The Subaru brand continues to grow and grow with rising sales in each of the last 10-years. The reasons for that are many, but it really comes down to building highly reliable cars and utilities, most with standard all-wheel drive. So let’s see if their newest offering, the 2017 Impreza, can keep that hot streak going.
This 2017 Subaru Impreza compact not only rides on the brand’s new global architecture; but it’s also the first Impreza built here in the U.S., at their assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana.
Both sedan and 5-door hatchback Imprezas are once again available; we opted for the sportier 5-door. No word on when the STI variants will get the new chassis.
So, there’s still only a normally aspirated 2.0-liter boxer-4 providing Impreza power. But, a host of new parts, as well as direct-injection, result in a small increase in power from 148 to 152-horsepower along with 145 lb-ft. of torque.
A 5-speed manual transmission remains standard, but most will come equipped with a CVT. And while it’s been one of the better CVTs for a while now, others are improving and this one is no longer a standout. All but base trim get manual shift mode with paddle shifters. And, yes, all-wheel-drive is standard.
Exterior styling has certainly been updated; but with such a familiar face, things don’t appear radically different. And most Subaru owners will agree that’s actually a really good thing.
The 5-door hatch is noticeably sleeker than before, and the tail lights take up more real estate.
Space is even more noticeably increased inside, and Subaru trademarks of easy ingress and great visibility are still here.
Seating position is fairly high, while front seats remain on the firm side.
The infotainment system makes a huge jump in usability and that is very much appreciated. The screen itself is bigger, with larger virtual buttons. Traditional control knobs have grown in size as well.
The familiar upper dash display is still present, and there always seems to be something happening on it. It does provide lots of information, although it’s just outside of your normal line of sight.
Over in the driver’s I.P., there’s plenty of data as well, presented in a very clear fashion.
With more space for rear seat passengers, cargo volume falls a bit to 20.8 cubic-ft., but max capacity is “max-er” at 55.3 cubic-ft.
Without a doubt, the Impreza’s new chassis feels much more solid on the road compared to previous generations. Just about every aspect of performance has gotten tighter, throttle response is certainly crisper, and it’s an overall more enjoyable experience behind the wheel.
Yet that tighter demeanor is contrasted with additional sound deadening, leaving you feel a little more isolated in the cabin, due to its now very quiet nature.
And without a doubt, at our test track, the Impreza was much less of a snoozer, and more stimulating than it’s ever been before. It barnstormed through our slalom course with great balance and a “glued to the pavement” feel. Steering feedback is less artificial, and turn-ins were so quick it felt like Subaru also added 4-wheel steering.
It’s not quite Mazda3 or VW Golf fun, but certainly a drastic improvement.
With times of 9.6-seconds to 60, and 17.4 in the ¼-mile at 81 miles-per-hour, it’s not a rocket off the line, but the engine is very responsive which helps it feel better in real world use.
By the way, those times are exactly the same as the last Impreza we tested back in 2012.
Subaru’s available EyeSight includes Pre-Collision braking, and it worked flawlessly as always in our crash barrier test; even in some light rain. This year it adds Reverse Automatic Braking as well.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our CVT hatchback are 28-City, 37-Highway, and 31-Combined; though our average was a bit disappointing at 28.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Still, the Energy Impact Score is a good one, with use of just 10.6-barrels of oil per year with C02 emissions of 4.7-tons.
Base pricing is up just $100 over last year and remains very competitive considering standard all-wheel-drive. Sedans start at $19,215, hatchbacks at just $500 more.
The 2017 Subaru Impreza, may not be as big of a leap forward as last generation; but truth be told, it didn’t have as far to go to be highly competitive among a host of really great cars in the compact segment. And by offering both more room and comfort, as well as way more handling fun; it has become an even better option than it was before. Consider us Imprezed.
Engine: 2.0-liter boxer-4
Torque: 145 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 9.6 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.4 seconds @ 81 mph
EPA: 28 mpg city / 37 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 10.6 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 4.7 tons/yr