Subaru’s fourth-gen­er­a­tion Im­preza has fi­nally ar­rived, but it’s an evo­lu­tion rather than rev­o­lu­tion, re­ports CHRIS RI­LEY

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE qui­eter and more re­fined Im­preza con­tin­ues to boast a flat-four boxer en­gine and sym­met­ri­cal all-wheel drive with a heavy em­pha­sis on safety and bet­ter fuel econ­omy.

Subaru sees the car as an al­ter­na­tive to the fron­twheel-drive “clones” that com­prise the seg­ment.

Mar­ket re­search has iden­ti­fied fuel econ­omy as the key fea­ture that buy­ers are look­ing for and the in­vest­ment in this area is ap­par­ent, but at what cost?

I’ve never been a big fan of the Im­preza’s styling and can’t say I’m overly im­pressed with this one, but style is a per­sonal thing.


It’s the same ba­sic en­gine as in Forester, but with the ad­di­tion of dual-valve tim­ing. It pro­duces 110kw of power and 196Nm of torque, ex­actly the same as be­fore. How­ever, it gets a tim­ing chain this time around which means no more ex­pen­sive tim­ing belt ser­vices.


The crusty old five-speed man­ual and four-speed au­to­matic have made way for a six-speed man­ual and six-speed Cvt-style auto.

The big news is the CVT and the big gains in fuel econ­omy that it prom­ises.

It’s ex­pected to ac­count for 80 per cent of sales. CVTS or con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sions are de­signed to find the per­fect bal­ance be­tween power and econ­omy in all sit­u­a­tions.

It has a six-speed man­ual mode, with change


pad­dles to make the most of f it.


The CVT is the pick in the per­for­mance depart­ment. The sprint from 0-100km/h for the CVT is 10.5 sec­onds and for the man­ual 11.1 secs. That’s bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous auto, but not nearly y as quick as the old five-speed ed man­ual at 9.6. So in the broader ader con­text it is not that quick at all.

The Im­preza runs on stan­dard un­leaded petrol. Subaru is claim­ing 6.8 litres/100km for the CVT and 7.1 for the man­ual. That’s a 22/20 per cent im­prove­ment.

Dur­ing the drive pro­gram, how­ever, the CVT re­turned 8.2 litres/100km and the man­ual, 9.0 litres/100km – noth­ing like what it should be get­ting.

All mod­els are fit­ted with auto start/stop which shuts the en­gine down at traf­fic lights to save fuel and re­duce pol­lu­tion.

Subaru says stud­ies have shown that cars may be stopped for 30 per cent of the time, so there are big gains to be had in this area. If you don’t like it, you can sim­ply dis­able the func­tion.

Im­preza scores a full five stars for safety, with not six but seven airbags. This time around it in­cludes a


driver’s knee bag to pro­tect the lower

legs in a an ac­ci­dent.


Ex­te­rior di­men­sions a are the same as the pre­vi­ous model but it sits 10mm lower, has a 2 20mm wider track and 25 25mm longer wheel­base. The body is 10kg lighter, but 25 per c cent stiffer. The re­design pro­vides more mor room in­side too, with more rear leg room and more el­bow and shoul­der room.

The seats are more com­fort­able and the ride qual­ity is very good, apart from the oc­ca­sional in­tru­sion of tyre noise on coarse bi­tu­men.

Sadly there’s no dig­i­tal speedo in sight and still no one-touch blink­ers for lane chang­ing.

It’s more re­fined – that’s for sure – with a lower cen­tre of grav­ity and it hugs the road like a thor­ough­bred. It’s qui­eter in­side too.

But, and it’s a big BUT, you re­ally have to push this car hard to get it mov­ing, es­pe­cially the man­ual with it’s tall gear­ing. The re­sult, not un­ex­pect­edly, is poor econ­omy which was re­flected in the fig­ures we got.

The CVT in com­par­i­son doesn’t have to work as hard and is the pick as far as we’re con­cerned.

It also feels more re­spon­sive to the throt­tle.


All mod­els get Blue­tooth phone con­nec­tion, with steer­ing wheel phone, au­dio and cruise con­trols, cli­mate air­con­di­tion­ing, USB in­put and multi-func­tion dis­play with dis­tance to empty.


The are no al­loy wheels for the 2.0i and no full­size spare for any of them. In­side, there’s no leather un­less you buy an op­tion pack, and no men­tion of park­ing sen­sors.

Sat-nav costs an arm and a leg (pack­aged with the sun­roof as a $3000 op­tion).


The model des­ig­na­tions are dif­fer­ent this time around. R, RX and RS have been re­placed with 2.0i, 2.0i-l and 2.0i-s. The 2.0i kicks off from $23,990* for the sedan and hatch, but the CVT will cost you an­other $2500. The flag­ship S starts from $31,490*.


It’s qui­eter, more re­fined, roomier in­side and bet­ter equipped than ever be­fore and all for the same price.

Subaru has man­aged to pull off the im­pos­si­ble by mak­ing its boxer, all-wheel drive main­stay the class leader in fuel econ­omy with a Green Guide rat­ing that’s al­most as good as a Prius.

But it’s not enough to be fuel ef­fi­cient. It needs to be fun to drive, too, and sadly it falls short of this mark. * For drive-away prices con­tact Trin­ity Subaru, 455 Mul­grave Rd, Ear­lville, phone 4081 5000.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.