Subaru’s small car has been completely redesigned with a new look inside and out. The latest Impreza now stands on its own as a more aggressive car sporting design ideas that we previously saw in the Impreza concept.
In addition, the 2012 Subaru Impreza gains the company’s all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder horizontally opposed Boxer engine. The new-generation powerplant delivers 110kW and 196Nm of torque (same as before) but promises significant improvements in fuel economy.
The Japanese company has done away with the outdated four-speed automatic transmission and upgraded its five-speed manual gearbox. All new Imprezas will be available with either a six-speed manual or a Lineartronic CVT (first seen in the MY10 Liberty and Outback) each sporting a different all-wheel drive system.
Currently there are no official fuel economy figures as the Impreza is yet to be tested in Australia but the combination of a new-generation engine and a better ratio manual gearbox or super-efficient CVT will certainly improve on the current Impreza’s 8.9L/100km (manual).
Manual Imprezas are equipped with a continuous AWD system that makes use of a “viscous-coupling locking centre differential” that will see power easily distributed 50/50 front and rear. The system is capable of pushing power to either end at up to 100 percent when needed.
Automatic Imprezas making use of a Lineartronic CVT have a different system called “Active Torque Split AWD” that employs an “electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch” which constantly controls the distribution of power based on driving conditions.
The active torque split can transfer more power to the rear under hard acceleration as well as having the ability to send up to 100 per cent of available torque to the rear when necessary.
Over the last few years Subarus haven’t been widely regarded for their styling elegance, but the new Impreza may indeed be a sign of what’s to come.
Nick Senior, Managing Director, Subaru Australia, recently said about the car,
“New Impreza is the product of an exciting new design direction for Subaru that will be reflected in a whole family of future vehicles.”
We can only hope the new design direction will see Subaru get back to the glory days of muscular designs backed up by its existing sporty driving dynamics.
The most noticeable frontal design feature is the hexagonal honeycomb patterned grille, which has become a common design element in all-new Subaru designs. The rear of both the hatch and sedan models now look more aggressive thanks to sharper edges and cleaner lines. It’s hard to tell from these official pictures but the new Impreza does look pretty sporty in the flesh (check back soon as we bring you real-world photos from the show).
Without a doubt though, the interior is where the most significant improvements have taken place. No longer are hard plastics the norm with Subaru opting out to go for a more European-inspired cabin design. The new Impreza now makes use of soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and centre console armrest.
The 2012 Impreza sits upon a larger wheelbase (2644mm compared with 2621mm), although its exterior dimensions would have you believe otherwise, which has resulted in more interior space.
Rear seat passengers benefit from an extra 50.8mm of legroom (along with bigger rear doors) whilst the A-pillar has moved forward by 200mm allowing for a greater door opening for the driver and passenger. The wing mirrors have increased in size by 23 percent for better visibility.
The top-of-door interior trim is 60mm lower than before whilst front and rear hip points are 10mm and 20mm higher, respectively.
Subaru has changed the instrument cluster to sit flatter for better visibility while the onboard computer now displays more information about the vehicle, giving access to a wider range of data.
Apart from the interior improvements the new Impreza has also been hit with the practicality stick, now providing a completely flat load floor when the standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks are folded (hatch). The sedan’s boot functionality is enhanced with support arms - reshaped and enclosed within the boot interior trim. Both variants now come with a telescopic steering wheel.
The stereo system is capable of reading not only USB but also support Bluetooth audio streaming (Australian specifications have not been confirmed so these features may or may not come on the very base model).
Some notable features include the infotainment technology unit which incorporates USB, iPod and Bluetooth support all-in-one, pumping out music through a six-speaker system.
High-spec Imprezas come with leather trim, climate control air conditioning, upgraded instrumentation and fog lights. A sunroof and factory-fitted satellite navigation can be purchased as options on premium variants.
Mr Senior believes the new Impreza will be the best handling small car on the market, stating
“There’s been a huge amount of work on handling and ride, and I believe dynamically, it will be the best small car on the market.”
This is hard to dispute given the current model’s AWD system already sets its apart from its FWD rivals.
The new Impreza benefits from a range of ride and handling enhancements such as strengthened front and rear suspension components, new liquid (hydraulic) engine mounts plus strengthened components and pillow-ball bushings for the rear suspension.
Premium models also get unique rebound springs in the front dampers and a rear stabiliser bar as well as paddle shifters on CVT variants.
Check back soon for more details on the new Impreza as we ask Subaru executives in New York about the vehicle’s expected launch date in Australia, the turbo-charging of the new boxer engine for the WRX variant and a whole lot more.
Update: U.S. Spec Impreza CVT delivers 36 mpg for the highway cycle (6.5L/100km) and 27 mpg for city cycle (8.7L/100km). These are not official figures for Australian delivered vehicles due to the difference in specification as well as test cycle.
U.S. 2012 Subaru Impreza Specifications (please note these may differ to Australian delivered vehicles. Australian-spec Imprezas will have a six-speed manual not five as listed below)
|Type||4-cyl., horizontally opposed (Boxer), alloy cylinder block and cylinder heads|
|Bore x stroke||3.31 in x 3.54 in.|
|Horsepower||148 @ 6,200 rpm|
|Torque||145 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm|
|Fuel system||Sequential multi-port fuel injection, electronic throttle control|
|Valvetrain||Double overhead camshafts (DOHC), 4 valves per cylinder, dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS) controls valve timing on intake and exhaust camshafts|
|Standard||5-speed manual with Incline Start Assist|
|Optional||Lineartronic™ CVT (continuously variable transmission); optional for Premium and standard for Limited models feature driver-selectable 6-speed manual shift mode and steering wheel shift paddles|
|Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive||Standard on all models|
|M/T AWD system||Continuous All-Wheel Drive with viscous-coupling locking center differential|
|CVT AWD system||Active All-Wheel Drive with electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch|
|Stability/traction control||Vehicle Dynamics Control with all-wheel, all-speed traction control|
|Chassis||Unitized body construction, Ring Shaped Frame Reinforcement safety structure|
|Front||MacPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar|
|Rear||Double wishbone, coil springs; Premium and Limited models add stabilizer bar|
|Brakes||Power-assisted 4-wheel disc with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS and Brake Assist|
|Steering||Rack-and-pinion with electric power assist|
|Wheels||2.0i base: 15x6-in steel with full wheel coversPremium: 16 x 6.5 aluminum alloySport and Limited and opt. for Premium: 17 x 7 aluminum alloy|
|Tires||2.0i base: 195/65R15Premium: 205/55R16Sport and Limited and opt. for Premium: 205/50R17|
|Exterior Dimensions (in.)|
|Curb weight (lbs.)||2.0i base 4-door 5 speed manual: 2,911|
|2.0i base 5-door 5-speed manual: 2,911|
|Interior Dimensions (in.)|
|Hip room (f/r)||53.2/52.2|
|Shoulder room (f/r)||55.6/54.2|
|EPA interior volume(cu. ft.)||4-door: 96.4 (with moonroof: 92.8)5-door: 97.1 (with moonroof: 93.4)|
|EPA trunk volume, 4-door||12.0cu. ft.|
|Cargo volume, 5-door||Rear seats up: 22.4 cu. ft.|
|Rear seats down: 49.7 cu. ft.|
|Fuel economy, mpg|
|EPA city/highway, 5-speed||25/34|
|EPA city/highway, CVT||27/36|
Specifications are preliminary and subject to change.