The 2012 Subaru Impreza could be accused of being a Luddite because this redesigned compact car is lacking in the newer technological features found in its competitors.
I'm a bit of a Luddite — one who opposes technological changes — so I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing in the Subaru. I prefer a straightforward car that I don't have to decipher before driving. I daresay the Impreza and I got along pretty well.
The 2012 Impreza, which comes as both a sedan and four-door hatchback, has been completely updated with a new interior and exterior. My test car, a 2.0i Premium sedan, had a standard continuously variable automatic transmission, which is all modern, but it seemed to lack some pep. It had me yearning for a manual transmission, which is standard in the Impreza's lower trims.
I wanted a stick shift because the Impreza had substantial engine noise in the cabin, making it seem more driver-oriented than the average small car. Hey, some people really like engine noise and maybe they'll like the accompanying road noise, too. Subarus loyalists will recognize the Impreza's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that's fun to drive.
The 2012 Impreza sedan starts at $17,495. My top-of-the-line test car rang up at $23,914 and included all-wheel drive, which is something respected by those of us in climates that embrace all four seasons.
With its sharp front end, the redesigned Impreza still looks like a Subaru. There's a slightly sculpted hood and some good-looking body lines on this sedan. It's a sharp-looking design that will easily weather changing styles.
The ease of use for this car is tops. The doors are lightweight, and the handles won't confound anyone except the smaller babes in your brood. The ceiling is typically low for a small sedan, so beware of head-bonks when getting small kids and babies settled into their child-safety seats in the backseat.
The trunk is easy to access and holds plenty of groceries. While a single stroller will fit in the trunk, parents will want to check if a double stroller will work back there.
The 2012 Impreza has a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that uses regular unleaded gas. When paired with the CVT, the Impreza gets an EPA-estimated 27/36 mpg city/highway. With the five-speed manual, its fuel-economy numbers drop to 25/34 mpg.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some
Although the Impreza has been redesigned for 2012, there weren't enough significant changes to the interior for my tastes. The Impreza keeps the dash simple with knobs for the climate control and a few buttons. Also, the Impreza has an optional navigation system that's straightforward to use — much like the rest of the car.
The sedan fit my family of four pretty well. It isn't the car I'd pick for a three-day road trip, but for all the errands and comings and goings that we do in our daily lives, it was a decent fit.
From the driver's seat, everything was within my reach. I had no problems reaching any of the center stack controls, and I didn't have to do the rearview mirror dance (scoot up to reach and adjust the mirror, scoot back to see if it works, scoot up to readjust …). The standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel helped me find the perfect driving position.
In the front row there were two cupholders, a glove box and center console that rounded out the storage options. There's also generous storage in door pockets; they're big enough for a water bottle and some medium-sized items like a clutch or a bag of trash from Chick-Fil-A. Not that I ever go there; drive-throughs are too technologically advanced.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair-Ample
The 2012 Impreza has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A car must earn the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests to receive this safety honor. The Impreza also has been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received an overall rating of four stars out of five. It earned five stars in the rollover crash test and four stars in the front- and side-impact crash tests.
As I mentioned, the Impreza has standard all-wheel drive. In addition, it boasts four-wheel-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control. In the airbag department, the Impreza has seven standard airbags, including side curtains for both rows and a driver's knee airbag.
There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Impreza's outboard seats. The Latch anchors sit behind flaps in the seats, but it wasn't as easy to get at them because they were hidden behind seat cushion foam. My kid's booster seat fit well in the backseat, and there wasn't any struggle with the seat belt buckles. They are on rigid bases, making them easy to use. Thank you, Subaru! Rear-facing child-safety seats don't fit as well in the backseat, especially if the driver or front passenger are 5 feet 6 inches or taller. Find out how the 2012 Impreza sedan performed in Cars.com's Car Seat Check.
Get more safety information about the 2012 Subaru Impreza here.
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