I previously owned a 2013 Subaru BRZ with manual transmission. I owned it for the last three years and loved it. I was quite happy about everything with the stock model and didn't make any modifications. Now, the time has come, and I had to replace my car with something practical for my baby.
I sold my BRZ for $26,000 and didn't want to spend extra money to buy a new car. If I did have to spend more, $2000 was my maximum budget. So, I literally spent the last six months test-driving every compact car in the market within this price range (most of them were a base model or slightly higher spec).
I must admit I didn't expect the same driving dynamics from the BRZ for a new compact (normal) car, but I wasn't ready to dive into a huge body-roll in corners from soft suspension and understeer, plus poor chassis rigidity et cetera...
That's why I didn't like the Toyota Corolla from the first test drive. The Mazda 3 was okay in terms of handling but I had to pay more than $30k (including on-road costs) if I want the infotainment system and Keyless entry et cetera. Honda Civic has a similar story as the model with a new turbo engine starts from around $32,000.
Then, I went to Subaru dealership when I heard that the new Impreza has a brand-new global platform and even base models are well-equipped with what I wanted.
During the test drive, I was very impressed by the massive grip in the rear wheels thanks to Subaru's symmetrical AWD. The new platform makes the strong chassis from the previous model even stronger, which I felt straight away.
The cabin space is more than enough for a family car and the base model (starting from $26,000 including on-road costs) has everything that I wanted, such as keyless entry, Android Auto, electric parking brake, automatic transmission (my partner wants to share my car) and with paddle-shifters.
The only downside is some delay in the power delivery between engine and transmission. Subi's 2.0-litre non-turbo boxer engine is not great (producing just 115kW) but it's okay for everyday use (my BRZ only had 147kW, anyway).
But, the CVT is not very impressive and delays the power delivery to wheels. I drove my manual BRZ for the last three years, so I am trying to understand the nature of CVT but my wife prefers auto and the Impreza has no manual option, so...
Collectively, I reckon 2017 Impreza is a great package for the money because even the base models are extremely well-equipped, and it drives very well in corners.
If your budget is tight and you want a good-handling machine, the 2017 Subaru Impreza will be a perfect match for you.