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2008-2011 Subaru Impreza wagon

Upgrading the stereo system in your Impreza wagon
2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011

2008 Subaru Impreza wagon

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Impreza's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Subaru. 

Overview of the Subaru Impreza

The 2008-11 Subaru Impreza Wagon is a popular AWD vehicle, especially big with the tuner crowd and in areas that suffer from harsh winters. The WRX version, in particular, has made its mark as a sporty, high-performance vehicle with lots of room for mechanical and cosmetic upgrades.

The Impreza comes with either a basic 4-speaker system or a premium 6-speaker system, and you'll find a ton of upgrades available for both sound systems. This is a straightforward vehicle for car audio installations. You can replace the factory stereo and speakers pretty easily and even retain the steering wheel controls.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

MasterSheet image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

Factory stereo system

An aftermarket receiver will give you the performance and functionality you've been looking for. The installation process is reasonably simple, and the results will be worth the effort.

Radio in 6-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The standard Subaru radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory radio

Here are some tips on what needs to be done to replace the stock receiver.

Standard 4-speaker system

Replacing your factory radio with an aftermarket car stereo is an easy way to add new functionality like HD Radio™ reception or Bluetooth® connectivity, plus take your sound quality up a notch or two.

If you have the standard Subaru radio, you'll need a dash kit to install either a DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) stereo, and you'll want to get a wiring harness that connects to the factory Subaru plug so you don't have to cut the factory wiring.

If you have the Subaru navigation radio in your vehicle, you'll also need an antenna adapter that'll connect your Subaru antenna lead to your new aftermarket stereo.

If you don't want to change out your radio, you’ll find adapters that let you connect your iPod® to the Subaru's radio, then control it with the radio or with your steering wheel controls.

You can definitely put together a complete audio system with new speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers while retaining the factory radio, but a nice aftermarket stereo offers superior circuitry that will make these upgrades sound even better.

Subaru radio with navigation (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Subaru radio with navigation (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Premium 6-speaker system

You'll know you have the upgraded 6-speaker system if you have tweeters in the corners of the front door's windows. The speakers in the front and rear doors are 6-1/2" in both sound systems, with the premium version having tweeters on the door speakers in addition to tweeters in the sail panel location on the front doors.

Both speaker systems use the same dash kit and wiring harness for stereo installations. The dash kit, harness, and antenna adapter needed are available at a very nice discount all stereo orders, and the Crutchfield MasterSheet™ instructions for your Impreza are included free.

Note: If you have the Subaru satellite radio, Bluetooth, or iPod connection option, you’ll lose it when you install a new stereo. And, of course, you'll lose navigation capability if you replace the Subaru navigation radio with a receiver that doesn't have GPS.

Steering wheel controls

It's relatively easy to retain the steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo in your Impreza. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.

 Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, panel tool

Replacing your factory speakers

Front door in 4-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front door in 4-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Standard 4-speaker system

The Impreza's standard audio system comes equipped with 6-1/2" speakers installed in the front and rear doors. Subaru generally uses 4-ohm speakers in their vehicles, so an aftermarket 4- or 2-ohm speaker will work well if you're replacing your speakers but keeping your factory radio.

The factory 6-1/2" speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The factory 6-1/2" speaker in 4-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front doors

You'll have to remove the door panel to get at the factory speaker, which is mounted in an integrated bracket that's attached to the door with three Phillips screws.

You can use mounting brackets to install any aftermarket 6-1/2", 6-3/4" and 5-1/4" speakers, but you'll have to drill a new hole to install the bracket in each door. Wiring harnesses are available to connect your new speakers to the factory wiring.

The mounting brackets and speaker wiring harnesses you'll need to install your new door speakers are available at a deep discount with every speaker order.

Rear doors

Installing new speakers in the rear doors of the Impreza is exactly the same process as the front doors. The door panel must be removed to get at the factory speaker, and the speaker lives in an integrated bracket that's attached to the door with three Phillips screws. You'll have to use mounting brackets to install any aftermarket 6-1/2", 6-3/4" and 5-1/4" speakers, and you'll have to drill a new hole to install each bracket.

Tweeter location of 6-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The 6-speaker system includes tweeters in the sail panels (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Premium 6-speaker system

The premium 6-speaker system in the Impreza adds tweeters in the corners of the front windows (the sail panel), and upgrades the door woofers to 2-way speakers (with tweeters). Like the basic 4-speaker system, all of the speakers are 4-ohm.

Upgraded door speaker with tweeter (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Upgraded door speaker with tweeter in 6-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Speaker locations

The speakers in the front and rear doors of the premium system can be removed from their bracket, which means you can install aftermarket 6-1/2" speakers without using a mounting bracket or drilling new holes.

You can also install a 5-1/4" or 6-3/4" speaker in the front and rear doors, but you'll have to use a mounting bracket in each location and  you'll have to drill a new screw hole to install each bracket.

Tweeters

The premium system includes tweeters built into the sail panels of the front doors, and they are easily accessed. You can pull the sail panel away from the door to release the clip that holds it in place. Installing an aftermarket tweeter requires a little ingenuity, since tweeters don't come in standard sizes.

You may have to make modifications or create a mounting plate to get a new tweeter in there. The factory tweeter is 1.38 inches in diameter, and you only have about 1/4" of depth in the location, so you may have to cut a hole in the grille and surface-mount the new tweeter.

There are no wiring harnesses available for this location in the Impreza, so you'll have to splice into the factory wiring or use a set of Posi-Products connectors to hook everything up.

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat screwdriver, panel tool, wire stripper/crimp tool, crimp caps, drill and 1/8" bit

 
Sound Ordnance B-8PTD

An in-depth look at the Sound Ordnance B-8PTD powered sub

Bass in your Subaru Impreza

The bad news is that nobody makes a custom-fit sub enclosure for the Impreza, but the good news is that finding room for a subwoofer and amplifier (or a powered sub) in this wagon shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll need to tap into the rear door speakers or run wires to the rear of the factory stereo to get a signal to your subwoofer system.

Other options for your Impreza

Here are some other ways to upgrade your Impreza:

Amplifiers

An amplifier will really boost the performance of your new speakers. We don’t recommend using an amp with the factory speakers because they simply won't handle that much power.

Satellite radio

If your factory radio came equipped with satellite radio, you will lose that option with a new car stereo, so look for a new radio that’ll work with an outboard SiriusXM tuner. You can also add a Dock-and-Play satellite radio that you can take from car to car.

Navigation

There’s plenty of room behind the dash, so any aftermarket in-dash navigation receiver will fit in the Impreza.

Security

Installing a security system in your Impreza isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.

Shop for car security systems for your Subaru Impreza

Find the audio gear that fits your car or truck

Visit our Outfit My Car page and enter your vehicle information to see stereos, speakers, subs, and other audio accessories that will work in your vehicle.

Please share your thoughts below.

  • Andrew from Brisbane

    Posted on 5/3/2020

    Hey i have a 2010 subaru impreza r luxury. Ive just new head unit in a gps pioneer one and itworks great except i have no sound out of speakers now please help

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 5/4/2020

    Andrew, It's probably a bad connection. Check 'em again and make sure everything is secure. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.
  • Brandon

    Posted on 4/11/2020

    I have a 2009 subaru impreza 2.5i with the premium audio system. (4 OEM "two-way" door speakers and tweeters in the sail panels) I installed a aftermarket head unit ( Pioneer FH-S722BS) with a metra wiring harness and I have my speakers connected to it directly instead of the RCA outputs. However, I do have a subwoofer and amplifer so I am using the Subwoofer RCA output to my mono amp that powers my sub. (10" Kicker 4 ohm Dual voice coil) Wired at 4 ohms My question is, having the premium 6 speaker system with tweeters, and using an aftermarket radio, would I use the crossover settings on the head unit and how would I set them? Do I leave them set to "Off" or apply a HPF? Is there a crossover built into the OEM harness or in the stock radio? Im not really sure how crossovers work that is where I get totally lost. Same with the subwoofer channel I can leave it off or apply a LPF. Sorry for the lengthy comment and thanks in advance

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 4/13/2020

    Brandon, If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.
  • Spencer Fordin from Newport richey

    Posted on 2/22/2020

    I have the 2009 outback sport; the stock radio has a satellite button, but when I press the category button, it says SAT 1 Detached. Do I need a new stereo to have satellite capability?

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 2/24/2020

    Spencer, Not necessarily, but you do need a SiriusXM subscription. If you have one and it's not working, something might be disconnected somewhere. If you do need a new stereo, we'll be happy to help. When you enter your vehicle's info into our Outfit My Car tool, you'll see which stereos fit your car, plus the correct harness. If you have any questions, our advisors are available via phone or chat.
  • Mike from Danbury

    Posted on 2/7/2020

    I have 2011 impreza with factory 4 door speakers and front tweeters. If I change to coaxal speakers will I be able to retain the front tweeters or should I get a component set for the front

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 2/7/2020

    Mike, Components are definitely the way to go here. When you enter your vehicle's info into our Outfit My Car tool, you'll see which speakers fit your Impreza. If you have any questions, our advisors are available via phone or chat.
  • Austin from Atlanta, Georgia

    Posted on 1/25/2020

    I have a 2009 Subaru Impreza hatchback w/ door tweeters and steering wheel controls, and my goal is to get something that lets me use Apple CarPlay with it (primarily so that I can use bluetooth and also navigate using Waze). I've read that some of the new CarPlay headunits leave a big, unsightly gap between the OEM fascia and the aftermarket headunit - are there any that you recommend that fit the older Imprezas well and look nice?

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 1/27/2020

    Austin, We can help you find the receiver you're looking for. I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.
  • Jane

    Posted on 1/14/2020

    I have the basic 4 speaker model. I'm looking into changing the speakers to at least those of the premium 6 speaker model. Do you happen to know what's the difference in quality between the two models? The basic 4 speakers, for me, lack some quality of sound (there's little to no bass). If I install only the 4 speakers of the premium set (so two in the front and two in the back) will I get better sound? Or is the difference negligible and I should look into aftermarket speakers.. Thank you!

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 1/14/2020

    Jane, The premium speakers are a smidge better, but the most noticeable difference comes from the sail panel tweeters. Swapping like-for-like would exclude the component tweeters and probably sound worse than what you have. Plus, those speakers are getting kind of old anyway. Your best bet is to skip ahead and install new aftermarket speakers that really will sound better. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We'll help you find speakers that will fit your car, your budget, and your music.
  • Travis from Seattle, WA

    Posted on 1/13/2019

    What are the best value audio upgrades to do for my 2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i? I have the basic 4 speaker model and know that I want to (at the very least) replace the factory radio with an aftermarket stereo so I can use Bluetooth with my phone. I also don't want to spend more than ~$400 or so total; cheaper is better!

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 1/14/2019

    Travis, I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.
  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/29/2018

    Vijay, Depends on what you're trying to do. I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • vijay from Tucson

    Posted on 5/27/2018

    John, do you recommend me bypassing the OEM speaker wires in an 09 forester with 12 or 14 gauge copper wire?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/25/2017

    Maria, Subaru's in-dash 6-CD changer was and is kind of a cool thing. Alas, you'll lose that functionality with a new receiver. The good news is that you can choose a new one that'll allow you to play all kinds of music from a variety of sources. Give us a call and we'll help you find the right receiver for your car.

  • Maria from San Francisco

    Posted on 9/21/2017

    i have the original radio system that can put up to 6 cd if i replace with aftermarket will i still be able to do that?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/17/2016

    Kevin, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Kevin San from LOWELL

    Posted on 2/16/2016

    Hi I have just installed a 12" rockard fosgat p3 punch subwoofers with a mrv m5000 amps & now I have a powerful bass with no distortion & I want to increase the audio of my car of my speakers & I was wondering what size should I get for my subaru impreza 2011 sport outback 2.5

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/21/2015

    Francisco, From what you're saying, it sounds like that swap might not be "plug and play." But that's just a guess. For OEM-OEM upgrades, your best source for parts and advice might be a Subaru owners forum. Good luck!

  • Francisco J. from San German, PR

    Posted on 9/19/2015

    I have an STI 09 and want to use the STI 2012 oem radio which comes with Bluetooth. I mounted it but seems that I'm missing some plugs for it and other one doesn't fit. Is there is any way or any harness that I could buy to use the 2012 STI factory radio (without navigation)

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/30/2015

    John, you'll need an amplifier wiring kit to install that powered sub. For most powered subs, a 10-gauge wiring kit will do the job. I sent your question to our sales team for the best answer. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For more immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • john j richards from lenhartsville pa

    Posted on 4/28/2015

    Do you sell a wiring harness that can be used to connect an amplified sub to factory subaru radio. I bought amplified sub from Crutchfield.