The New Year is shaping as a philosophical watershed for Subaru Australia as it launches its first non-all-wheel-drive car in more than 15 years. The car responsible – the rear-wheel drive BRZ sports coupe – is unlikely to damage the brand’s reputation for building great-handling, engaging and safe cars, however, and should assist the WRX and STI models in Subaru’s sports cars division as they soldier on without a significant update for at least another 18 months. While the BRZ will only be a niche offering, the most important launch for Subaru Australia in 2012 is that of its volume-selling small car, the Impreza. The ever-popular Forester is in line for a complete overhaul in 2013.
Vehicle type: Medium car. Timing: January
The 2012 Model Year update announced in mid-December will flow through to dealerships throughout January. The base model 2.5i is the big winner, scoring a reversing camera, 4.3-inch LCD screen, USB input, leather upholstery, eight-way electric driver’s seat, rear air vent and a full-size alloy spare wheel, for no extra cost. At the other end of the Liberty line-up, the 3.6R Premium gets Subaru’s Eyesight safety system, which incorporates automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and more.
Click to read more about the 2012 Subaru Liberty.
Vehicle type: Medium car. Timing: Q1
The 2012 Subaru Outback gets a similar raft of upgrades to the Liberty. Satellite navigation, a reversing camera, USB connectivity, and a full-size alloy spare wheel are now standard across the range, while the top-spec Outback 3.6R Premium benefits from Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology. Prices are unchanged from before, with the 2.5i manual starting at $37,490 and the 3.6R Premium topping the range at $57,490.
Click to read more about the 2012 Subaru Outback.
Vehicle type: Compact SUV. Timing: January
The XV officially breaks away from the Impreza family in 2012, although the new compact SUV still shares its major components with Subaru’s small car. The 110kW/196Nm 2.0-litre boxer engine, six-speed manual and continuously variable transmissions and basic styling elements carry over from the Impreza hatch. Differentiating the XV is its 75mm-higher ground clearance, plastic cladding around the wheel arches and lower panels and chunky black/silver alloy wheels. The XV will also come with more standard features than the Impreza, with a 4.3-inch colour display screen and reversing camera fitted to all models. Prices should start below $30,000, giving the XV an advantage over all-wheel drive variants of the Nissan Dualis, Mitsubishi ASX and Hyundai ix35.
Click to read more about the 2012 Subaru XV.
Vehicle type: Small car. Timing: March
The fourth-generation Impreza sedan and hatch take significant steps forward in efficiency, quality and overall refinement. The new model will become the first mainstream small car to come with stop/start engine technology, promising competitive official fuel figures of 6.8-7.1 litres per 100km. There’s still no diesel (or plans for one), which means the new 2.0-litre 110kW/196Nm four-cylinder boxer engine remains the only option. It will be teamed with a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT) and comes in three trim levels: 2.0i, 2.0i-L and 2.0i-S. Standard features include seven airbags, cruise control, climate control and full Bluetooth connectivity. Prices should start below $24,000 and top out in the low-$30,000s.
Click to read more about the 2012 Subaru Impreza.
Vehicle type: Sports car. Timing: May
The highly anticipated sports coupe co-developed with Toyota will become the first rear-wheel drive vehicle in Subaru Australia’s range in more than 15 years. Like its Toyota 86 twin, the BRZ is powered by a rev-happy 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct-injection boxer engine with 147kW of power (at 7000rpm) and 205Nm of torque (at 6600rpm). While its estimated seven-second 0-100km/h sprint may be a little underwhelming, its compact dimensions, low weight and low centre of gravity promise to make it treat around corners. The 86 is expected to lob with a $35,000-$40,000 price tag when it goes on sale locally in mid-2012. The BRZ will likely come with a small price premium over the Toyota.
Click to read more about the 2012 Subaru BRZ.