It won’t be the cheapest small car on the block, but if you’re after a quiet, spacious car with good dynamics, keep an eye on the Subaru Impreza in 2012.
The all-new Subaru Impreza has taken significant steps forward in efficiency, quality and overall refinement.
The new Impreza uses 6.8-7.1 litres/100km on the combined cycle – a significant improvement over the previous model’s 8.8-8.9 litres/100km efforts, and one that brings it much closer to the economy leaders in the small-car class.
On sale in Australia from March will be three grades: the entry-level Impreza 2.0i, the luxury-appointed Impreza 2.0i-L, and the sports-oriented Impreza 2.0i-S. The new names replace R, RX and RS and come into line with Subaru’s international naming structure.
The outgoing range was priced between $23,490 and $30,490 before on-road costs, giving us an indication of what to expect when the new model arrives.
Every model in the 2012 Subaru Impreza range will be equipped with seven airbags and the rest of the expected safety kit, as well as cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, USB and AUX media ports, and automatic air conditioning. Subaru Australia also expects all models equipped with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) to feature steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (official confirmation still pending).
The 2.0i-S tops the range with HID xenon headlights, leather upholstery, eight-way power driver’s seat, and alloy pedals. Satellite navigation with SMS voice-to-text and voice command will be available as an option on the two higher-spec models.
One thing we can tell you all about is the new engine, as we were invited to put the Impreza through its paces (be it briefly and under restrictive conditions) at Fuji Heavy Industries’ private test facility in Japan.
Despite producing identical power and torque figures to the old engine (110kW/196Nm), the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is a completely new powerplant. The horizontally opposed FB Boxer engine integrates lightweight components, a longer stroke and Subaru’s Dual Active Valve Control System, which all translates to improved efficiency and more low- and mid-range torque.
The engine itself still has the rumbly start-up and metallic whirr that is characteristic of Boxer units, although it is considerably quieter and more refined than the engine it replaces.
The CVT’s paddle shifters allow you to flick between six pre-determined ‘gears’. While the system responds quickly and accurately, it doesn’t really add a lot to the overall driving experience.
Sound intrusion into the cabin is mostly muted at all speeds, with the loudest noise coming from the tyres. It’s a big step forward in refinement from the old model, and arguably puts the Impreza right up there with the quietest small cars.
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