The new-look Subaru small car models are built off a brand-new architecture – the Subaru Global Platform – which means both the sedan and hatchback are bigger than their predecessors.
Indeed, the Impreza sedan measures 4.63 metres long, 1.78m wide and 1.45m tall and it rides on a longer 2.67m wheelbase, where its predecessor measured 4.58m long and rode on a 2.64m wheelbase. The company says both the sedan and hatch are about 4cm wider, and each ride 1cm lower to improve aerodynamics. They look even lower, though, thanks to the Sport body kit on the vehicles on display at the show.
The brand claims the new architecture is “designed to deliver significantly higher levels of driving pleasure, agility, crash protection and ride comfort” and “will underpin a variety of upcoming Subaru vehicles, including hybrids”.
As is Subaru’s way, the new models are both all-wheel drive, while power comes from revised a 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘boxer’ horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine producing a little more grunt the model that came before it, with 114kW compared with 110kW of the old model. Expect torque to jump from 196Nm to somewhere around 200Nm, too.
According to the preliminary specifications, there will be no manual transmission version offered. Instead, the Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) will be offered as standard. Fuel use is yet to be announced.
As a means of bridging the gap between the new-generation Impreza and the existing WRX models, there will be a new Sport model added to the range with 18-inch wheels, sports suspension and a torque-vectoring system to help pull it through corners.
The lower centre of gravity and a revised suspension setup with a rear stabiliser mounted to the body is said to reduce body roll by 50 per cent.
Inside, the new-look Impreza isn’t quite as big of a shift as some may have expected. It is quite austere, but the new 8.0-inch media unit certainly looks a bit better integrated into the cabin. It has the requisite Apple CarPlay and Android Auto tech, too.
The seating position is a little lower in the cabin in the Sport model, too, and that variant – in the US, at least – has items such as aluminium pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear surround boot, and a harman/kardon stereo system.
As for safety, the brand’s EyeSight camera system with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning and autonomous braking will be offered – a first for the Impreza line. There are other items available, too, including lane departure and sway warning, and lane-keeping assistance, not to mention blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, and an automatic braking system for the rear-view camera that will stop if an object is detected while backing up.
New headlights with cornering beams and auto high-beam lights are also available.
The new-generation Subaru Impreza is due to arrive in Australia around the end of 2016. Stay tuned for full pricing and specification details as it is announced.