known more for its reliability, symmetrical all-wheel-drive know-how and EyeSight safety tech in cars like the Impreza.
It’s big selling point is that it is the only four-wheel-drive C-segment hatchback on sale at this price - you would have to spend several thousand pounds more for an Audi A3 quattro or BMW 1 Series with xDrive - both well beyond £30,000.
With continuously variable transmission (CVT) only, a manual Impreza is now a thing of the past. It is also offered in just one well-equipped SE specification, with a choice of two four-cylinder petrol engines – £23,995 for a 1.6-litre Impreza or £25,010 for the 2.0-litre.
Our 2.0-litre version delivers 154bhp while the 1.6 can only muster a modest 112bhp, so the bigger engine is the one to go for, especially as it is only just over £1,000 more.
Changes have been made to the rear suspension mounting points and the stiffness and rigidity of the body to make the Impreza genuinely sure-footed in all situations.
Also for 2018 comes a big improvement in the quality of interior materials. Subaru still says some of the finishes are designed for durability but everything looks and feels good.
There’s also lots of space for people and luggage, where Subaru say capacity is up by five litres over the old model, and the hatchback has been reshaped to make loading bulky items easier.
Over and above the old car’s already generous equipment levels, the new Impreza adds keyless entry and go, an eightinch touchscreen incorporating DAB radio, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 17-inch alloys instead of the old 16s, LED steering-responsive headlights with High Beam Assist, an electronic handbrake and privacy glass.
Then, of course, there’s EyeSight and Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD) – the former using its twin-stereo cameras near the interior mirror to run Adaptive Cruise Control, PreCollision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Sway and Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Lead Vehicle Start Alert safety functions while the latter includes Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
All this safety kit, plus its toughened body and chassis, saw the Subaru score the highest mark ever in Japanese NCAP safety tests - something the company is rightly very proud of.
So, I would say Subaru are onto a discrete winner with the new Impreza - take a test drive and see what you think.
More info a www.subaru.co.uk