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How Well Does A Subaru Impreza Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

The Subaru Impreza is a car many of us know as a reliable daily driver that has been around the US soil for quite some time now. The Impreza is an all-wheel-drive car with the AWD standard across the entire line-up of variants. Those who frequently face winter and snow conditions know how vital the AWD system is for such weather.

One conclusion that can be drawn before even starting a debate about the Impreza’s winter and snow prowess, is that it is by no means a car good for visiting family and friends on Christmas. But it does the job with the snow KPIs being somehow met, though we are not talking about an SUV-like performance here.

There are various items on the car buying checklist, and we can assure you that snow performance is way down that checklist. People are not buying Subaru Impreza for its winter readiness. Instead, the mindset of the Impreza buyer is skewed towards the affordability and reliability elements more than its winter and snow behavior. Let’s have a look at different aspects of the car!

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Subaru Impreza Last? (Answered) & How Many Miles Can A Subaru WRX Last? (Answered)

Experience Of Subaru Impreza Owners

Since the Impreza has sold in good numbers, there are gigabytes of feedback that can be found about its winter and snow aptness. Since it is one of the most affordable AWD cars available to North American buyers, it certainly has some positivity as to the feedback drivers have shared about the Impreza.

Subaru has been generous in adding AWD in a car at this price tier. This makes the Impreza a go-to option for a lot of drivers who face winters and snow challenges. The Impreza’s AWD makes the harshness of winters and snow a tad more bearable. The Subaru Impreza handles the snow and winters with a surprisingly agile posture.

A driver drove around in quite a few inches of snow and pulled out the Subaru Impreza after being stuck in the snow, and here is what he has to say about it.”

“Now that was our Impreza with All-season tires. Now I would like to see one of the competitors with the front-wheel-drive vehicles, get out of there with all-season tires on.”


“I found it alarmingly easy to spin the tires from a stop. After everything I have heard, I thought the AWD would have controlled that a little better. Now, granted, I was trying to find the limits, but it spun easily.”


It would be safe to conclude that the Subaru Impreza does a great job handling snow and winters given its form factor. It is not an SUV by any stretch of the imagination, but it still reasonably takes snow and winters. So well that people are still buying it and feeling happy about it.

Also read: Subaru Impreza Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Does Subaru Impreza Have Snow Tires?

Subaru, just like every other manufacturer, fits standard All-season tires to the Impreza as default. The Impreza performs somewhat decently even on All-season tires. The tire size that it comes equipped with is 205/55-R16. With a 205 mm width, the tires are dressed well for winters and snow.

The all-season tires are made out of a rubber compound that allows tire hardening at a higher temperature than the winter/snow tires. Tire hardening means loss of traction and grip, which is the most needed in winters, and this calls for change.

Most drivers who buy new cars go for the winter tires as soon as they put on their jackets. Usually, the sales of winter and snow tires spike towards the end of Q3 every year. The reason is straightforward. Drivers need more control of the car and more feedback from the steering wheel to maneuver the vehicles better.

With the winter tires, because they harden at a much lower temperature than the All-season tires, it is relatively easy to maintain grip and traction by keeping the tire surface softer for a longer time in winters. This retention of grip behavior helps the car obey the front wheels and keeps it going in the direction of the tires.

However, some drivers keep running the all-season tires even in winters, but then again, it is the driver’s potential that determines the risk of running all-season tires even in winters. Some drivers are apt enough to handle them; others are not. Either way, winter tires are always a strong suggestion from our side.

Also read: Absolute Best Years Of The Subaru Impreza

What Drive System Does A Subaru Impreza Have?

All-wheel drive. Simple. An AWD system is the heart and soul of a car when it’s put to the test in snow and winter conditions. There is no better way of putting it. The Subaru Impreza is well-renowned for its capabilities in snow and winters, although it falls in the compact sedan segment.

The All-wheel drive system ensures power transmission to all wheels at all times. This means that it keeps the vehicle moving forward by making sure that the job of pushing the vehicle is divided among four wheels instead of just two. The scale will always tip in favor of AWD as soon as the winter prowess of a car is discussed.

It is generous of Subaru to have included an AWD system, which is expensive to be given as a standard feature, to the Impreza, thereby disallowing the buyers to think of its competitors. This has been shown and demonstrated by the buyers over the years by the sales numbers of the Impreza.

Because the AWD system offers faster acceleration at all four wheels, it is a breeze to get the Impreza out of thick layers of snow when it becomes necessary. While with non-AWD vehicles, a driver can only step out of the car and wait for a miracle. Those in an AWD-equipped vehicle will pass by.

Also read: How Much Can A Subaru Impreza Tow?

What Electronics System Helps The Subaru Impreza In The Snow?

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

When a driver senses any danger ahead, the first reaction is to apply all the force the right leg can gather and slam it onto the brake pedal. We all do this. We have been doing it without realizing that it locks the wheels, and in return, we lose traction and control of the car due to this sudden behavior.

Although the drivers don’t sense it, car manufacturers do. This is the reason behind the mothering of the idea to somehow prevent the wheels from locking under heavy braking. It takes the car out of the driver’s control, and the loss of life that resulted from such human instincts necessitated some action.

The ABS is designed to prevent the wheels from locking by the intermittent cut-off of brake force to keep the wheels in rotation as this is the only way for the driver to retain control of the car. While the wheel is rotating, the driver can easily steer it away from danger, which comes in really handy in winter and snow.

Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)

In essence, a vehicle stability control system, the VDC, takes data from a web of sensors all across the vehicle that constantly monitor the car’s behavior for adversities. The yaw rate, wheel speed, the steering wheel’s position, and the lateral acceleration are continuously measured for correction.

The VDC, as soon as it detects any unusual manner of all of these, immediately pounces to action and ensures the vehicle stays stable under such circumstances. For instance, an abnormal rate of wheel speed is checked, and power delivery to that wheel is cut-off to be redirected to the wheel that needs it the most.

All of this is done to maintain the vehicle’s equilibrium about its center of gravity. This allows greater control over the car, and the driver can immediately correct it by responding promptly.

Brake Override System (BOS)

There could be situations where a driver mistakenly presses both the brake and gas pedals. This is a problem some of us have seen happening to ourselves. This is where the BOS comes into play. It is an intelligent system that determines the simultaneous application of both the brake and gas pedal and cuts of the power in no time, allowing braking to override acceleration.

This causes the vehicle to reduce speed and allows for correction time, where the driver gets back to whether he wants to accelerate or decelerate the car. Adding such functionality comes in handy in winters when slippage of the vehicle can be life-threatening and thus helps save lives.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Subaru Impreza

Weight Distribution

2021 ModelsWeight Distribution F/R
Sedan49:51 (est.)
5-Door49:51 (est.)
Premium Sedan49:51 (est.)
Premium 5-Door49:51 (est.)
Sport Sedan49:51 (est.)
Sport 5-Door49:51 (est.)
Limited 5-Door49:51 (est.)

Ground Clearance

At 5.1 inches of ground clearance, the Subaru Impreza is in the same league as its other competitors are. The ground clearance of 5.1 inches by no means is high. But it suffices for the use of the Impreza in winters and light to moderate snow. The SUVs are a superior choice for extreme snow situations, but even at 5.1 inches, the Impreza is bound to impress.

At this ground clearance, owing to Subaru’s generosity, the AWD system overtakes the challenges put forth by extreme winters and snow. Although it won’t be justified to expect SUV characteristics but rest assured, the way Impreza handles snow and winters is nothing short of stellar given its body style.


The winters and snow are not only a flat road’s character. They also come into play on hills and inclines. The longer the wheelbase of a car, the better it will perform on slopes. The main factor here is the AWD system once again. A vehicle with an equally dispersed amount of power at front wheels for pull and rear wheels for the push that makes the curry taste good.

When a car has only a front-wheel-drive system with a long wheelbase, the job of pulling the car’s weight uphill is sweating. The same is the case of rear-wheel-driven cars with long wheelbase when they have to push the vehicle’s entire weight uphill. Now divide the task of pulling and pushing between the front and rear wheels equally, and the job becomes more manageable.

This is really where the more extended wheelbase exponentially complements the AWD system, and going up and down the hill for the Subaru Impreza becomes less daunting than its competitors.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The Subaru Impreza?

Although the Subaru Impreza is made to impress the snow and winter drivers, some of us still are looking for a greater degree of assurance in unpredictable weather conditions. Traction chains are an excellent option for those who belong to this clan to redeem the traction lost to the severity of winters and snow.

On, plenty of traction chains can be bought to enhance the traction, which is compromised due to winters and snow. If you are unsure which ones would go with your tires, you can find the right ones here on the peerless chain. And we also suggest you go for it. Happy wintering.