Having owned my Impreza for a little over a year now and racking up 42,000km, I don't have any regrets in my purchase. I traded in my 2010 V6 Mitsubishi Outlander that was heavy on fuel and had various problems. I stumbled across the Impreza on the lot of the dealership and had heard great things about the safety of its cars. (Fire-fighters have to use a different cutting method on a Subaru after an accident due to the strength of its B-pillar.)
I was never really interested in the Impreza until this redesigned model. The 2.0i-S hatch has the aggressive C-shaped daytime running lamps that include LED headlights with steering response that really highlight the front of the car.
The good looks continue down the side of the car with 18-inch alloy wheels with subtle black accent spokes, side skirts and chrome door handles that look great against the dark-grey metallic paint. The rear 'bookshelf' tail-lights took a bit to get used to, but I eventually fell in love with them. They are different to most hatchbacks and really suit the car.
While the engine isn't anything amazing performance-wise, it's certainly not under-powered, and quite fuel-efficient averaging 7L/100km and getting almost 600km to a tank every time. The engine and transmission are adequate when needing a quick overtake or to get ahead of the traffic. Subaru's CVT is one of the smoothest transmissions I have ever driven (they don't use the fake 'gears' that most manufacturers do). There’s a bit of noise when giving it a boot, though.
Moving into the interior, you can sense the premium Subaru feel coming through with a lot of soft-touch materials, black carbon fibre and chrome highlights throughout. And while it comes with a sunroof, a panoramic one would make the cabin feel a little more spacious. The NVH levels, which have previously been a sore point for most Subaru owners, have been addressed in the new models, with only a little bit of tyre roar on coarse-chip roads and almost no wind noise.
This new model is slightly wider and longer than previous versions, and can comfortably fit me at 6ft tall in the front and rear seats with plenty of leg and head room – surprising for a hatch.
The infotainment is big, clear, and easy to use with a decent voice-recognition system (that controls the air-conditioning and the awesome built-in navigation). It also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Although, there have been significant teething problems with it that have resulted in a few trips back to the dealership to get updates. All reports I've heard say the new models come with the updates already applied.
After driving with the Gen3 EyeSight safety equipment (AEB, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning etc), I would not buy another car without it. It's much less taxing on you when driving and really shines in stop-go highway traffic, bringing the car to a complete stop and holding the car stationary without driver input. When you’re ready to move, push the cruise-control switch up or tap the accelerator and the car will move off and begin following the traffic again. The automatic emergency braking has saved my butt once already.
In addition to the EyeSight system, this model comes with Subaru’s Vision Assist suite, including blind-spot monitoring (with a much better warning light on the inside of the mirror), rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist, which is an earlier warning if a vehicle in the adjacent lane is approaching quickly.
The servicing costs are a little expensive, but you don’t need to go genuine Subaru to retain your warranty and can save a few dollars going elsewhere. They’re required every 12,500km or 12 months. Subaru also offers a standard three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which was a big seller for me.
Overall, I am highly satisfied with this car and really enjoy driving it. I recommend adding it to your short-list and taking it for a test drive.