The right stuff
2012 is a watershed year for the Impreza lineup. This year, the Impreza and WRX become separate lines. The 2012 Impreza is an all-new car, while the WRX versions retain the older platform for now, before eventually being split apart from the regular Impreza line-up. As a new “platform”, there have been significant changes to the driving feel of the Impreza sedan and five-door hatchback.
Engineers stiffened the chassis, hung an improved suspension under the car, put a new engine in, significantly changed the optional CVT, and improved the interior and seats. A good rhetorical question is “why go to these lengths to improve an already good car”.
Two main reasons exist. Technology improves and the requirements of the class improve at the same time. The biggest reason, though, is that the Subaru engineers take pride in what they do and if you give them a basically blank sheet of paper, they will figure out how to make improvements.
Some of these improvements, such as making the car stronger and lighter do not seem to affect you, but it does do three things; first up is the fact that the car is safer. Second is that a stronger car flexes less so the suspension can be calibrated better. Third on the list is that a lighter car is easier to make handle better and it will get better fuel economy.
Other changes that affect our perception of handling include a new 2.0-litre undersquare flat-4 engine and a 2nd-generation CVT automatic transmission (a 5-speed manual is standard) with improved gear ratios (to better match the torque characteristics of the new 2.0L mill.
Next on the improvements to handling list comes suspension components, brake and tires. Enhancements here require a significant amount of engineering because not only is the component design different, but the suspension geometry is as well. If the engineers have done everything correctly, you will never notice the individual changes because under normal circumstances, the handling of the car will put you at ease.
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