Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Although the latest shape Impreza sedan arrived in Australia in September 2008 with a ‘longer & wider’ body than the previous model, Subaru claims body rigidity has significantly improved - and after driving most grades we’ve no reason to doubt this! The build quality is, as usual, at the high standards set by the Japanese brand. September 2010 saw the introduction of a new wide-body sedan introduced as both a WRX and an STI (i.e the quick and really, really quick grades).
Not so good Yes the interior space has improved over previous Impreza’s, however the exterior styling will never win a beauty award – we wouldn’t argue if you labeled the styling ‘bland’, excluding the tough wide-body WRX and STI.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good This Impreza is far more refined inside than its predecessor. Tilt & reach adjustable steering provides a comfortable driving position, PLUS lots of rear seat space on offer. All grades are significantly quieter on the move than their predecessors. With five aboard the sedan wins over the Impreza hatch on storage space (420L vs. 300L). The RS grade features sports seats which offer plenty of cornering support and the red stitching on the WRX’s steering wheel and front bucket seats are a nice touch.
Not so good Yes, the Impreza’s interior has improved over the previous model but it is still off the pace of the class-leaders; interior plastics are mostly of the hard variety and all in all it’s still a touch too somber inside. The entry level R’s seats don’t offer enough grip.
Performance

Performance

Good This generation WRX produces a big 195kW of power from its unique 2.5L boxer engine and is still most definitely FAST. The other good news is Subaru now fit 225mm wide tyres (instead of the previous 205mm) on the WRX.
Not so good The RS may appear sporty, however it has no more power than the entry level R grade. R, RX and RS grade’s 2.0L Petrol engine struggles when matched with the four-speed auto transmission. WRX makes do with a five-speed manual when many competitors have stepped up to six-speed’s and ‘trick’ DSG-dual-clutch-style gearboxes. As a result on the highway at 100km/h the WRX in top gear is revving at approximately 3,000rpm when a sixth gear would drop the revs for a more relaxed (and economical) cruise.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good WRX is still fun to drive (Subaru upgraded the suspension in 2009) it’s now stiffer - yet not at the expense of ride comfort. The semi-sports RS grade features large-ish 17-inch alloys yet the ride remains relatively supple. With all grades featuring All-Wheel Drive (AWD) the worse the weather - the greater the advantage shifts to an Impreza. AWD also ensures predictable handling.
Not so good The WRX no-longer wipes the slate clean against the competition regarding handling (at least when the roads are dry); steering feels a touch light which is fine on the entry-level grades but less so for the Hot Hatch-competing WRX sedan. Entry-level grades don’t provide much driver fun, and the suspension feels too much on the soft side for the semi-sporty RS grade. The R with its skinny tyres feels less competent than the RS with its slightly wider tyres.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good All grades rate highly in safety testing - six airbags as standard on all variants. The Impreza handles well on dirt roads and is comfortable over long distances – no surprise it’s a hit with many rural owners.
Not so good Fuel economy is poor AND engines require more expensive Premium Unleaded.