2012 Subaru Impreza
Starting MSRP $17,495–$29,095
The 2012 Impreza is a complete redesign of Subaru's compact sedan and four-door hatchback. Along with new exterior and interior styling, both body styles boast increased interior space, a new engine and much-improved gas mileage. The Impreza competes with household names like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, as well as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, most of which were recently redesigned or introduced. None of these competing models offers standard all-wheel drive, which all Subarus do. Arguable all-wheel-drive alternatives include the Dodge Caliber and Suzuki SX4.
The Impreza comes in five trim levels: 2.0 i, 2.0 i Premium, 2.0 i Limited, 2.0 i Sport Premium (hatchback only) and 2.0 i Sport Limited. The 2.0 i represents the new 2.0-liter engine, replacing last year's 2.5-liter and corresponding 2.5 i designation.
The 2012 Impreza's styling is more mature than the outgoing generation's styling, yet it avoids blandness. It adopts Subaru's new hexagonal grille. While the wheelbase has increased almost an inch, the overall exterior dimensions are virtually unchanged. The A-pillars anchor almost 8 inches farther forward, giving the windshield a "faster" angle. The side mirrors have relocated to the doors.
The wheel assortment ranges from standard 15-inch steel rims to 16- and 17-inch alloys.
A tilt/telescoping steering wheel is now standard. New front seats have higher seatbacks and greater lumbar support. Leather upholstery comes on the Limited and Sport Limited trim levels, along with automatic climate control and premium instrumentation. Materials quality has improved on all trim levels.
Reshaped backrests on the front seats help boost backseat legroom by 2 inches. A 60/40-split folding backseat is standard, but a center armrest doesn't come until the Limited trim level.
Standard features include air conditioning and power windows, side mirrors and door locks with remote keyless entry. The Premium trim level adds popular features such as iPod connectivity and Bluetooth-enabled hands-free telephone and streaming audio. Notable options include a navigation system and a moonroof on the Premium trim.
Under the Hood
The new 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine has dual overhead camshafts, improving on the previous engine's single cam. The output is now 148 horsepower and 145 pounds-feet of torque, which is a decrease from the larger engine's 170 hp and 170 pounds-feet of torque. On the plus side, the 2012 model has shed more than 150 pounds of overall weight, and Subaru says the new continuously variable automatic transmission delivers performance along with efficiency. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. The CVT is available on any of the lower trim levels and becomes standard on the Limited and hatchback Sport Premium. The Premium, Limited and Sport levels add a manual mode and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles that select among six arbitrary gear ratios.
The EPA mileage estimates are 27/36 mpg city/highway with the CVT and 25/34 mpg with the manual.
Four-wheel-disc brakes are standard. As required on all 2012 models, the Impreza has antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. The Impreza has seven airbags: the required frontal pair, front-seat-mounted side-impact torso airbags, side curtains and a knee airbag for the driver.
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