2012 Subaru Impreza
Date Posted: December 15, 2011
By Zack Spencer
The 2012 Subaru Impreza is has a longer wheelbase, larger interior, new styling and a more efficient engine.
Subaru has a strong following with people who like to take the road less travelled, be it to the wilderness for some adventure in an Outback or to the race track with a high-powered WRX. Subaru knows that they have a unique appeal but in order to become bigger they need become mass appeal, with a bit more style, all the while staying true to the qualities that garners them such a strong following in the resale market. The Impreza is a perfect example of a Subaru car that hasn't been mass appeal, it had a strong list of qualities but it didn't bubble to the top of shopping lists the way the Honda Civic, Mazda3 and Hyundai Elantra do. In order to move the Impreza into the limelight Subaru has put this compact car thought host of changes and now it is ready for the main stage.
Sold as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, the Impreza now features a similar look to the Legacy sedan with more angles and sharper detail that gives the car more curb appeal. Subaru knows that their AWD system and reliability are the major draws to the brand but with this new design, they hope to have an emotional connection. Practicality has not been thrown out in the name of style, this Impreza is a very easy car to use every day. The door openings are very large, especially the back, making entry into the Impreza easier than ever. The cargo area is taller in the hatchback model for easier access and the trunk is ample in the sedan. On the whole the packaging is very good and with a new look, the Subaru Impreza should garner more attention. The WRX with its wide body kit and boy racer looks is not the same market as the Impreza and over time the two will have less in common.
Exterior updates can only take a car so far in this age of endless competition. The interior of the Impreza might have needed more loving that the outside ever did. Gone is the hard, cheap looking plastic pieces in favour of soft touch materials and a more eye friendly design. The dash is lower, as are the side windows making the cabin feel bigger, in fact the new Impreza is slightly wider for more passenger space and the longer wheelbase provides better legroom. The top two targets for this new Impreza were improved fuel economy and better design and on interior, this new model is a big step ahead. With a starting price $1000 less than the outgoing model, at $19,995, the Impreza isn't the cheapest car in the compact class but Subaru feels that their strong resale helps offset the initial upfront costs.
A host of changes continuous underneath the new Impreza. Still utilizing a low mounted horizontally opposed 4-cylinder, Subaru has a low centre of gravity for better handling but larger stabilizer bars and improvements to the suspension make the Impreza a nice balance of comfort and handling. There is an all-new 2.0L engine that has 148hp and more torque than the outgoing, larger motor but this new unit is faster and much more efficient. Adding to the fuel savings story is a body structure that is 50kg lighter than the older car with new low friction brakes and electric power steering. The biggest change is the new continuously variable transmission that cuts fuel usage by 10 percent but still delivers a rewarding drive. For buyers that still like to row their own gears there is still a 5-speed manual.
The question I keep asking myself is why spend more on an Impreza when there are a host of cheaper cars on the market that offer more standard equipment? The basic thrust of the Subaru story always comes back to their all wheel drive system, which is standard on all models. For Canadians that like the added security of AWD, the added expense might be worth it. The strong resale value of many Subaru products is another selling feature, just try and find a good used one. Subaru feels that the improvements to the Impreza bring the advantages of AWD in line with the fuel economy that most people expect from a front wheel drive car. The ease of use, when it comes to loading and unloading the Impreza cannot be oversold; this really is a good package. At just under $20,000 this new car might not be mainstream but it will attract more buyers looking to drive the road less travelled.
The Good, The Bad
The size and shape of the Impreza is very practical.
Bluetooth is not standard at $19,995.
Power: 2.0L 4-cylinder with 148hp
Fill-up: 7.5/5.5 L/100km (city/highway)
Backup: 3 years 60000km
Sticker price: $19,995-$26,795