Winter's Latest Nemesis
New exterior styling and upscale cabin
Whether it’s the 4-door sedan or the 5-door hatchback, Subaru has taken their value-leading Impreza upscale in its latest rendition. From the exterior, the vehicle exhibits more conventionality that is expected to appeal to a broader market range.
While remaining the same size – both in 4-door and 5-door variants – the new-generation Impreza gains more real estate between the front and rear wheels, resulting in greater interior room. Seating has been raised slightly and the side glass has been increased in size, the net effect of which is better external visibility.
Overall, the exterior design works well and should help gain mass appeal. More significant though in my view is the new cabin, which has largely shed its “low-rent” environs – and that has greatly elevated the Impreza’s desirability.
Occupants will undoubtedly appreciate the higher quality materials in use and the straightforward functionality of the cabin architecture and layout.
Steering wheel-mounted controls, shift paddles and bright trim work serve to diminish any sense of the Impreza’s “entry-level” existence. This notion is reinforced by the refined operation of the new Impreza.
Revised drivetrain is smooth and efficient
The 2012 Subaru Impreza is powered by a 148-hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine. This thrifty powerplant is rated at 5.5L/100km and 7.5L/100km, city and highway driving respectively, and that’s darn impressive for a vehicle equipped with a full-time AWD system.
A new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) functions remarkably well. These units have come a long way since their introduction, and there’s no better example of that than Subaru’s Lineartronic version. The Impreza’s shift paddles allow the CVT to mimic a 6-speed autobox when shifting up and down. I found the paddles highly effective for introducing engine braking when descending long grades.
For true gearheads, a 5-speed manual stick is available; it should be noted, though, that fuel economy will drop slightly with the manual gearbox.
Regardless of transmission, drivers have a lot to appreciate behind the wheel; however, raw power isn’t one of them. This vehicle takes nearly 10 seconds to hit 100 km/h from a stop. That’s not great, but I doubt many drivers will notice or mind. Despite its modest power output, the 2012 Impreza feels spry enough and suitably lively in most driving scenarios.
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