Subaru has introduced a global platform designed to underpin all new models over the next decade, starting with this 2017 Impreza, the most significant model in Subaru’s small car line-up. The new platform, underpinning Impreza’s revised body and interior, has been designed to carry a variety of model iterations and potential future drivelines. In safety terms it also improves collision energy absorption efficiency 1.4 times over the superseded model.
At this stage Impreza continues with the familiar 2.0-litre naturally aspirated boxer petrol engine and comes with a CVT transmission only. That said, both engine and transmission have benefited from many subtle refinements and upgraded components, resulting in a smoother, more efficient driveline. More importantly, the new frame and body structure provide a significantly stiffer foundation from which improved ride and handling were able to be developed.
Impreza comes in four equipment levels, all available in sedan and hatchback and with the same engine, transmission and, of course, Subaru’s trademark all-wheel-drive. Starting price is $22,400 plus on-road costs for the 2.0i sedan and the range tops out at $29,190 for our test car, the top-spec 2.0i-S hatchback. At each level the hatchback is $200 more than a sedan.
Superior on safety
The entry 2.0i sedan remains an attractive price leader, with seven airbags, rear-view camera and a five-star ANCAP safety rating for the same price as the old model. More advanced safety features, such as Eyesight – Subaru’s forward collision avoidance system – and active cruise control come standard on the mid-spec 2.0i-L from $24,490. The 2.0i-Premium adds sat-nav and sunroof for $26,290, while the 2.0i-S gets vision assistance features – blind-spot, lane-change and rear cross-traffic alerts and steering-responsive headlights – along with more convenience and dress-up features. The introduction of Eyesight on all mid and high-spec models means more than half of all Subarus sold in Australia will now feature this advanced safety technology. The system has been enhanced with longer distance and wider angle recognition and so pre-collision braking now kicks in at up to 50km/h (previously it was 30km/h).
The new cabin, although externally not dissimilar to the old model, sits on a 25mm-longer wheelbase and is lower and wider. In conjunction with detailed reconfiguring of the interior trim, the new Impreza has more front and rear shoulder room and 26mm more rear leg room. Notable is the significant improvement in interior presentation, seat shaping and comfort, particularly in mid and high-end versions. They also get a larger eight-inch touch screen, while all models have the latest connectivity in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Hatchback versions are the more popular, outselling the sedan three to one, principally for their load versatility and now, surprisingly, better rear seat head and leg room. The hatch is the only version rated for towing. All variants carry a space-saver spare wheel.