Sure to Im­preza

A quirky out­sider has joined the main­stream, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

YOU only have to men­tion the Subaru Im­preza and im­ages of the hot rod WRX come flood­ing to mind. The WRX rally rocket has come to de­fine the small Subaru, but to for­get the rest of the range would be un­fair.

The Im­preza has long been a well­built, re­li­able and pop­u­lar small car and the new model in 2007 was even bet­ter. There was a sense of change about the new Im­preza, a fresh ap­proach that spelt a change in di­rec­tion for the Ja­panese car­maker that had built a rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity, driv­abil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity.

Model watch

THERE was al­ways some­thing off- putting about the way Im­preza doors closed, a feel­ing of flim­si­ness that sug­gested a lack of qual­ity. That was be­fore the new model in 2007, which for the first time had frames around the win­dows in the doors.

Now, with the win­dows sup­ported by frames, the doors closed with a solid feel that made the Im­preza ex­pe­ri­ence much more sat­is­fy­ing.

You might think that adding door­frames is a small change, but in terms of the im­pact it had on the Im­preza it was a ma­jor re­vi­sion.

It also seemed to sig­nal a ma­jor change in think­ing at Subaru. It was the fi­nal step from be­ing a some­what quirky out­sider to be­ing a solid main­stream car­maker.

Subaru of­fered only a five-door hatch at the Im­preza’s launch, but there were three mod­els, plus the WRX, which we’ll hold over for an­other story. The R pro­vided the en­try point to the range, with the RX and RS as you climbed the tree.

With a look rem­i­nis­cent of Europe, the new Im­preza was more at­trac­tive. It was also shorter, taller, wider, and lighter, with more cabin and boot space.

In­side, there was a fresh new dash, up­graded seats and trim, bet­ter in­su­la­tion and iso­la­tion, and a height and reach ad­justable steer­ing col­umn.

Un­der the bon­net was the fa­mil­iar 2.0-litre flat-four, but with 20 per cent more power and 7 per cent more torque. That meant that at its best it was putting out 110kW at 6400 revs and 196Nm at 3200 revs.

On the road, that trans­lated into more urge and bet­ter driv­abil­ity, and mo­tor-not­ers reck­oned it was also smoother.

Bolted to the back of the en­gine was ei­ther a five-speed man­ual

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