While some car manufacturers are scaling back their car offerings in favour of crossovers, Subaru recognizes there's a strong appetite for both in Canada, and so its Impreza compact sedan and hatchback return following last year's redesign with the same wide selection of trim levels.
Subaru is keen to point out it has held the line on the Impreza's $19,995 starting price, which the company claims makes this car the country's least-expensive all-wheel drive vehicle.
Meanwhile, we're still keen on this car's new look, which is much more cohesive than its predecessor's and fits well in a compact car segment that has made a notable shift upscale in the last few years.
The Impreza also carries over its 2.0L four-cylinder engine and choice of five-speed manual and continuously variable automatic transmissions. Here's where we wish Subaru would be a little more adventurous: the engine's 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque provide adequate performance, but we'd love to see the Impreza get a small turbo motor to provide the kind of forward progress we get in certain versions of the Honda Civic, for example. As it stands, if you want a small Subaru four-door with any kind of punch to its powertrain, you have to go for the WRX, which is a bridge too far for most compact car buyers.
The automatic is the way to go if fuel economy tops your list of desirable traits: its estimates of 8.3/6.4 L/100 (city/highway) may be mid-pack for the compact class but are quite good considering this is the only proper small, non-luxury-brand car that comes standard with AWD. The five-speed manual makes the Impreza comparatively thirsty with ratings of 10.0/7.5 L/100 km (city/highway); the stickshift's gearing is also such that it generates more engine noise at highway speeds.
All Impreza models get air conditioning, cruise control, LED taillights and an infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration on a 6.5-inch touchscreen.
For around $25,000, the Impreza Sport trim get safety items like LED headlights whose beams bend with the steering, blind spot detection with rear/side vehicle detection, rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist.
And in a Sport-Tech trim exclusive to Canada, you'll get a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation with eight-inch touchscreen and upgraded stereo.
Both Sport and Sport-Tech models can be optioned with Subaru's EyeSight active safety suite.