The Subaru Impreza seems to improve with age and the fourth-generation of 2012 versions of the four-door and five-door compact are more dynamic in styling and have an all-new, more efficient powertrain.
Available in Base, Premium, Sport Premium, Limited and Sport Limited models, the new Impreza is powered by a new 148-hp Boxer engine and comes with a choice of a five-speed manual transmission or the enhanced, second-generation Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). The powertrain combination (with CVT) delivers an impressive 27/36 mpg.
The new 2.0-liter Boxer engine is slightly more responsive than the 2.5-liter engine it replaces, thanks to a lighter vehicle weight and when equipped with the new CVT. This is a more compact version of the continuously variable transmission that debuted in the current generation of the Subaru Legacy and Outback models. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, which uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT provides infinite variability between the highest and lowest available ratios with no discernable steps or shifts. The CVT continuously and smoothly adapts to performance demand, helping to keep the engine in its most efficient operating range
Impreza Premium, Sport and Limited models with the CVT also have a six-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters, which allow the driver to control the transmission via six pre-set ratios.
The 2012 Impreza models have a 36 percent improvement in combined fuel economy (automatic transmission) over earlier versions, as well as more room inside, better handling and more refinement. New amenities, high-line trim levels, infotainment technology and higher-grade interior materials also contribute to the improved Impreza. And every Impreza is equipped as standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.
The combination of a longer wheelbase and redesigned door and roof trim and front seats allows for more room in passenger and cargo areas. The wheelbase grows about an inch to 104.1 inches, while overall vehicle length and width remain the same for both sedan and five-door models. However, redesigned door panels allow for increased hip and shoulder room, while rear seat passengers gain nearly two inches of legroom. Sedan trunk room and five-door cargo room also are increased, and the five-door now has a completely flat load floor with the standard 65/35 split rear seatbacks folded.
The windshield is more raked than in the previous Impreza, with the bottom of the A pillar moved 7.9 inches forward, allowing for a front door opening nearly five inches longer for easier entry and exit. Higher hip points and a lower, flatter instrument panel, along with larger side mirrors, contribute to better visibility from within the cabin.
On the inside, there are richer looking appointments and details, including softtouch materials for the dashboard, door trim and center console armrest.Base price on the 2012 Subaru Impreza is $17,495.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com