QUICK DRIVE: Subaru Impreza

Car: Subaru Impreza 2.0 Sport

Engine: 115kW/196Nm 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed four-cylinder petrol

Transmission: Continuously variable

Price: $29,990

We like:

Conservatively handsome, yet still distinctively a Subaru. Extremely modern and attractive interior. Fantastically comfortable seats. Brilliantly smooth and torquey engine, with a nicely satisfying amount of grunt. Remarkably confident handling. AWD system is brilliant and confidence-inspiring. Impressively quiet.


We don’t like:

Seats are a bit wide and unsupportive. Not as economical as it should be. Continuously variable transmission not as good as Subaru’s previous efforts. With great silence comes great wind noise, around the mirrors, that is.

With the new Impreza Subaru has taken a massive leap forward in quality, refinement and sheer head-kicking value-for-money.

While the last Impreza was a decent entrant in a crowded market, the new one is a remarkably good car at a simply incredible price. Okay, so the continuously variable transmission isn’t one of the Japanese company’s best efforts, it is still acceptable for around-town motoring, which is what the vast majority of cars in this segment actually do most of the time.

It IS disappointing out on the open road, however, as the Impreza has a fantastic chassis, lively steering and an eager engine that simply cry out for something else. Like actual gears, for example. Fortunately, the Impreza’s “manual” mode is actually surprisingly responsive and quite usable for an enthusiastic back road thrash. It’s nowhere near as fun as a good manual would be, but it is a somewhat acceptable substitute…

While the exterior is handsome, but largely generic, the inside is where the Impreza keeps all of its best surprises – the insides are made of far higher quality materials than have ever graced the Impreza before and while the seats are a bit too wide and unsupportive, they are brilliantly comfortable, and all the controls falls nicely to hand. The phone mirroring in the Impreza’s stereo is well implemented and the stereo is excellent.

But the best bit is that the Impreza is absolutely packed with standard equipment, including Subaru’s excellent EyeSight driver assist system, and still manages to handily undercut all of its opposition with its price. At $29,990, we can forgive the Impreza its vaguely disappointing transmission.


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