2012 Subaru Impreza Review | Globe and Mail

2012 Subaru Impreza Review
2012 Subaru Impreza Review
By Shaun Keenan, Toronto Sun
New Impreza offers more confidence
“SOOKE, B.C. – The compact car segment is the most important in Canada. Sales account for roughly 23% of the market with little variation in volumes year over year. Since launching the first generation Impreza here in 1992, Subaru Canada has managed to increase its share of the market to just 1.6%.”
The second generation Impreza is still popular amongst enthusiasts ? who laud the robust Subaru boxer engine, full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive and excellent year-round performance.
In 2006, the third generation Impreza launched with an emphasis on pleasing the North American mass market, watered down with a smaller engine and CVT. Were it not for the great-looking five-door model and the WRX and STI models, many Sube loyalists would’ve been lost on the regular Impreza’s vanilla-ized exterior and decreased performance.
Several “top safety pick” and “residual value” awards later and the plan seems to be working though.
The all-new 2012 Subaru Impreza has been designed with a greater emphasis on the needs and wants of North Americans, but it’s much better than the last version and should help Subaru Canada reach its goals of attaining two percent of the compact market and increasing sales volumes to 33,000 by 2013.
The WRX model is not present, however. Having been refreshed just last year, it and the top-performance WRX STI, carries over for Model Year 2012.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza is powered by an all-new two-litre boxer that makes 148 hp and 145 lb.-ft. of torque. It mates with Subaru’s second-gen Lineartronic continuously-variable transmission, which is smaller lighter and quieter thanks to a short pitch chain, and 10% more efficient than its predecessor.
In fact, improving fuel economy was a major consideration for the generation, so the engine features a metal timing chain, dual overhead cams (previously SOHC) and cooled exhaust gas recirculation system to net another eight percent.
The new sedan’s outward appearance is more refined and interesting vis à vis updates to the grille and new hawk-eye headlamps. Aerodynamics are improved (nearly eight percent on the sedan, but only 4.5 on the five-door) thanks to a less steep windshield and low rolling resistance Yokahama tires that help out fuel economy another eight points. A new electric power steering system (debuting on the new Impreza) brings the gross improvement in fuel economy to 30%.
A five-speed manual tranny is available; however, it has a lower rated fuel economy than CVT models, which claims 7.5/5.5 (city/hwy). After some 100 klicks around the twisty, undulating roads of Vancouver Island in each car, the available 4.3-inch colour multi-function displays atop the centre stack read 8.8 L/100km.
The gas tank has shrunk from 64 to 55 litres and the whole car is 50 kg (110 lbs) lighter, meaning Subaru’s 9.8-second zero-to-60 mph time is three-tenths quicker than the previous model.
The new Impreza is vastly improved in almost every area. The interior is no exception; it features more soft-touch surfaces, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel with redundant controls, tilting head rests to accommodate pony tails and plenty more.
The anti-whiplash seats (cloth in the Sport five-door, leather for Limited sedan) are comfortable and there’s noticeably more rear legroom in the hatchback (a MY11 hatch was on hand for comparison) as the body is longer and wider by 25 mm.
Thinner A-pillars, raised seating position, bigger windows and side mirrors translate to better visibility for the driver; while all occupants enjoy more interior space thanks to the longer wheelbase and larger greenhouse. Both the front and rear door openings are larger, making it easy to get in and out, whilst cargo capacity grows 30 litres (to 340L) in the sedan. Five-doors grow from 569L to 1,407 with the 60/40 rear seats folded down flat.
The devastating Japanese disasters caused major delays in production of the new Impreza, which is set to commence in September with base, Touring, Sport and Limited trims all arriving in dealerships by fall 2011.
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