Competes with: Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte
Looks like: Pretty much the same outside and in
Drivetrain: 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; five-speed manual transmission or CVT; all-wheel drive standard
Hits dealerships: November 2014
Subaru has recently released a redesigned 2015 Legacy and 2015 Outback, and it seems the automaker wants to update its smallest car offering this year too. The 2015 Impreza sedan and hatchback don’t get a significant overhaul like their stable mates, but the compacts do get much-needed enhancements like a quieter cabin and new multimedia system.
As is standard for a refresh like this the front bumper, grille and headlights of the 2015 Impreza are new, but the overall look is hard to distinguish from the previous car. It’s a little surprising the company didn’t try to incorporate the new grille from the Outback and Legacy on the Impreza twins.
There are no significant changes to the rear, but the side mirrors have been altered for improved aerodynamics, not looks.
Anyone who has tested the current Impreza knows it is one of the noisier cars in the class. Subaru says it has improved on this with more sound-deadening material, thicker window glass and tighter window seals. We noticed an improvement in the new Legacy, which had similar enhancements, but we’ll have to wait until we can drive the new Impreza to know if the upgrades make a noticeable difference on the road.
On all 2015 Imprezas, a backup camera is standard and even more impressive is the now standard 6.2-inch touch-screen multimedia system. This is the same system we’ve tested in the new Legacy and Outback and found it to be competitive with some of the favorites in the space; it’s light-years from the company’s archaic attempts in its previous models.
The Impreza’s standard equipment list now includes Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and cruise control. All-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission are also standard.
The automaker says the interior also received upgraded trim materials. But we can’t judge the impact it will have on what is traditionally a middle-of-the-road cabin in terms of fit and finish compared to the rest of the class until we see it in person.
Under The Hood
Powering the new Imprezas is the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the 2014 that’s good for 148 horsepower and 145 pounds-feet of torque. When mated to a new version of Subaru’s continuously variable automatic transmission, however, mileage improves by 1 mpg to 28/37/31 mpg city/highway/combined from the 2014 car’s 27/36/30 mpg.
These are marginally better numbers than Ford’s Focus (27/37/31 mpg) and a step or two better than Kia’s Forte5 (25/33/28 mpg). The mileage figures are even more significant because of the Subaru’s standard all-wheel drive.
Mileage for the five-speed manual transmission hasn’t been released, but we expect it to carry over from the 2014’s 25/34/28 mpg. Manual transmission is standard on the 2.0i sedan and 2.0.i Sport hatchback. All other trim levels feature a standard CVT.
The Impreza comes with standard side curtain airbags and side-impact airbags for front passengers as well as a driver’s knee airbag.
Subaru is also offering its EyeSight safety system that features lane departure and forward collision alerts. It is only an available option on 2.0i Limited and 2.0i Sport Limited models, however.