Drive – Subaru Impreza Review

6 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Subaru Impreza Review

Toby Hagon

Make Subaru Model Impreza 2.0i Price $23,990 plus on-road costs Engine Size 2.0-litre 4-cyl Country Of Origin Japan Emissions 164g/km (man), 157g/km (auto) Fuel Consumption 7.1L/100km (man), 6.8L/100km (auto) Kerb Weight 1345kg (man), 1385kg (auto) Power 110kW at 6200rpm Safety Equipment 7 airbags; stability control Torque 196Nm at 4200rpm Transmission/Driven Wheels 6-speed manual or CVT auto, 4WD

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Mention Subaru Impreza and the hot-shot WRX is what many people relate with the brand. But the most affordable Subaru is also the company’s entrant in the hot-selling – and fast-growing – small-car class.

Caught in the crossfire of a sales surge in which other big players have outsold the Subaru, the Impreza has been reloaded in the form of an all-new car that is better prepared for an increasingly heated battle.

Sticking to a familiar formula, Impreza generation four brings a new engine and fresh styling inside and out. As before, it’s still available as a sedan and a hatch.

Price and equipment

Subaru isn’t playing in the basement end of the small-car market, instead diving straight to the second tier with pricing that starts at $23,990 plus on-road and dealer costs. For that you get automatic airconditioning, cruise control, trip computer, USB input and DataDots, a theft deterrent. The standard single-CD sound system is nothing special, though.

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There are seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and driver’s knee) and stability control, which contribute to a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

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For another $3000 the 2.0i-L adds things such as alloy wheels, dual-zone controls for the aircon, reversing camera, foglights and a better central display.

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The flagship 2.0i-S adds a body kit and other styling tweaks, unique trim and things such as alloy pedals. The auto transmission that’s a $2500 option on other models is included in the S’s $31,490 price.

Under the bonnet

With the new body comes a new engine, but it’s the same capacity and layout – the trademark boxer, with pairs of cylinders facing each other – as the previous model. The 2.0-litre delivers a class-average 110kW of power, with torque peaking at 196Nm.

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That torque limit arrives at 4200rpm, though, and it’s not brilliantly endowed with flexibility at 2000 or 3000rpm, which is where the engine will spend most of its time. The result can be a lethargic feel at lower revs if you leave the manual in a taller gear. Even when calling on higher revs there’s a reluctance that takes the edge off the performance.

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Combined with a notchy six-speed manual, it makes for a less-than-pleasant around-town experience. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) auto does a better job, jumping from a standstill more enthusiastically and helping make the most of the engine.

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The start-stop system works OK, refiring quickly, although there’s a mild dimming of the headlights on start-up. It helps keep fuel use down to decent levels, with consumption of about nine litres per 100 kilometres achievable around town (the claimed average is 7.1L/100km for the manual and 6.8L/100km for the auto).

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As with all Subarus (for now, at least) it drives all four wheels, which can reduce the chance of wheelspin, although it has to be a very slippery road for any meaningful benefit.

How it drives

The Impreza instantly asserts itself as a competent tourer, with light yet predictable steering. There’s a reassuring feel through corners and grip is respectable.

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More impressive is the refinement, with the Impreza doing a decent job of shielding occupants from road and wind noise; it’s a comfortable cabin to travel in and is hushed at speed.

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The ride, too, is respectably compliant and well controlled, settling well from big bumps, although the rear suspension can reach its limit over a decent bump.

Comfort and practicality

The Impreza it replaces was off the pace when it came to interior presentation, with hard plastics presented in uninspiring greys.

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No surprises, then, that Subaru injected a fair bit of time into spicing up things inside. The new look is certainly more appealing, with darker tones giving it a more upmarket flavour. Finely striped and textured finishes on the centre console are a nice touch, too, partially masking the harder plastics in other areas.

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Disappointingly, though, are the digital displays, which lack the panache of some rivals, and at night one of the central displays has to be dimmed separately to the main instruments.

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Getting comfortable is easy, too, although taller drivers may wish for another centimetre or two of seat travel. Big mirrors help with above-average vision, though. Rear space is generous by small-car standards, particularly with headroom.

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The boot of the hatch is less impressive, although good enough for the family gear, and it’s helped by a split-fold function. The retractable luggage cover, though, doesn’t automatically slide away when you open the hatch, so it can be fiddly to use.

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