Winter's Latest Nemesis
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It has already snowed in Vancouver this year, so regardless of the weatherman’s lament, winter has arrived in Canada and so has winter’s latest nemesis, the all-new 2012 Subaru Impreza.
All-wheel-drive value leader
Before delving deeper into Subaru’s latest offering, I think it’s important to set the stage by declaring that the new Impreza is Canada’s least expensive all-wheel drive vehicle. With a starting MSRP of $19,995 for the 4-door sedan variant, Subaru is sending winter packing with arguably the best and least costly passenger-car AWD system in the biz.
Subaru’s setup isn’t one of the reactionary types, which redirect power from the front wheels to the rear when slippage is detected. Rather it’s a proactive, fully-engaged system that Subaru refers to as a symmetrical full-time AWD.
I have off-road tested this technology in the past and found it quite remarkable, and well beyond the “slip and grip” variety that is most often found in the entry-level AWD segment. Not only are the benefits of Subaru’s system derived off-road and in ice and snow, they deliver on clear pavement as well.
Traction at all four corners enhances cornering stability and handling dynamics. This can be most helpful when pulling into fast moving traffic on rain-soaked roads. During my recent Impreza test drive, I did exactly that while knowing that I wouldn’t lose momentum due to wheel spin.
I’m sure that we’ve all experienced the disconcerting “whizzz” of spinning front or rear tires on slick pavement as traffic is bearing down. That propensity is so “yesterday” with Subaru’s symmetrical AWD setup. But the new Impreza has much more to offer than sticky traction.
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