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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whats up folks (jump to third paragraph to see the basic question)

So I'm brand new to this forum and working on cars. I'm looking to move on from my stock jetta I've ran into the ground since I got my license in high school, and it's pretty set in stone that I'm moving on from that to my first 'real' car, a 2017 Impreza hatch premium, which I could possibly be driving home tomorrow if all goes well. I did test drive it, and liked it, but of course I'm searching online tonight to make sure I know what I'm getting myself into in terms of upgrades.

WRX and STIs are not an option due to parents being parents, so I'm strictly asking about Imprezas and what I can do realistically to it, simply when it comes to what's available out there. Now I've never worked on a car before, or have had any sort of work done, so to be completely honest my knowledge is pitiful when it comes to knowing part names etc, but my root question comes down to this.

Is there any real viable way to upgrade the performance under the hood of an Impreza besides what I've seen people say, which is stick to wheels tires and suspension, and maybe possibly air intake and exhaust?

'm extremely ignorant on the matter, I have about an hour of reading forums under my belt, so I'm mainly looking for feedback and what people have to say about their systems and what the actual possibilities are, or if the Impreza platform itself is too limiting for any sort of noticeable changes. I understand its a cvt transmission.. "N/A" has popped up through my searches.. Like I said I really know nothing about car mechanics or if/why a turbo kit wouldn't be an option.... I need this car for the awd and room in the back for winter/ roadtrips, that's why I settled on the Impreza, as well as what I thought could be a "suped up subey" lolll. I'd love to know what I can do to this thing, I'm starting with tints, wheels and suspension, yet the big question is "and then what?" lol.

I'd appreciate any and all tips, sharing of knowledge to a beginner, and constructive criticism of any sort. Please help me out I love the car regardless but I need some help!! Reach out, thanks.
 

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I'm no technician but i beleive the 2.0 motor it comes woth has almost no upgradable capabilities, if a more knowable person can chime i would love to know aswell, as I have a 2022 hatchback,.
 

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[...]
Is there any real viable way to upgrade the performance under the hood of an Impreza besides what I've seen people say, which is stick to wheels tires and suspension, and maybe possibly air intake and exhaust?

'm extremely ignorant on the matter, I have about an hour of reading forums under my belt, so I'm mainly looking for feedback and what people have to say about their systems and what the actual possibilities are, or if the Impreza platform itself is too limiting for any sort of noticeable changes. I understand its a cvt transmission.. "N/A" has popped up through my searches.. Like I said I really know nothing about car mechanics or if/why a turbo kit wouldn't be an option.... I need this car for the awd and room in the back for winter/ roadtrips, that's why I settled on the Impreza, as well as what I thought could be a "suped up subey" lolll. I'd love to know what I can do to this thing, I'm starting with tints, wheels and suspension, yet the big question is "and then what?" lol.

I'd appreciate any and all tips, sharing of knowledge to a beginner, and constructive criticism of any sort. Please help me out I love the car regardless but I need some help!! Reach out, thanks.
As you've said, suspension is probably going to change the characteristics of how your car drives the most. But even then, the Impreza has nice driving characteristics on its stock form, at least comparing to similar range FWD cars. If its your first car try to learn from it, so when you change something you can actually feel it.
N/A means naturally aspirated, which means it doesn't have a turbo/supercharger. Adding one may be possible but it will probably be more expensive than selling the car and upgrading.
For winter, the best option is always to use winter tires, if you can afford to have them, that is a real upgrade for your safety.
 

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unless you wanna spend 4k on a avo turbo kit than nah. realistically maybe 10-15hp with a 93 tune with a high flow fliter, charcoal filter delete crawford blocks. much more worth it for suspension mods.
 

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Impreza uses the FB20D, due to the design you are pretty limited in what you can do. While a turbo isn't out of the question, you're going to need to run very low boost due to the open block design with no supports unlike some of the other engines. Can be a noticable increase in power, but not sure it's worth the cost and hassle. Like 860 mentioned, basically just a 93 tune for small gains, though there was somone building full exhaust systems and pushing the tunes a bit further. Avoid cold air intakes and stick with a high flow filter in the stock airbox, CAIs have been shown to fluctuate the powerband and drop power, even with a tune.

If you want big power gains, engine swap is basically the only way, or just get a WRX/STI
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I appreciate everyone's answers, wasn't sure what to expect from posting last night so thanks.

Just to reply to what everyone said, Im most definitely going to stick to suspension/wheels/tires. I have snow/summer tires for my jetta so for a FWD car I definitely know the importance of snow tires. I may stick with the stock tires for this winter due to already being an AWD car and higher priority purchases like tints for the time being lol.

I actually have a friend I spoke to today who drives a 2015 legacy and does alot of this same stuff to it, so wanted to run some of what he said by you guys. In terms of suspension, A) he said its expensive to get done and B) like 'maxtom' said here, he said to drive the car stock for a few thousand miles just to get a feel for it first, definitely agree with that to save money short term and feel how it rides to know where to go with upgrade choices. So that begs two questions, is my friend right/ how expensive is it, and given that I still have to feel it out, what are some of the go-to products/packages to keep it mind for suspension?

So now for the air intake/exhaust. I know Legacies and Imprezas have their differences, (esp 2015 vs 17), but my friend I spoke to is a proponent of/ believes in air intakes and their effectiveness, and based on what you guys say im not 100% sure how I feel yet on that side of things.... Let me ask you guys this.. say I drop in an AEM cold air intake, is it going to make any difference at all besides noise? (friend says he sees +10hp with his I wanna call bs..) and on top of that, (dummy question) wouldn't switching out a part like that throw off the function of the engine/ everything in general due to an engine/all these parts working in unison..

Im asking alot of questions and throwing alot of stuff out there so feel free to answer any part of this as u wish. It was definitely worth it hopping on this forum really was not sure the response this would get but it seems to definitely worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm no technician but i beleive the 2.0 motor it comes woth has almost no upgradable capabilities, if a more knowable person can chime i would love to know aswell, as I have a 2022 hatchback,.
yeah man Im finding the same thing. We haven't bought the car yet but its close so im trying to find out as much as I can. Do you know if the 2.5 is any better vs the 2.0? That could be a big help, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As you've said, suspension is probably going to change the characteristics of how your car drives the most. But even then, the Impreza has nice driving characteristics on its stock form, at least comparing to similar range FWD cars. If its your first car try to learn from it, so when you change something you can actually feel it.
N/A means naturally aspirated, which means it doesn't have a turbo/supercharger. Adding one may be possible but it will probably be more expensive than selling the car and upgrading.
For winter, the best option is always to use winter tires, if you can afford to have them, that is a real upgrade for your safety.
I mentioned this in a "reply all" response (see above..) but yes I am most definitely keeping my eyesight on suspension and wheels for the foreseeable future. Budgets can only get us so far so fast lol. I mentioned in the other reply, Im most likely going to skip the winter tires just bc of the fact AWD can handle alot more than what my FWD jetta with snow tires was able to, definitely worth it for say next year/winter, but budget wise and logistically im going to skip the winter tires for this season (hopefully that doesn't backfire.)

As for turbo kits, like you said its super unrealistic. I heard basically the same thing you said from my friend, so pretty much SOL on that one lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Impreza uses the FB20D, due to the design you are pretty limited in what you can do. While a turbo isn't out of the question, you're going to need to run very low boost due to the open block design with no supports unlike some of the other engines. Can be a noticable increase in power, but not sure it's worth the cost and hassle. Like 860 mentioned, basically just a 93 tune for small gains, though there was somone building full exhaust systems and pushing the tunes a bit further. Avoid cold air intakes and stick with a high flow filter in the stock airbox, CAIs have been shown to fluctuate the powerband and drop power, even with a tune.

If you want big power gains, engine swap is basically the only way, or just get a WRX/STI
Okay so you seem to know what you're talking about on the tech side so I hope you dont mind me picking your brain a little bit. So first and foremost, for CAIs.. I've heard good things.. it seems to be the go-to for alot of people I've spoken to/heard from, could be wrong about that, but they do seem popular/a term I've heard on multiple occasions. Granted Im going to try to look this stuff up after this, but how do CAIs actually drop power/ I dont even know what a powerband is. A good question to go from here is where can I read on my own about intakes and testing, efficacy, etc so I can actually educate myself on where I want to go with this instead of asking ignorant questions. Im just leaning towards the thought of a CAI (even though I know little to nothing about them), to be honest my friend showed me his at school today and told me about them and I was impressed, so my apologies for basing my stance off of that lol.
 

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Man, I wish I'd listen to that advice lol. Maybe a balanced budget type deal I really wanna sport this thing out
The only reason I'm saying what I'm saying is because I've been there and have a 19 year old son that's into cars.
You said parents, so I assume you're not on your own yet.
Not saying don't enjoy life, but IMHO a Subaru Impreza isn't the car to spend money on.
I had 2 69 Mustangs and a 67 Landcruiser when I was younger. I love to go back and invest the money I dumped into those.
I likely be running around in a nice expensive midlife crises vehicle instead of trying to catch up on retirement money.

Not trying to preach to you, just wish my parents had talked to me more about money.
 

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Okay so you seem to know what you're talking about on the tech side so I hope you dont mind me picking your brain a little bit. So first and foremost, for CAIs.. I've heard good things.. it seems to be the go-to for alot of people I've spoken to/heard from, could be wrong about that, but they do seem popular/a term I've heard on multiple occasions. Granted Im going to try to look this stuff up after this, but how do CAIs actually drop power/ I dont even know what a powerband is. A good question to go from here is where can I read on my own about intakes and testing, efficacy, etc so I can actually educate myself on where I want to go with this instead of asking ignorant questions. Im just leaning towards the thought of a CAI (even though I know little to nothing about them), to be honest my friend showed me his at school today and told me about them and I was impressed, so my apologies for basing my stance off of that lol.
Powerband is essentially how much power you have over the entire RPM range from idle to redline, not just peak power. With most cars a CAI is a great option and either doesn't do much at all other than add a bit of sound or adds a bit of power on stock tune, and tuned can give a bit of gains in power. But with the FB20 the powerband keeps dipping down across the whole range, even if you get a tune. The stock airbox is designed to prevent this issue. This applies even with a full exhaust system which is normally where a CAI shines. Some cars also lose a bit of midrange power with a CAI on stock tune, but tuning it usually brings that back so it can utilize the extra airflow, but this is not the case for the FB20. Moral of the story, just save your money and buy a performance filter for the stock airbox instead of buying a CAI for the FB20.

I learned about this from the guy I mentioned who does tunes with full exhaust systems, RalliSport Automotive, you can find him on Facebook and he goes into a bit more detail about this issue there. Here is the charts he posted to show the loss in power:

Stock airbox:
Light Rectangle Slope Plot Line


Cold air intake:
Light Rectangle Slope Font Plot
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The only reason I'm saying what I'm saying is because I've been there and have a 19 year old son that's into cars.
You said parents, so I assume you're not on your own yet.
Not saying don't enjoy life, but IMHO a Subaru Impreza isn't the car to spend money on.
I had 2 69 Mustangs and a 67 Landcruiser when I was younger. I love to go back and invest the money I dumped into those.
I likely be running around in a nice expensive midlife crises vehicle instead of trying to catch up on retirement money.

Not trying to preach to you, just wish my parents had talked to me more about money.
You are 100% right and I appreciate your advice and wise words. I am still dependent on my parents, and spending money has already been an issue for me if I'm being completely honest so trust me they've preached and will probably tell me the same thing not to spend the money now on this car. And in the context of this thread and asking about upgrading the Impreza, I didn't know or expect it to be so expensive. Spending 1000 plus to get my car serviced for an upgrade is super not viable for my situation, and anyone reading this should definitely heed to your advice. I'd be stupid to not listen to someone telling me in this very car forum, where we're here literally to talk about spending money on our cars, so someone to tell me here not to spend the money is a red flag. The Impreza hatch personally is just a good commuter car with trunk space for me. So I was definitely getting my hopes up. Still going to look into what I can do, but with the huge grain of salt of its probably not going to happen how I imagined aka its too expensive and way smarter to save. Thank you once again for your advice and I'll do my best with life and my situation to listen and see it myself that I shouldn't and decide not to spend the money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Powerband is essentially how much power you have over the entire RPM range from idle to redline, not just peak power. With most cars a CAI is a great option and either doesn't do much at all other than add a bit of sound or adds a bit of power on stock tune, and tuned can give a bit of gains in power. But with the FB20 the powerband keeps dipping down across the whole range, even if you get a tune. The stock airbox is designed to prevent this issue. This applies even with a full exhaust system which is normally where a CAI shines. Some cars also lose a bit of midrange power with a CAI on stock tune, but tuning it usually brings that back so it can utilize the extra airflow, but this is not the case for the FB20. Moral of the story, just save your money and buy a performance filter for the stock airbox instead of buying a CAI for the FB20.

I learned about this from the guy I mentioned who does tunes with full exhaust systems, RalliSport Automotive, you can find him on Facebook and he goes into a bit more detail about this issue there. Here is the charts he posted to show the loss in power:

Stock airbox:
View attachment 26711

Cold air intake:
View attachment 26712
Okay now you're starting to sway me. I am a little disappointed and tbh im considering not even going for the 2017 Impreza, because of this and it seems like this sort of thing is across the whole platform. Im not even looking to spend crazy money on a bunch of upgrades, but a CAI was one thing I wanted to do. Not the end of the world just have to get the idea of CAI out of my mind/ not get all eager to throw one in there. What's a good performance filter if you know of any you'd recommend? I know my friend installed his CAI in his legacy himself, can I do that for a filter/ is it easy vs hard?
 

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Okay now you're starting to sway me. I am a little disappointed and tbh im considering not even going for the 2017 Impreza, because of this and it seems like this sort of thing is across the whole platform. Im not even looking to spend crazy money on a bunch of upgrades, but a CAI was one thing I wanted to do. Not the end of the world just have to get the idea of CAI out of my mind/ not get all eager to throw one in there. What's a good performance filter if you know of any you'd recommend? I know my friend installed his CAI in his legacy himself, can I do that for a filter/ is it easy vs hard?
Yeah had them on previous cars and I did enjoy the slight extra sound, was a little disappointed to find out myself. But as far as installing goes, swapping the filter to a performance one is wayyy easier and cheaper than installing a CAI, and still gives you slight performance gains stock. A lot of cars even a CAI won't really do anything without a tune. You just pop the cover off of the intake box and slide in the new filter, removing the aditional carbon filter can be a little tricky, but still easier than a CAI install. Takes all of 5 minutes, just look up how to change car air filter. K&N and Green Filter make good ones.
 

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I had a "CAI" in my bmw which was running a tune. the CAI made it sound nicer but my intake temps were going up so I put the stock airbox back on and bought a dry afe filter. temps dropped back to normal. I haven't decided if I'm going to do anything other than stock in my daughter's impreza. i don't need her to have performance. that's why i bought her the impreza. lol
 

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I had a "CAI" in my bmw which was running a tune. the CAI made it sound nicer but my intake temps were going up so I put the stock airbox back on and bought a dry afe filter. temps dropped back to normal. I haven't decided if I'm going to do anything other than stock in my daughter's impreza. i don't need her to have performance. that's why i bought her the impreza. lol
I haven't done anything t my Impreza either. I think the most I will do is eventually get a strut tower brace but even that right now isn't high on my list. I would LOVE to get say a Borla cat back but I don't think any company has a cat back just an axle back. I haven't gone shit to my Legacy either.

Now, My S4 is a different story. I had a lot of work done years and years ago and now I NEED to have work done. I put in a turbo back exhaust which included 1 cat per pipe instead of 2, bigger diameter pipes all the way, upgraded intercoolers, second oil cooler, engine tune, trans tune and Bilstein PSS9 C/Os. Now, I have bad UCAs front and rear, a bad turbo, a pre-cat exhaust leak and possibly bat cats. While I have the money to fix it, I want to do it right and put new bigger turbos in, stiffen up the chassis, maybe eventually a 6-sp swap, brake upgrade, internal engine upgrades and tune, etc... but I have kids now and can't really drop that money without getting divorced. Car has been sitting in my garage since maybe 2018 with a random start and move here and there. Oh and the fabric on the roof is falling and that annoys the shot out of me for some unknown reason.

But I guess my point is the S4 had a LOT of upgrades available and the tuning potential is great. The Impreza, well that is a different story!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah had them on previous cars and I did enjoy the slight extra sound, was a little disappointed to find out myself. But as far as installing goes, swapping the filter to a performance one is wayyy easier and cheaper than installing a CAI, and still gives you slight performance gains stock. A lot of cars even a CAI won't really do anything without a tune. You just pop the cover off of the intake box and slide in the new filter, removing the aditional carbon filter can be a little tricky, but still easier than a CAI install. Takes all of 5 minutes, just look up how to change car air filter. K&N and Green Filter make good ones.
Yeah i actually ended up messaging RalliSportAuto on facebook, he sent me a video testing different level air filters, K&N is one i saw and was the best one tested although you lose ‘filter’ in the air filter bc its thinner etc but it did increase performance by about 4.8hp/5.1 torque, very minor gains probably wont notice the ~.2 sec i saw it can get on a 0-60 but its better than nothing for the price and ease of installing it as u said. Im going to look up Green Filter I know u probably dont see the filter itself at all through the grill or anything but the ugly K&N maroon isnt ideal to me if its the best i have no prob getting it but I’m still considering all options.
 
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