TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
The Subaru Impreza is the latest incarnation of Subaru’s popular small car, and the first model to be built on the new Subaru Global Platform Architecture that will one day underpin all the company’s cars. All Subaru Impreza variants are powered by a 115kW 2.0-litre petrol engine connected to a CVT automatic that drives all four wheels. The 2.0i-L, priced from $24,490, sits directly above the base-model 2.0i in the range with features including EyeSight driver assist systems, an eight-inch touchscreen, a better grade of cloth trim, dual-zone air-conditioning and an upgraded multifunction display.
- The new Impreza’s design, both inside and out, is an improvement over recent models that had evolved to be pretty bland affairs.
- Interior finish is good. While the 2.0i-L doesn’t have a top-spec interior, the fit and finish looks good and has a premium feel about it. The fabric seats are comfortable with good back support – not something you always say about Subaru seats that often feel as though you’re sitting on, rather than in, them.
- There’s more interior space. The longer wheelbase – the distance in between the front and rear wheels -- makes the Impreza of the roomiest cars in its class. An extra 29mm of legroom over the previous model means you’d have to be pretty tall for your knees to touch the front seats. There’s also an extra 20mm of elbow room.
- It has a refined ride. Noise and vibration are noticeably low. There is little engine noise and road din is lower, even at high speeds. Driving around town feels incredibly smooth and the CVT is seamless, though it does scream a little when you give it the stick.
- It handles nicely. This is down to the new platform’s rigidity and revised rear sway bar that both help to contain body roll.
- The 460-litre boot is deep and wide, though the short lid means the opening aperture is a little narrow, making it difficult to get some bulky items in.
- The infotainment system interface is easy to use via the touchscreen even though the first instinct is to try and scroll with the knob on the right side of the unit, which is actually the volume control.
- Safety equipment in the 2.0i-L is quite advanced for a $25,000 small car and includes Subaru’s EyeSight safety suite with active cruise control, auto braking that includes pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
- The transmission tunnel in the middle makes the mid-rear seat somewhat uncomfortable for anyone with legs, apart from small children.
- The Impreza lacks oomph when you put the foot down because of the 2.0-litre engine’s relatively low 196Nm torque rating from high in the rev range.
- There are no rear-seat air vents. These should be standard in all cars in 2017. The big windscreen is great for vision but in an Aussie summer turns into something of a solar heater. While the Impreza’s air-conditioning is effective, it takes rear-seat passengers a little longer to feel it.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER
There’s no shortage of small sedans on the market and this Impreza stacks up well in terms of equipment and performance against similarly priced cars including the Mazda 3 Maxx, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla SX.