2012+ Subaru Impreza Real World Fuel Economy



  • oxmeadoxmead Member Posts: 79
    My '12 sport limited averages 28-30 mixed, and I have gotten up to 37 on highway trips. It has gone down in colder weather. I have a highway trip coming up and will report. I never reset the trip 2 , so when I put it on it gives me the average on all 6500 miles and readout says 33 , in reality probably 31. I think that's pretty good for an awd car.
  • runnerdogrunnerdog Member Posts: 3
    A am also a disappointed 2012 Impreza driver. I'm only at the 2,500 mile mark and the owners manual says not to expect to get the advertised mpg until after the first 3,000, so I have been trying to be patient. However, today I talked with the service manager and he said the mileage should improve at around 18,000 miles! That seems ridiculous and if true should be in the advertising otherwise there is a huge truth-in-advertising issue here, given how the car is represented both in ads and in its owner's manual. I know how to drive for FE and I do. My travel has been a mix of about town (top speeds of 40 mph) and three five hour road trips using cruise control set at 75 (the speed limit). This is I-70 through Kansas, not as flat as the stereotype, but not mountainous by any means. I did expect a period of breaking in, but not average in-town mpg of 19 or average hwy mpg of 22. I knew the mpg compromise for AWD vs, say, my husband's Prius, but I don't think its unreasonable to expect the car to come somewhere close to the advertised mpg well before it hits 18,000 miles. I am also well aware that HWY mpg are based on 55 mph and I drive the speed limit, so I didn't expect the hwy mileage to be quite as good. But I drive the heck out of my 20-year-old Porsche (in and out of town) and it is still averaging 33 mpg per tank of gas. I bought the Impreza Sport for the added space and combined AWD and comparatively good fuel economy. I do not drive it like its my Porsche, its purpose is different. I choose it over a couple of other possibilities because I keep my vehicles a long time (sometimes forever) and Subaru bills itself as the car people keep. Not this time, if the mileage doesn't reach the promised levels pretty soon. I otherwise like the car and really hope it improves. The problem is that I do not put many miles on my vehicles per year so, given average miles added per year on my previous vehicles, it will take four or five years to get to the 18,000 mile mark and I'm not willing to wait that long. Subaru just needs to fix this, or be honest in its advertising. I could be a long-time loyal Subie owner, but that's not looking likely right about now. If I trade off the Impreza, it won't be on another Subaru.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,957
    My brother is in the same boat with being disappointed about a recently-purchased car's fuel economy. He drives mostly highway miles, and it gets nowhere near the advertised mileage.

    I keep telling him the same thing I'm going to write here:

    You'll not make up the investment by trading to a different car in fuel cost alone. The only rational reason to switch cars is because you want a different car. At that point, the more fuel efficient one might save you money, but you aren't going to come out ahead vs. keeping a car you already own.

    There is a reason for the phrase, "your mileage may vary." Hopefully the point is moot and fuel economy will improve for you.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • runnerdogrunnerdog Member Posts: 3
    I know, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. I will be very excited if the mileage gets better in the next few months, but if it does not, getting rid of the the ongoing feeling of having been mislead and lied to (betrayal) by a company that touts itself as customer-focused will make the difference. I really want this car to work out. My best friend had a little Subie hatchback in the late '70s through the mid '80s that went camping, boating, loaded down to the max and it had more than 300,000 miles on it (across all sorts of terrain) by the time she sold it to a friend--(Little Red is probably STILL trekking on somewhere out there). I bought into the myth because those very positive (and fun!) experiences, which makes the disappointment more keen. I will continue to have patience. But not for 18,000 more miles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2013
    When it's this cold.

    My averages are way down (Sienna, Miata). It's also short drives in my case, but my averages are down 5-7mpg due to the frigid temps and engines that never fully warm up, it seems.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,957
    edited February 2013
    getting rid of the the ongoing feeling of having been mislead and lied to (betrayal) by a company that touts itself as customer-focused will make the difference.

    I understand completely. I've been there before, too. :cry:
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,957
    Same here, AJ. Our Forester averages about 26 during the warmer six months, and a dismal 20 during the colder six. Just be glad you don't have your commuting schedule and my sub-arctic climate! :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    FWIW during the Hyundai controversy it was reported that only 3 companies got better mpg in Consumer Reports real world tests than what they claim in EPA lab tests - VW, Mazda, and (surprise) Subaru.

    Diesels work, SkyActiv works, and AWD doesn't seem to be as big of a penalty as the EPA thinks.

    Honestly I think the bigger problem is people focus on the highway figures. Elantra's average 27 mpg on fuelly.com but that's nowhere near the 40 highway number. BTW the Impreza is about even with the Elantra.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,957
    True; very true. My lifetime average on the Forester (even with the winter mileage) over 50,000 miles is 23.6. EPA claims 22 combined. On top of that, I frequently haul heavy loads or trailers when I do take "highway" trips with it, so my mileage isn't necessarily stellar on those times, either. :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It takes a mile or two of driving for that blue light to go off ( indicating a cold engine), during that warm up fuel efficiency sucks.
  • nhwstorminnhwstormin Member Posts: 1
    Just beginning to do some research on Impreza mileage and came across your review. My wife has a 2012 Imprezza Sport with the 5 speed. She traded in her old 2001 Forester. We expected a great improvement in mileage but are getting 2-4 MPG less than the old Forester and with less power to boot. Car is getting 22-24 combined mileage.

    I have a Mazda 3 that was listed at 38 MPG and I've had as high as 39 and a low of 31 and most tanks average 35-36 with similar driving as my wife. We both keep log books for each fill so these are real numbers, not an electronic average by the car's info panel.

    It seems some owners say they get good mileage. I really wonder if they are accurate? We've had the car back to the dealer and are getting the same run around and excuses.

    Thanks for your review, we share your frustration.
  • dcm61dcm61 Member Posts: 1,567
    We both keep log books for each fill so these are real numbers, not an electronic average by the car's info panel.

    Before you believe your hand calculated numbers, check the odometer ... it is off by up to 10% (shows less than actual miles traveled). Thus, the info panel is closer than people realize.
  • notsosubarunotsosubaru Member Posts: 1
    My 2012 Impreza CVT hatchback gets between 22 and 25 MPG with just over 10,000 miles on the car to date. This is the first car I've owned that the actual gas mileage for my standard country and highway driving is less than the city MPG rating. If this was the advertised rating it would not have even made it to my final list.

    It seems kind of coincidental that it wasn't on my list, primarily due to the MPG rating on the 2011, until the 2012 numbers were released. I've contact Subaru and my local dealer and so far have gotten canned answers. I'm curious, does anyone know if the testing standards have changed or given the automakers more room in reporting these numbers?
  • clifmclifm Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2013
    After 8500 mi and about a year of driving my Impreza manual hatchback, watching the mileage, calculating the mileage, and making notes, I have a few tips...
    I just made a back-roads round trip from Chattanooga TN to Asheville NC and averaged right on 42 mpg for the trip (The display said 46 but real-world numbers corrected it down to 42), so I think I have figured out what works!

    1. Tire inflation has been the largest single variable. The tires have a capacity of 51 psi but the dealership had only inflated to 32. Needless to say my first few tanks of gas didn't go far. Also the higher pressure tires seem to need topping off every month or so. I can drive around on a tank of gas with the tires at 35 and then inflate them to 45 for the next tank, and get 10% to 15% better mileage for the same type of trips.
    2. Hills don't seem to make a difference, but out of habit I always slip out of gear going down. Staying in gear going downhill reduces mileage somewhat.
    3. 45-55 mph seems ideal. Speeds over about 60 mph rapidly decrease efficiency.
    4. Cold weather rapidly decreases efficiency, especially with short trips.
    5. Oddly, running the AC in summer doesn't seem to be nearly as detrimental as driving in the cold winter air. That one surprised me.
    6. Having the mileage display turned on actually results in getting better mileage; I probably am subconsciously adjusting my habits somewhat.
    7. It doesn't seem like ethanol vs no-ethanol gas makes a difference. I have not tried anything other than 87octane, although I do notice some spark knock from time to time. In the coming months I may experiment with a mid-grade gasoline.

    After taking these things into account I can usually average right on 30 mpg in mixed driving, 32-34 on 75 mph interstate driving in warm weather, and upwards of 40 mpg on long leisurely backroads trips. For cold weather (below 35F for us southerners!), everything takes a 5-10% hit.
  • jd_24jd_24 Member Posts: 92
    For the most part I'll agree with your post. I typically get 31 to 37mpg.

    I'd lower the tire pressure a bit. The higher pressures will make for a harser ride and possibly less traction even on dry roads. Keep in mind the tires are fairly different from the base model to the sport limited. I do try to keep mine about 35psi on a Sport Premium, which is more than the recomended (31psi ??)

    I'd add a number 8 and 9 to your list.

    8. Length of drive/commute. 20+ miles helps. As you point out the cold weather makes a big difference. Any commute less than maybe 10 miles doesn't get to bring the average back up from the first 4 or 5 miles of a cold engine, and drive train. Even my old 2001 OB was the same way. The first 4 or 5 miles on a cold day 20F or colder, I bet it barely averages 20mpg.

    9. Winter gas blends. Its not always more ethanol. In many cases its more butane that is added during the winter. 10% ethanol is required in many places year round. While ethanol is probably a factor, I think other additves in the winter blend have a bigger factor.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    45 psi (cold tire pressure) will trip a tire pressure light when the asphalt gets 100+. I really didn't notice any handling difference between 42 psi and 32 psi.

    Mileage wise, simply keep the rpms below 2000, top speed below 65 mph, and take the foot off the gas well in advance of a stop. The car will maximize with those conditions.

  • kimprezakimpreza Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2012 Impreza Hatchback that I love....EXCEPT for the MPG. I've had my car checked at the dealership for this and they brush it off on "winter mix" of fuel. I also drive only 1-2 miles to work and they say that also may be part of the issue.
    Here is my MPG at present: 12.6!!!! This is a new tank of gas with about 40 miles on it. I also have reset both trips A and B, because the dealer said that I should do that as well.
    I rarely have highway driving. Mostly all short spurts in city.
    I've had my car since August, and did not have this kind of MPG then. It's been this winter.
    I've also experienced a couple really hard starts that showed no computer codes when serviced.
    I wish someone would come up with a solution.
    Certainly is wrong of SUBARU to put the kind of MPG on the window sticker and commercials that they advertise when it is so NOT TRUE!
  • tinycadontinycadon Member Posts: 287
    This "BRUSH OFF" is THE TRUTH!!! Do some research, you'll find it to be the case. Your 1-2 mile drive is a mpg KILLER as well. Your engine doesn't even have time to warm up to its normal operating temperature, so not only does this drive the mpgs down, then add in the winter mix gas and no highway driving + short spurt drives and yes, you should be getting 12mpgs! Here's a solution for your mpg problem, if it's only 1-2 miles to work, why not walk, or walk 2 or 3 times a week, it'll extend your time between fill ups so MPGs would no longer matter?
  • jd_24jd_24 Member Posts: 92
    Ouch! The 1 to 2 mile commute is the problem for sure. Over a year ago I read in the Toyota Prius Forum the somebody there had a similar issue. The Prius returned something like 22 mpg for their 4 mile commute. The commute was too short for the engine to warm-up and for the batteries to charge.

    Subaru posts numbers on the sticker based on EPA tests. These tests are a standard that all manufacturer's are supposed to use. So unless Subaru faked the tests, they aren't lying about the MPG. Should the EPA have a wider range of tests? Certainly. Maybe 4 tests like "short trip", "city", "highway", "highspeed". That way they would fit a wider range of driving styles.
  • oxmeadoxmead Member Posts: 79
    I just returned from a 2200 mile road trip, and the Impreza IS capable of the epa numbers and more. The 950 mile return trip got a 41.4 average readout ( 39 actual) Trick is you have to keep it at 60 or under! The temp was mid 30's and no high winds. Conditions were mostly flat but rain and light snow.

    PS, I also did some awd driving in 8 inghes of snow in a Target parking lot and had a blast!
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    hmmm...watch that 8" of "snow plowing" with the front spoiler. You'll get some body damage that way.

  • runnerdog1runnerdog1 Member Posts: 1
    Yeah, I got my first body damage on my 2012 Impreza when the corner of the front bumper hit a snow drift that was a little taller (and harder) than I thought as I was making a right turn. Crunched the underside on that corner, but its not that obvious. The Impreza is not a very good snow plow. Handles well on ice and in the snow, though, so long as the snow isn't too deep. Glad to know the EPA rating is possible. Perhaps my abysmal numbers will start to get better as I get more miles on it and warm weather returns. I'm not driving below the speed limit though. The on-road travel I do is mostly long hauls and I don't want to make them any longer.
  • clifmclifm Member Posts: 4
    That long front overhang is my only gripe. Living in a hilly region, I've barked that thing about once a month on pavement when I try to turn onto a steep street. And I actually can't pull straight out of my driveway at all; I just bottom out. A VW and a Mazda never had that problem. If anyone knows a good source for a different front spoiler (and maybe a way to add about an inch to the ride?) I would love to hear about it.
  • oxmeadoxmead Member Posts: 79
    I was lucky and had no damage, and won't try it again. I guess that's why they came out with the Crosstrek.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,957
    Add some clearance? No problem... it's called XV. :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • fredjohnsonfredjohnson Member Posts: 48
    This winter in MN, been getting around 27 mpg combined on my 2012 Sport Premium. It's mostly highway driving. On long--200 mi road trips, best I could do was around 31 mpg at 60 mph sustained speeds. In the summer, I was able to get 38-42 mpg consistently on long road trips at 60. Cold air, a few minutes at idle to warm it up, winter gas mix, it all adds up to about a 33% reduction in mpg for me.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,957
    33%. Yeah, it sounds insane, but that's on par with what I see in my Forester: About 25-30%. It really all depends on how cold it is and how short the trips are. When I used a Subaru for commuting, it was 30% or more. My wife tends to use our Subaru now, and she does multiple things with it or shorter round trips wherein the car is "warm" the whole of the trip rather than going to work and then home ten hours later when it is stone cold again.

    By comparison, my FWD cars tend to lose about 20% of fuel economy during the winter when used as commuters.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • kadingkading Member Posts: 7
    I have also kept a complete log of all my fill-ups and have zeroed out my trip odo at each so I can calculate actual mpg instead of relying on the instrumentation which I find to be higher by about 7-8%.

    I've driven my 13 Sport Premium about 6000 miles now (mostly city) and have been averaging only 24.5mpg. However, I noticed that since I hit 5500 miles, my mpg has started inching upwards. The last two fill-ups have netted me 26 and 27.8 mpg. I have not changed anything except for adding 1psi to both front (33) and rear (31) tires.

    Somewhere earlier on this thread, I think, somebody who complained to their Subaru dealer about poor mileage was told to wait until their car got to a certain mileage before their fuel economy started to improve.

    So other than my experimentation with the increase in tire pressure, does anyone think there is something to what the Subaru dealer told the other guy? Has anyone had the same/similar experience? I find it a little difficult to believe that 1psi in tire pressure can make that much of a difference.
  • skid0skid0 Member Posts: 16
    I've gotten GREAT mileage in my '12 CVT. Over the last year, I averaged 34 mpg summer, 28.5 winter. My all time high full tank was 37 mpg. (All #'s hand-calclulated).


    Keep your revs below 3,000 with the CVT when accelerating. Use less throttle or suffer the consequences. This is a hard one to notice, there's no jerk from upshifts to clue you in how hard you are accelerating.

    The CVT has a lot of oil in it, and it takes a long time to warm up. If you bought this car to make short trips, you made a mistake.

    Small engines are NOT efficient at high speeds. You'll pay a big penalty for that extra 5 mph. If it's important enough for you to complain about, it's important enough for you to slow down for.

    Comparing an AWD to FWD is foolish. I'm getting 9 mpg better than my 2000 Outback, and 6 better than my Audi A4. Both AWD with similar cabin space.
  • orange182orange182 Member Posts: 2
    nhwstormin, I have tried everything to squeeze the EPA out of this car(Imprez,SprtPremCVT13Kmi17"wheels). I don't think it's possible. I did a trip from ME to NH in the summer and got 33.2MPG using all hypermile tricks. (also had tires up to 35psi). Have not been able to match that again. If you are in NEngland, then you are still getting the winter blend of fuel. I get 22.1 city in the winter and 28.3hwy. Until now, I have not owned a car where I could not match or exceed the HWY EPA value on at least one fill up. 2012 Outback+1 (in Winter!! 28Kmi), HondaFit +3 98outback +0. CReports couldn't get the EPA, Statistically, compared to other cars, fuelly.com shows same dismal results.
    Hate to say it, but Subaru embellished a bit on this one. It's a good car, but I thought I was buying a great one. Hyndai and Kia tried that also, they got caught by the EPA.
    If you think those 26-27 city were accurate, then that is excellent for this car.
  • orange182orange182 Member Posts: 2
    runnerdog .. I have the same feeling. 98SubOutback, 2000Legacy,2012Outback all matched or beat EPA when I wanted to (when I'm not driving like a madman). I feel duped also. I think Subaru went the way of Hyundai and Kia. I bet if the EPA tested this car, they would drop Subaru's estimates (http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/labelchange.htm)
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    I'm of the opposite impression. We regulary get 33-32 mpg overall, blend of 70/30 highway/city.

    Easy for us to get 38 mpg on the highway, and that's using California moonbeam Brown's 10% ethanol blend. It's all about keeping the car below 65mph, rpms at 2k, anticipating slow downs, and keeping the AC off as much as practical.

  • wvwwvw Member Posts: 19
    I would agree. Even my '95 Legacy wagon listed at 28MPG highway often got 31MPG with less careful driving on the highway. I generally get 31-32 with my Impreza.
  • taipeitaipei Member Posts: 1
    From recording fillups, I have found the highway MPG amazing! 95% of my driving is on state roads in northern NH and northern VT at speeds of 50 to 55 mph. I consistently get 36 to 37 MPG. On interstate highway trips to Montreal or southern VT and NH, I get 39 to 40 MPG - driving 99% highway at 65MPH and using cruise control. At least for the highway rating, Subaru is spot-on!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Good example, and the speeds are key.

    Rolling resistance drops in a linear fashion, but wind resistance increases with the square of speed (exponentially).

    So your results are as expected. I think people getting under 30mpg and probably going 70+mph.

    The EPA highway tests averages 48.3mph, with half the time at 55-60mph:


    If you want to meet (or beat) EPA numbers, the answer is simple - slow down.

    Wanna drive fast? OK, but you gotta pay to play.
  • kadingkading Member Posts: 7
    Since my last post on mpg numbers in March, I have also come to this conclusion. Over my last 3 fill-ups, I have made a conscious effort go go no higher than 65mph and avoid accelerations that brings the engine to 3K rpms and over. Getting up to speed gradually with rpms in the low 2Ks and cruising at 60-65, I've found, is the key.

    The results gives me 26.5mpg combined 70/30 city/highway which brings me in alignment with the Consumer Reports real world testing of 26mpg combined for the '13 Impreza as opposed to the 24.5mpg I had been getting.

    I'm sure that the warmer temps have also helped. I don't know if the switch to summer blend gas here in NY has happened yet but I am looking forward to that, too.
  • jfljfl Member Posts: 1,396
    I did ~800 miles over the Thanksgiving holiday. Overall ~30 mpg. Most of the highway miles @ 80 mph (speed limit is 70) with some stop-n-go traffic. I'm ok within the mpg considering the speed.

    This is similar to my typical mpg in day to day driving.
  • kadingkading Member Posts: 7
    I've had my '13 Sport Limited CVT hatchback for just about a year now. After 22,000+ miles and 75 fill-ups, my calculated overall average comes to about 26.3mpg with the majority of it being 70/30 city/hway driving in NYC traffic and a few road trips in between.

    On pure hway road trips, I can get it to about 33mpg as long as I don't go over 65. I get just under 30mpg if I drive 70 and above. These were on relatively hilly terrain. On flat terrain, I can actually come close to 35mpg, again doing 65 and below.

    So, my opinion is that the car performs as advertised.
  • jfljfl Member Posts: 1,396

    My '13 Sport Premium 5M, around 8,500 miles in ~5 months. Overall mpg=30; best=33; worst=28 (I've eliminated two anomalies: 48 miles @ 24mpg and 128 miles @ 39mpg.)

    I agree w/ kading "the car performs as advertised".

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