Starting MSRP $17,495–$22,595
The redesigned 2012 Subaru Impreza's most compelling attributes are evident before you even start the engine. Take a glance and you'll see more mature styling in both the sedan and four-door hatchback. Get inside and you'll find excellent sightlines, roominess and improved quality. Look at the specifications and you'll see impressive mileage for a car in the compact class — especially for one with Subaru's signature standard all-wheel drive: 27/36 mpg city/highway. If you like what you see so far, driving the Impreza probably won't deter you, but it won't close the deal, either.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza undeniably has broader appeal than ever before, but there are still downsides associated with its standard all-wheel drive, not just in terms of price.
Both body styles come in three trim levels: 2.0i (base), 2.0i Premium and 2.0i Limited. The hatchback, which Subaru calls the "5-door," adds two more levels: the 2.0i Sport Premium and 2.0i Sport Limited.
Subaru has discontinued the Outback Sport, a butched-up hatchback modeled after the larger Outback SUV. The turbocharged WRX and WRX STI versions continue as they were in 2011; they're 2012 models but not redesigns. All new Imprezas hit dealerships in November.
To the outside observer, little distinguishes the Impreza's various trim levels. The base side mirrors are black-colored and fold, and the door handles are body-colored. Fifteen-inch steel wheels with wheel covers are standard. The hatchback includes a spoiler atop its liftgate.
The Premium trim level adds 16-inch alloy wheels and body-colored side mirrors. The Sport Premium hatchback adds fog lights, rocker panel extensions, black roof rails and 17-inch gunmetal-gray alloy wheels. Two-tone body color is optional.
The Limited trim level adds chrome accents to the fog lights and grille, and the Sport Limited hatchback incorporates silver grille accents instead.
Behind the Wheel
I believe the greatest obstacle facing Impreza shoppers is the car's power. The new, smaller engine is less powerful than the previous generation's power plant. Though the base car has shed 165 pounds and the new automatic transmission manages to shave a few tenths off the 2011 model's zero-to-60-mph time, it remains just under 10 seconds. Major competitors beat that by as much as 3 seconds. This is what you might expect from a highly efficient new take on an existing model, but the even more efficient Hyundai Elantra – winner of our recent Cars.com Shootout — is about a second quicker. What's behind this? The additional weight of the Impreza's standard all-wheel drive certainly plays a part.
I'm no horsepower freak. Cars that some deem underpowered I instead call modestly powered. Still, if you load up the 2012 Impreza and/or take to the hills — especially at higher altitudes where the air is thinner — the normally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder will have its work cut out for it. Subaru says the regular Impreza won't get a turbocharger. That's left for the WRX and STI, which come at a substantial premium.
On the upside, when the Impreza's horizontally opposed engine is earning its keep, it sounds quite good — by no means quiet, but deep and refined when compared with the frenetic whine or gravelly rasp many small four-bangers emit.
Replacing the previous generation's optional four-speed automatic is a continuously variable automatic transmission. It's standard on the Limited trim level and optional on all others for $1,000.
FeaturesAs of its launch, the 2012 Impreza's starting price is unchanged at $17,495 for the sedan ($500 more for the hatchback in all cases), but a comparison shows a few things have been sacrificed — most notably cruise control. Standard features on the 2.0i include power locks, side mirrors and door locks with one-touch up/down operation for the driver. Also included are air conditioning, 65/35-split folding backseat, a driver's seat height adjustment, floormats, auto-off headlights, 15-inch steel wheels, a locking glove compartment, dual visor vanity mirrors, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and variable intermittent wipers. The hatchback includes a rear wiper/washer as well.
The standard AM/FM/CD stereo on both body styles offers no connectivity for portable players. The only option at this level is the automatic transmission.
The Premium trim level ($18,795 for the sedan) adds 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, body-colored side mirrors, fog lights, chrome interior door handles, a sliding center armrest, a rear stabilizer bar and, for the hatchback, a retractable cargo cover. The stereo adds a USB port and analog auxiliary jack along with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth for audio streaming and hands-free cellular. Audio controls join the cruise control buttons on the steering wheel.
The sole individual option for the Premium is the automatic. Various packages allow you to add 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and shifter knob, and a stainless-steel tailpipe for the sedan. The All-Weather Package has heated front seats and side mirrors and a wiper de-icer. The Premium is also eligible for a voice-activated navigation system, whose 6.1-inch touch-screen display also supports iTunes tagging, text messaging and XM Satellite Radio and Navtraffic (subscriptions required).
The 2.0i Sport Premium hatchback ($20,295) comes with gunmetal-gray 17-inch wheels, rocker panel extensions, black roof rails (cross-bars sold separately), fog lights, sport cloth upholstery and the All-Weather Package.
The 2.0i Limited sedan ($21,595), hatchback ($22,095) and Sport Limited hatchback ($22,595) add the automatic as standard equipment, along with 17-inch alloy wheels; chrome on the door handles, grille trim and fog lights; leather upholstery; automatic climate control, a backseat armrest; auto-on/off headlights; and the All-Weather Package. The stereo gets a 4.3-inch LCD screen, though it's replaced if you choose the navigation system, which is packaged with the moonroof.
A loaded Impreza Sport Limited hatchback tops out at $25,345 including the $750 destination charge.
Missing features found elsewhere in this vehicle class include keyless access and push-button start, automatic locking and any type of parking assist.
As of this writing, the all-new Impreza hasn't been crash-tested. The WRX retains its Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway safety, having earned top scores of Good in all the tests, but its results don't represent or foretell the redesigned Impreza's crashworthiness.
The Impreza has seven airbags: the frontal pair, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front occupants and side curtains that cover the front and rear door windows. The seventh is a new driver's knee airbag.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard. As is federally mandated for all 2012 models, the Impreza also has antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. The front seats have active head restraints that also adjust forward and back across five positions.source: www.cars.com