Subaru have packed a lot of spec into the well-priced Impreza package, reports Damien O’Carroll
Ever since Subaru released the Impreza-based XV “SUV” (let’s be honest, it’s really just a jacked up Impreza hatch with some plastic body cladding…) the Impreza itself has quietly dropped in and out of the local market due to the popularity of its more flashy sibling.
But now the tables have turned with the release of an all-new Impreza, but mainly just because there isn’t an XV version out yet.
But there is another interesting wrinkle in this new Impreza, and that is its price.
Subaru have managed to keep the price of the new Impreza to a rather remarkable $29,990. And they haven’t done it by scrimping on equipment either, as the Impreza comes absolutely packed with standard equipment, including Subaru’s brilliant EyeSight driver assist system (that includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, brake light recognition, lane departure warning and pre-collision throttle management and steering assist), 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and push-button start, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, rear privacy glass, front fog lights and DRLs, dual zone climate control, seven airbags and much more. And, of course, being a Subaru, all-wheel-drive.
On the outside, Subaru hasn’t been too adventurous with the Impreza, but it is conservatively handsome, yet still distinctively a Subaru. The alloy wheels, however, do look fantastic.
The best news is on the inside, where the new Impreza has an extremely modern and attractive interior, finally made from the high quality materials the Impreza has deserved. The touchscreen infotainment system is thoroughly excellent and the phone mirroring integration (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) is very well done indeed.
While the seats are fantastically comfortable, they are also a bit too wide and unsupportive. Still, this doesn’t stop the interior off the Impreza from being a wonderfully comfortable and modern place, although the fact that the start/stop button is inconveniently hidden behind steering wheel is a constant irritation…
Out on the road, the 115kW/196Nm 2.0-litre boxer engine is a brilliantly smooth and torquey unit, with a nicely satisfying amount of grunt and there is even a small but pleasing amount of boxer burble from the exhaust.
On the downside, however, is the fact that the Impreza doesn’t seem to be quite as economical as it should be. Subaru claim a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.6L/100km, but we saw nowhere near those numbers during our week with the Impreza, with it hovering around the nine-litre mark instead.
Some of the blame for this should probably go towards the continuously variable transmission, which is not as good as Subaru’s previous efforts, with noticeable flaring and a tendency to run to the redline and sit there.
This small niggle aside, the Impreza is still superbly comfortable and also a remarkably confident handler. The AWD system is brilliant and confidence-inspiring, while the steering is sharp and responsive, with a nice amount of feel and feedback.
For the money Subaru are asking for the Impreza and the high levels of equipment and quality on offer, it is a truly compelling and utterly convincing package that makes the rest of the segment look a little under-equipped in comparison.
Body type 5 door hatch
Engine type Horizontillay-opposed four-cylinder petrol
Engine capacity 1995cc
Max power 115kW @ 6000rpm
Max torque 196Nm @ 4000rpm
Fuel consumption 6.6L/100km
C02 emissions 152
Front suspension MacPherson strut
Rear suspension Double wishbone
Roof rack No
ABS brakes Yes
Air bags 7
Stability programme Yes
Air conditioning Dual zone climate
Lap/diagonal belts 5
Satellite navigation No
Electric seats No
Burglar alarm No
Boot release No
Cargo cover Yes
Boot capacity 345 litres
Wheel type 17-inch alloy
Spare tyre Space saver
ANCAP rating Not tested yet