bulletproof so you wont go wrong with it.
  • Thanks tinycadon. Yeah, I've toyed with the Audi A3, but I'm worried about maintenance issues (not to mention higher cost and the fact that they are discontinuing the US hatch)...I think I'm trying to have my cake and eat it, too :)
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    I have family & friends in New England that swear by them, so I might be a little biased? :P
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    To be honest, now that I have my Fiesta, I think our Forester is pretty noisy, too. It isn't, but it seems that way since the Fiesta is so insanely quiet. Ford put quite a bit of effort into sound deadening, though, including a heavily insulated engine compartment (compared to Subaru), sound-deadening windshield (not sure how that works!), and wheel wells that are lined with a felt-like material rather than hard plastic or sheet metal.

    I'm not saying one is better or worse than the other, but I am saying that those things are effective at making the car almost eerily quiet.

    The stock tires on the Subaru are noisy, too, so I suspect you'll highly appreciate the first few hundred miles after you replace those (whenever that may be). I think as time goes on and you adjust to the new surroundings, what seems loud now won't be an issue.
  • Thanks xwesx - that's helpful context. And yeah, I don't want eerily quiet, but not being able to hear the radio when I'm going over rougher highway is going to be interesting :)

    Any thoughts on competitors to this car I should also check out?
  • The only other cars I considered were the Mazda3 and the Ford Focus.

    I stayed away from the Mazda because the interior seemed dated, and I don't like the styling of the front end.

    I stayed away from the Ford because of interior ergonomics/styling, and I don't trust the reliability yet.

    I trust the Impreza to be extremely reliable, the resale values are high, I like the conservative interior styling, and the go-anywhere confidence that AWD provides.

    I have no problems with the Impreza's acceleration. You need to be willing to hold 2nd and 3rd gears longer (if you get the manual tranny) in order to find the acceleration potential of this car.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,674
    I think you'll find that any entry-level car, which is what the Impreza is, will be a bit loud. That's one of the reasons the price is low. I'm sure the (more expensive) Legacy will be quieter.

  • I am having the same problem road noise problem with my 2013 Impreza.

    One way that I reduced the road noise is I had the dealer spray rubber on the bottom of my car. That seemed to reduce the road noise a little but not enough.

    I feel that most of the road noise is coming from the tire and the doors. So I am planning on ordering some sound deader ( or and applying it to the tire wells first (easier) and if that doesn't reduce the road noise enough I will then take off the door panels and apply the deadener to those.

    I will let you know how much this helps.

    Are there any other ideas on where to put some deadener from the community?

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    If it is possible to get to it, sound proofing the exterior of the firewall would help quite a bit, I'm sure. As for the doors, there are acoustical mats often installed in doors to accompany high-end sound system installations. That may work better than a self-adhesive sound material, given the limited access holes in to that space.

    Also, under the headliner, if there is no insulation there, is a prime candidate. If you have a moonroof, you'll get a fair amount of noise creeping through there.
  • Interesting - I didn't know about all those ways to deaden the sound. Definitely looking forward to hearing how they go!

    How much was the cost to spray rubber on the bottom? And is that something every dealer would understand, or would I need to point them to some resource?
  • I didn't think about the moonroof adding a lot of sound. I'm about to buy my car and was leaning towards the moonroof, but I could also leave it would dramatically improve the noise. Any thoughts on how big of a difference it would make, xwesx?
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,464
    My '12 Sport Limited w/ Moonroof is much quieter than my '02 Outback (non-Limited). Although I do feel the road / vibrations more in the Impreza, most likely due to the thinner sheet metal.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    Well, I'm not sure in the same model car. It might be worth a test drive in each.

    For my cars, I always liked to have my moonroof cover in the Forester open when I drove it, because I liked the extra light (Forester moonroof is HUGE). Now when I use it (I use the Forester periodically, as the Fiesta is my DD), I can't stand the constant, but low level noise that permeates from that area. I end up closing the shade every time, which cuts the noise in half, but doesn't eliminate it.

    I imagine that the difference in the same model car would be just as dramatic, or close at least.
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,464
    One of the few advantages of being hearing impaired. ;)
  • It cost me around $250 to spray the bottom of the car.

    I just asked my dealer if there was a way to reduce the road noise and he thought of adding dynamat to my cars doors, which he said would also cost around $250 ($200 for labor and $50 or so for material).

    He later called me and said that he could spray rubber under my car for the same price.

    So, beings I don't have a spray gun, I had them spray the bottom and I will go about adding material to my doors. Save me $200 :D
  • Hey there guys, just wanted to give you an update :]

    I contacted Don from sound deadener showdown and he sent me this nice long message on what do to so I thought I would share. I won't be doing the whole kitten kaboodle. I asked him that I will do this in steps and he said that he would start with the doors and hatchback. I think I am also going to skip on the 3M Thinsulate also and add it later.

    He is extremely helpful so I am going to go through him. There is something said about a good quality service in my book:]

    Also, if you are going this route, I have the part number for the door panel clips so you don't have to do any searching :D


    ******At the bottom he says he doesn't have the exact measurements so he wanted me to give him some measurements. I did a quick figure and he was pretty close with CLD tiles so this is pretty close to the actual cost.******

    Probably going to be a little shocking. I don't have measurements for your generation hatchback. If you want to pursue this I'll need some measurements, but just to get you oriented, here's what a full treatment for a 3rd generation hatchback would be -

    Front Doors (each):
    5 CLD Tiles, outer skin
    1 CLD Tile, probably cut into smaller pieces, inner skin
    1 CLD Tile, cut into smaller pieces, trim panel

    Extruded Butyl Rope
    6.1 ft² MLV
    9.2 ft² 1/8" CCF
    6.1 ft² 3M Thinsulate Acoustic
    2.5 Velcro Strips, adhesive 2 sides

    Rear Doors (each):
    4 CLD Tiles, outer skin
    1 CLD Tile, probably cut into smaller pieces, inner skin
    1 CLD Tile, cut into smaller pieces, trim panel
    Extruded Butyl Rope
    4.9 ft² MLV
    7.4 ft² 1/8" CCF
    4.9 ft² 3M Thinsulate Acoustic
    2.5 Velcro Strips, adhesive 2 sides

    Clean the outer skin thoroughly. No matter how clean the rest of the vehicle is, the inside of the doors is likely to be very dirty. I use denatured alcohol on a rag. Wipe it down until the rag comes out clean.

    Start by pressing Extruded Butyl Rope (EBR) between the outer skin and the side impact protection beams. Leave gaps every few inches to allow water to drain. Cut some strips from a heavy plastic bag and press them into the top surface of the EBR to protect it from dirt.
    * All doors are configured differently. Some have more than one side impact beams. Some have the gap filled already, others have rubber or foam bumpers every few inches. The best way to know whether or not you’ll be able to do this treatment is to look inside your own doors.

    Apply half the CLD Tiles allocated to the outer skin above and half below the side impact protection beam, assuming the impact beam divides the door evenly. Cut the remaining CLD Tiles into smaller pieces and apply them to the inner door skin.

    Start with passenger side - the driver side is oftena mirror image of the passenger side with one or two more connectors. Hang MLV on the inner door skin using Velcro Strips with pressure sensitive adhesive on both sides. The strips are 2"X4" but you can cut them in half for this application (most applications really). Start with 2 pieces in the top corners to hold the MLV in place while you trim it to fit. You want it to be as large as it can be - just barely fitting inside the trim panel when it is replaced. You will need to cut some holes in the MLV to allow cables, rods, shafts, wires, clips and the speakers to come through. You want these holes to be as small as possible. Every place we use MLV we are building a barrier and a barrier needs to be as large and contiguous as possible.

    It helps during the fitting process to periodically remove the MLV from the door and lay it in the trim panel to test fit it. The Velcro makes this easy. When you first hang the MLV on the door, cut holes where the trim panel clips go into the door. You can then use these holes to orient the MLV inside the trim panel.

    When you are satisfied with the MLV fit, add two more Velcro Strip pieces to the bottom corners. It's generally a good idea to add a third piece on top for added strength. Try the fitted MLV on the driver side door. If it fits (reversed) use it as a template. You've just saved yourself a lot of time. If it doesn't, sorry to get your hopes up :)

    By now you should be familiar with the interface between the trim panel and inner skin. The next step is to add a layer of 1/8” CCF between the MLV and the inner skin, using this technique:
    There probably won’t be space to go all the way to the edges. It’s not critical that you fully cover the MLV – just do the best you can. It is a good idea to use a temporary adhesive, like double stick tape during test fitting, before using HH-66 to permanently tack the CF and MLV together.

    Use HH-66 Vinyl Cement to tack a layer of closed cell foam (CCF) on the side of the MLV facing the trim panel. When the trim panel is reinstalled, the CCF will compress slightly, getting rid of rattles and buzzes in the trim panel itself and between the trim panel and the inner door skin.

    Finally, cover as much of the trim panel as possible with 3M Thinsulate Acoustic. Use a few drops of hot glue to tack it in place. Make sure you don't interfere with any moving parts.

    Kick Panels (each):
    .5 ft MLV
    .5 ft² 1/8" CCF
    1 Velcro Strip, adhesive 2 sides (cut into thirds)

    7 CLD Tiles
    34.4 ft² MLV
    50 ft² 1/8" CCF

    CLD Tiles are the critical treatment for the roof - it's a large resonant panel directly over your head. I'm very impressed with the results I've gotten by filling the space between the headliner and roof with Thinsulate. It soaks up mid to high frequency sound that can make a very big difference in the noise levels inside the cabin. It's an excellent thermal insulator for good measure.

    I use a few drops of hot glue to hang the Thinsulate in place - it doesn't take much. Black side toward the roof, white side facing down.

    Back Seat Ledge / Riser:
    6 CLD Tiles
    10.5 ft² MLV
    10.5 ft² 1/8" CCF
    2 Velcro Strips, adhesive 2 sides

    12 CLD Tiles
    20.7 ft² 3M Thinsulate Acoustic

    CLD Tiles are the critical treatment for the roof - it's a large resonant panel directly over your head. I'm very impressed with the results I've gotten by filling the space between the hoodliner and roof with Thinsulate. It soaks up mid to high frequency sound that can make a very big difference in the noise levels inside the cabin. It's an excellent thermal insulator for good measure.

    Cargo Area Floor / Spare Well:
    5 CLD Tiles, horizontal surfaces
    2 CLD Tiles, sides of spare well
    12.8 ft² MLV
    12.8 ft² 1/8" CCF
    2 Velcro Strips, adhesive 2 sides

    Quarter Panels (each):
    3 CLD Tiles
    5.5 ft² MLV
    5.5 ft² 1/8" CCF
    2.5 Velcro Strips, adhesive 2 sides

    Hatch Door:
    3 CLD Tiles
    3.4 ft² MLV
    5.1 ft² 1/8" CCF
    2 Velcro Strips, adhesive 2 sides

    It's often easier to put the CCF and MLV in the trim panel.

  • zillion08zillion08 Posts: 6
    edited November 2012
    Page two of his message :]

    General Notes
    HH-66 is a contact adhesive that will only bond materials with vinyl content. That means MLV to MLV, CCF (like the material I sell with vinyl content) to CCF and MLV to CCF. You need to coat both surfaces and let them dry until just tacky, 3-5 minutes. Press the two parts together. The bond is more than strong enough to work with immediately. It will achieve its full strength after a few hours.In most cases you won't need to coat the entire surface - tacking in a few spots is usually sufficient.

    Velcro Strips can be cut in half (2”X2”), or thirds, for all but the most demanding applications. When working with the self-adhesive side(s) of the Velcro Strips press the entire assembly into place. It is a good idea to gently separate the hook and loop sides and press them down individually to make sure the bond is complete.

    I think it’s important that the MLV and CCF layers be removable. It’s just not a good idea to install these materials assuming that vehicle maintenance will never be required. Preserving the ability to remove and replace the barrier won’t harm performance and should be considered during installation.

    Overlapping MLV is one way to deal with seams. I usually prefer to cut 2” wide strips to use as “tape”. I butt the pieces of MLV together and then use HH-66 to bond the 2” strip over the seam. This is almost always easier and makes it easier to follow compound curves.

    68 CLD Tiles
    1 roll Extruded Butyl Rope
    95.1 ft² MLV
    118.6 ft² 1/8" CCF
    42.7 ft² 3M Thinsulate Acoustic
    23 Velcro Strips, adhesive 2 sides
    1 32 oz can HH-66 Vinyl Contact Cement

    As an Order:
    68 CLD Tiles @ 2.25 = $153.00
    1 roll Extruded Butyl Rope @ 8.75 = 8.75
    1 103.5 ft² roll MLV @ 218.18 = 218.18
    9 sheets 1/8" CCF @ 14.55 = 130.95
    42.5 ft² 3M Thinsulate Acoustic @ 3.90 = 157.25
    2 Velcro Strips, adh. 2 sides, 10-pack @ 14.65 = 29.30
    3 Velcro Strips, adh. 2 sides, 2-pack @ 3.25 = 9.75
    1 32 oz can HH-66 Vinyl Contact Cement @ 15.25 = 15.25
    1 2" Maple Roller (Free w/ 60+ CLD Tiles) N/C

    Sub Total: $719.18
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,507
    Unbelievable detail! That guy is a keeper!

    I bet one could use some of that Thinsulate acoustic on the top side of a moonroof cover to make a dramatic difference when the cover is closed. Of course, doing the rest of the roof would be a must. The trick would be to not interfere with the operation of the glass roof panel.

    Thanks for sharing!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
    If you are a parent of young children (at least one under 12 years old) who owns the latest model Subaru Impreza or Ford C-Max, a reporter would like for you to fill out a survey, due by December 1, 2012, for use in a print publication. Please email no later than Friday, November 30, 2012 for a copy of the survey.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • You are correct. The Impreza is a noisy car. That was my first impression too. It's road noise from minimal sound insulation. Later on, its tire noise too from the junky OEM tires car makers use that start to cup around 8k miles or so. I bought the car anyway. Another part of the noise is the engine whine when cold at around 40mph as it holds the lower gears so long.
  • Thanks - and good point on the tires. I'm trying to get a 2013 impreza now, but running into supply issues and delays. I'll just have to remember to put on better tires after a bit...
  • Hey everyone,

    I was concerned about the noise in the 2013 Impreza but bought it anyway as well (I wanted a car that would last 10+ years) I'm wondering if any of these actions helped to reduce wind noise at highway speeds? It's most bothersome once I approach 70 mph. Tire noise is also an issue on rough pavement, but I've read on that the OEM tires are the issue and once people switch it gets a lot better.

    zillion08, have you done any of those installations you described and did they help at all?

  • I completely forgot about this thread. Sorry guys!

    I actually didn't go with the guy that I was talking to. I may buy some of the 3m stuff yet, but we will see.

    Amazon was running a sale on Dynamat and I bought some of that. Its $50 now. :]

    IT MADE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE!!! At least to me!

    Now I actually bought the door kit I think. And I went off the website I posted saying "You only need to cover 25% of the door" and I covered my car doors and the hatch with some left over.

    The biggest pain was figuring out how to get the door panels off. The dealer didn't want to tell me how because they were lazy so I bought the 3 day subscription to subaru to see how to take it off. First unscrew it (one screw in the door handle area and um... the little cubby hole near the window controls). When you open the door, you start on the panel closest to the car (its very narrow) Slip you fingers in and just pull. You'll here a loud bang. Some of them are hard to pull, so have a beer or two to help. :] Go around the whole panel until it is lose. The pull up.It pops right off. All the doors are basically the same. :]

    I do plan on putting more Dynamat on beings I downloaded all the pdf's from the subaru site so I at least know how to. :] I think the next place I will install it will be the roof. :]

    But in short, the Dynamat made a great improvement. Great $50 buy. :]

    If you need any help, just post on here and Ill do my best. :]

  • Awesome, thanks for getting back so quickly...I'll look into tackling the door panels...

    What Subaru subscription are you referring to? Are they PDFs of instructions for maintenance tasks? Do you have a link to it?
  • zillion08zillion08 Posts: 6
    edited February 2013
    Here are the guides that I was talking about:

    Its under "online reference."

    These guides are like what the dealers use if they don't know how to dig into it and these are the ones that I downloaded.

    The 3 day subscription costs $35. But don't buy the subscription, I can help you for free. :]

    Also, here is a video on how to do it:

    You don't need to take off the window controls thou. :]

  • Ok So I found you talking about this. I have a 2013 2.0 l Impreza manual with 1000 miles. I figured id change the oil at 1k to remove metal etc . now that I am driving it its louder than it was before. It seems even with the loud sterwo I hear the clatter, chain, valves, Not sure what it is. Its so loud and on decel its real bad. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • Ok So I found you talking about this. I have a 2013 2.0 l Impreza manual with 1000 miles. I figured id change the oil at 1k to remove metal etc . now that I am driving it its louder than it was before. It seems even with the loud sterwo I hear the clatter, chain, valves, Not sure what it is. Its so loud and on decel its real bad. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Are you sure you got the right viscosity? And re-checked the oil level, too?
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