Small and sure-footed

Own­ers are keen on the Im­preza’s all-wheel drive safety and blend of econ­omy and per­for­mance

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Used Car -

NEW The Subaru Im­preza has long been a favourite of lo­cal small car shop­pers who are at­tracted by its per­ceived build qual­ity, de­sign in­no­va­tion and all­wheel drive safety.

In 2011, the Im­preza came in five-door hatch and four-door sedan body styles, start­ing with the en­try-level 2.0i and ris­ing to the 2.0i-L and 2.0i-S.

For a car of its size the Im­preza was quite roomy and ac­com­mo­dated four adults com­fort­ably — it was claimed to be a five-seater but fit­ting three adults in the rear seat was a squeeze, three kids less so.

Typ­i­cal of Subaru, power came from a 2.0-litre four­cylin­der “boxer” en­gine with fuel in­jec­tion and vari­able valve tim­ing.

Peak out­puts of 110kW/ 196Nm gave de­cent per­for­mance across a wide range of en­gine speeds, while re­turn­ing good econ­omy on reg­u­lar un­leaded petrol.

The gearbox choices were five or six-speed man­u­als and, the choice of most buy­ers, a sixspeed con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion.

The safety of all-wheel drive was an im­por­tant sell­ing point for any­one liv­ing in ar­eas prone to wet or slip­pery roads.

AWD added sig­nif­i­cantly to the Im­preza’s over­all se­cu­rity but it also had all the con­tem­po­rary safety gear to gain five stars from ANCAP. On the road the Im­preza felt sure­footed with a com­fort­able ride and de­cent per­for­mance. NOW The ma­jor­ity of Im­preza own­ers are happy with their cars, al­though one de­tailed a com­monly heard tale of high oil con­sump­tion.

With­out driv­ing a car over an ex­tended pe­riod of time, it’s very dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine whether it uses more oil than it should.

By all means ask about oil us­age in a car you’re con­sid­er­ing but a ven­dor may be loath to dis­close such in­for­ma­tion.

When test­ing a po­ten­tial pur­chase, check for black smoke from the ex­haust.

For most own­ers the per­for­mance and econ­omy of the 2.0-litre en­gine stacks up.

So too does the op­er­a­tion of the CVT. Most own­ers praise this trans­mis­sion but if you haven’t driven a CVT auto be­fore it can be off-putting.

De­signed to main­tain a steady en­gine speed for fuel ef­fi­ciency, the trans­mis­sion in­fin­itely varies the trans­mis­sion ra­tios. Con­ven­tional au­tos use fixed ra­tios and vary the en­gine speed.

Once you be­come ac­cus­tomed to this, it works fine. Just make sure it’s smooth and doesn’t shud­der or surge.

Dash rat­tles are also re­ported, so take note of any you hear when test-driv­ing a car. A po­ten­tial short cir­cuit in the wiring loom led to a re­call in 2015. It af­fected model years 2012 to 2014.

Check that the re­quired in­spec­tion and nec­es­sary re­pairs have been done. OWN­ERS SAY

Our 2012 Im­preza has done 40,000km from new and we’re very happy with it. The style is con­ser­va­tive but hasn’t re­ally aged, the size is ideal to get around and park, the all­wheel drive makes us feel safe and sure footed, the CVT is very smooth, it’s got plenty of grunt when needed and the fuel econ­omy is ex­cel­lent. I don’t like the au­to­matic en­gine shut­down and dis­en­gage it. Dealer ser­vic­ing is too ex­pen­sive but, over­all, we love it.

I have a 2012 2.0i sedan, which I find roomy, com­fort­able and a joy to drive. I like the per­for­mance and the CVT works well.

My 2013 2.0i hasn’t missed a beat in the four years I have owned it. I couldn’t imag­ine buy­ing any­thing else.

I’ve had trou­ble with my 2012 Im­preza from the day I bought it. It uses a lot of oil, the en­gine is gut­less, the stop-start func­tion has been un­re­li­able, and the dash rat­tles. SMITHY SAYS Safe and sound car with the added virtue of all-wheel drive.

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