Sure to Impreza
A quirky outsider has joined the mainstream, writes Graham Smith
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.
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