The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Cover Story -

where there is no pad­ding on the door arm­rests and the ma­te­ri­als feel cheaper.

As with the As­tra, it has a man­ual hand­brake. The Im­preza’s is elec­tri­cally op­er­ated.

The rear seats have de­cent legroom but the Im­preza and As­tra have more gen­er­ous head­room and big­ger boots boots. On the tech­nol­ogy front, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. It lacks the Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto of the As­tra and Im­preza but its sat­nav is built-in, which is more re­li­able in re­mote ar­eas. Mazda also re­cently strength­ened the car’s r’s safety pack­age. On topop of the stan­dard au­to­mated emer­gency brak­ing, which works in re­verse as well, the Maxx has blind spot mon­i­tor­ing and re­arr cross traf­fic alert. Don’t be fooled by the he evo­lu­tion­ary look, this his Im­preza de­buts an en­tire­lyn­tirely new plat­form for thee brand. The em­pha­sis is clearl­yarly on re­fine­ment, as the carar was the qui­etest of th­ese three ee on the PRICE $24,890 plus on­roads WAR­RANTY 3 years/un­lim­ited km SER­VIC­ING $1377 for first 3 years SER­VICE IN­TER­VAL 12 months/10,000km SAFETY 6 airbags, 5 stars EN­GINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 114kW/200Nm TRANS­MIS­SION 6-speed auto; FWD THIRST 5.9L/100km DI­MEN­SIONS 4470mm (L), 1795mm (W), 1450mm (H), 2700mm (WB) WEIGHT 1262kg SPARE Space-saver open road. The sus­pen­sion pro­vides a great bal­ance be­tweenb com­fort and cor­ner­ing prow­ess. Around town it ri­vals some lux­ury makes for soak­ing up road im­per­fec­tions while on the open road the softer sus­pen­sion is off­set by loads of grip from the all-wheel-drive, whichw came to the fore on our rain-soaked test route.

The en­gine isn isn’t t the step for­ward you’d ex­pect from a new model, though, and lacks the punch of the As­tra. Lack­ing the sporty feel of the Mazda, the con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion also can be a bit jerky in low-speed traf­fic — there are pad­dle-shifters be­hind the steer­ing wheel for those who want to change gears man­u­ally. Crit­i­cised for the de­clin­ing qual­ity of its in in­te­ri­ors post the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, Subaru has thrown the kitchen sink at t the Im­preza. From t the mo­men mo­ment the door s shuts with a reas re­as­sur­ing thu thunk, the Im Im­preza im im­presses w with its qu qual­ity fin fin­ishes an and gad gad­get­lade laden cabin. The a at­ten­tion to deta de­tail stretches to the rear seats, w which get soft leathe leather pad­ding on the ar arm­rests and faux car­bon-fi­bre on the door in­serts. The cen­tre screen is the big­gest of th­ese three and sup­ple­mented by a sec­ond screen above it that can be con­fig­ured to dis­play ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion. There’s also a colour read­out be­tween the speedo and tacho.

While its ri­vals here have sim­ple hot and cold di­als for the air­con, you can set the Im­preza’s tem­per­a­ture by de­grees in the dig­i­tal read­out. The re­vers­ing cam­era read­out is crys­tal clear, while the As­tra’s lacks res­o­lu­tion.

Then there are the ac­tive cruise con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and ad­vanced auto brak­ing fea­ture that can de­tect pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists and slam on the brakes to avoid an ac­ci­dent. The As­tra, an en­gag­ing car to drive with a great en­gine, is over­priced and un­der­done in the cabin against this qual­ity of op­po­si­tion.

It’s much harder to sep­a­rate the other two — the Mazda is sportier but the Im­preza gets the fi­nal nod thanks to its qui­eter and more lux­u­ri­ous cabin, more stan­dard fea­tures and classlead­ing safety tech­nol­ogy.

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