Canadians looking for an affordable small car with all-wheel drive have long turned to the Subaru Impreza.
For 2017, the popular compact has been completely overhauled. It rides on a brand new platform that’s 70 percent stiffer than before, and sports sleek new styling with available LED headlights. Overall, the new Impreza is slightly longer and wider than before, but also lower to the ground. The overall effect is perhaps the most attractive Impreza to date – and a far cry from the bug-eyed models of the 2000s.
Offered in Sedan and Hatchback body styles, the new Impreza has revamped steering, suspension, and brakes that aim to make it more engaging to drive. For the first time, torque vectoring will be offered on certain trims for more neutral handling characteristics.
Safety, long a Subaru strength, continues to be a priority for Subaru. In addition to its stronger structure, the compact can be equipped with active high beams, automatic reverse braking, rear-cross traffic alert, and adaptive headlamps. Many of these features are optional but included with the EyeSight suite of active-safety features that includes radar cruise control and emergency autonomous braking.
Inside, the Impreza’s cabin maintains a functional, simple-to-use appearance, but features improved materials, additional sound insulation, and more features. Premium equipment such as a heated steering wheel and an eight-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system are available, while contrast stitched seats and interior trim provide a more upscale atmosphere. Subaru’s new-generation infotainment system is standard and includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Bluetooth and USB ports are also included. A larger 8.0-inch version of the system with Tom Tom navigation is also available.
As before, the Impreza is powered by a 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine that develops 152 horsepower, which is an improvement of four hp. Torque remains level at 145 lb-ft. A five-speed manual is standard, while a CVT transmission is optional (standard when the vehicle is equipped with the EyeSight). Subaru has also improved the CVT transmission with a new manual mode that has seven pre-defined ratios that drivers can "shift" between through paddles.
The Impreza is offered in Sedan and Hatchback body styles in Convenience, Touring, Sport, and Sport-tech trims; Sport and Sport-tech trims can be equipped with the optional Technology Package which adds EyeSight and other active safety features. The WRX, WRX STI, and Crosstrek models will eventually move to this new platform, but for the time being, they carry over unchanged.
Despite the additions and new design, Subaru hasn't shifted pricing by much; in fact, it's still possible to buy an Impreza for less than $20,000. Pricing for the base Sedan with Convenience Package starts at $19,995 and tops out at $30,095 with the Sport-tech package and CVT. The Hatchback starts at $20,895 with the Sport-tech with Technology Package selling for $30,995.