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2015 Subaru Impreza First Impression

The baby Scooby grows up By ,

More than a mid-cycle refresh, the 2015 Impreza has been given a comprehensive once-over by Subaru.

Indeed, with 8,052 Imprezas sold in Canada last year, the compact sedan/hatch segment is an important nut to crack for Subaru, considering it’s one that’s getting evermore competitive year by year.

2015 Subaru Impreza Price & Specs
Yes, there are detractors out there who maintain a front-wheel drive car with proper snow tires is all you need. While that may be true, AWD still speaks volumes to consumers in Canada. Six available trims (in either sedan or 5-door hatch body styles) come equipped with the automatic transmission, and four with the manual. An auto will cost an additional $1,300.

A fully loaded Limited with Technology Package, meanwhile, comes in at less than 30 grand.

The Tech Package gets you Subaru EyeSight safety, available for the first time in an Impreza. It provides lane departure warning, distance cruise control, active collision brake control (the brakes are automatically applied if the system senses the driver is too distracted to do so) and will also warn the driver if it senses fatigue. The cameras -- mounted behind the rearview mirror -- have been reduced for more headroom and better outward visibility.

Finally, 2015 sees PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) tech made available at every trim level; Subaru claims it burns 90% cleaner than what EnviroCan requires.

Inside & Out of the 2015 Subaru Impreza
Part of said once-over is an updated front fascia. It’s not a huge adjustment, but the squaring-off of the grille corners, new two-tone inner headlamp lenses and new foglight surrounds (with new hockey stick-like chrome accents) contribute to a more aggressive, almost WRX-like look. 

To further the image of “WRX-lite,” that car’s larger wing mirrors commenced active duty on the Impreza. Three new rim choices (one 16”, two 17” styles) help complete the evolution. 

Interior styling is equally evolutionary; there are some new chrome accents, aluminum pedals, and that’s about it. However, 2015 does see the addition of two new infotainment set-ups. A 6.2” touchscreen comes standard, with Limited versions getting a 7” jobby. You can pinch and swipe the latter iPad-style to your heart’s content. You also get a new 3.5” full-colour display (trip computer, navi, etc.) between the gauges if you spec the Limited. 

The displays are clear and the buttons nicely sized; most functions should need little more than a cursory glance to access. The screens sit so flush with the frame of the centre stack, however, it causes a lot of glare in certain situations. 

Driving the 2015 Subaru Impreza
Power from the 2.0L BOXER four is rated at 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, fed through either a 5-speed manual or Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). A few improvements have been made to reduce internal friction and whatnot, but the most tangible addition is how they’ve changed the virtual shift “mapping” in the CVT.

Being a CVT there are no actual gears, but Subaru is convinced drivers like the way you can detect gear changes. So, you can still feel the “gear changes,” especially when you’re really pushing it. When you’re moving at slower speeds, however, they’re imperceptible. 

Adding to the drive comfort is just how quiet it is inside the cabin. Sound-deadening materials were added to the wheelwells, floorpan and roof side rails, and both the front window and windshield glass were thickened. You’ll have no problem carrying on a conversation in here.

While it may look more like a WRX, don’t expect WRX-like performance. They’ve changed the damper rates and materials used for the suspension coils for a firmer set-up, but this remains a car better suited for comfortable cruising rather than an all-out tarmac attack. It also feels a little wheezy on hard acceleration, where the more fuel-efficient CVT doesn’t really do it any favours. 

Still, though; there’s a reason the WRX exists, and that’s so the Impreza doesn’t have to master driving dynamics and passenger comfort all at once. Thanks to the standard AWD and PZEV rating, and rich feature set at base, this remains an immensely capable everyday car. 

Comparing the 2015 Subaru Impreza
The Impreza’s $19,995 base MSRP places it in the upper echelon of the segment (the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda3 all start at less), which may raise a few red flags for buyers. Consider this, however: There is no other compact in North America -- not a single one -- that comes standard with all-wheel drive. 

It doesn’t stop there, either. In addition to the standard 6.2” touchscreen display (no navigation unless you specify the $26,895 Limited Package), you get a rear-view camera and Sirius satellite radio. That’s equipment that none of those three aforementioned competitors can offer in base trim.
    

 

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    2015 Subaru Impreza
    subaru impreza 2015
    2015 Subaru Impreza
    Review this Vehicle
    Styling
    Accessories
    Space and Access
    Comfort
    Performance
    Driving Dynamics
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    General Appreciation
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