Thursday , August 17 2017
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TECH: 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i-S

In a nutshell: The new Subaru Impreza is a huge step ahead of its predecessor in every way, from interior quality and connectivity to ride and handling.

The new Subaru Impreza sits on Subaru’s all-singling, all-dancing new platform that will underpin everything from this Impreza through to Forester and Outback, as well as electric vehicles. It’ll also sit under the new XV due out later this year and which is set for its global reveal at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Subaru is perhaps being overly cautious calling the new Impreza 95% new, suggesting there are some important bits underneath carried over from the old model… there aren’t. And per representatives from Subaru Japan, there are only things like nuts, bolts and grommets in common between this car and the old Impreza. But, good on Subaru for being so open.

The Subaru Impreza is the vanguard for a wave of new Subaru product to be built on its new Global platform, a platform that’s up to twice as stiff as the old Impreza. Subaru is calling the new Impreza, the biggest step-change to the model since it was first launched in Australia in 1994. A big call.

The new Impreza is available with just one engine and in just one state of tune, with just one transmission, a CVT. But it can be had in either hatch or sedan form.

The new Impreza also offers, from the mid-spec variants up, Subaru’s clever EyeSight driver assist, the award-winning safety-enhancing technology.

In either hatchback or sedan form, the new Impreza looks good, certainly better than its predecessor. Sure, it might not have the sharp styling of a VW Group product, or even the current crop of Kias, but it’s got a more mature look, especially in top-spec 2.0i-S guise.

The new Impreza, thanks to the new platform, sits 10mm lower than the old model, which makes for a lower centre of gravity and the handling benefits that affords. It’s also 35mm wider which has given extra room for passengers, which I’ll discuss shortly.

The hawk-eye headlights on the 2.0i-S are steering responsive which is a fancy way of saying they turn slightly in the direction the front wheels are turned. Having driven the 2.0i-S at night and then the following week the 2.0i-L without the bendy headlights, I can say the difference is clearly noticeable.

Subaru said it spent a lot of time streamlining the body of the new Impreza, which has all kinds of benefits from fuel efficiency to reducing wind noise.

Subaru calls the design of the new Impreza’s interior ‘bold and refined’. And the interior is certainly more refined than the old car with better quality, fine-grained plastics (some is even soft-touch) used throughout the cabin. And the scratchy plastic that has been used is in places you won’t touch often.

The dashboard will be familiar to anyone who’s sat in either an old Impreza or one of Subaru’s new cars, like Liberty or Outback, and that’d despite the new Impreza getting an all-new design.

There’s an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and communications system that includes both Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity – and both Siri and Google Now voice control. On the 2.0i-S there’s also native sat-nav included which is good, although not quite as excellent as the system in the new Kia Rio. Like most portable units and even smartphone sat-nav systems, if stored the navigation will show distance to ‘home’ or ‘work’… does anyone use these sorts of shortcuts?

Climb in behind the steering wheel and the dashboard spreads out neatly and logically. Only the top-centre-mounted MFD seems a little out of place to me. And this is not just an Impreza thing… It annoys me in the Mazda3 too. Beyond that, all the controls feel good to the touch.

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Source: practical motoring

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