A new work boot LESS IS MORE, IS LESS The booted ver­sion of the Im­preza weighs just 5kg less than the hatch, and is $ 200 cheaper

Can a sedan ver­sion of a COTY fi­nal­ist carry the load?

Wheels (Australia) - - Our Garage - BARRY PARK

CURSE the rise of the SUV. Sales of the jacked-up, high-rid­ing hatches and wag­ons now com­fort­ably dom­i­nate Aus­tralia’s new­car land­scape, and it’s com­ing at the cost of our once-strong love for tra­di­tional pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles, es­pe­cially sedans. Down Un­der is now a mar­ket­place where small cars, such as Subaru’s Im­preza, need to make a big noise to stand out.

Gen­er­a­tion G5 of the Im­preza, a 2017 Wheels Car of the Year fi­nal­ist, has in­tro­duced the world to the Subaru Global Plat­form (SGP): a lighter, stiffer all-new mod­u­lar chas­sis that will un­der­pin fu­ture mod­els, in­clud­ing plug-in hy­brids. COTY test­ing clearly showed that the SGP is able to reac­quaint the driver with some­thing long ab­sent from Subaru’s DNA; a level of dy­namic prow­ess for which the Ja­panese car­maker was once renowned.

A booted ver­sion of the Im­preza now joins the Wheels garage as a long-ter­mer. Just like the five-door, the G5 sedan in­tro­duces a bet­ter-look­ing de­sign fea­tur­ing much sharper looks than the dowdy cardi­gan the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion wore. It’s some­thing that will help it stand out in what re­mains a cut-throat seg­ment in Aus­tralia, and one where the Subaru-badged con­tender snares s only one in ev­ery 20 sales.

The SGP’S im­prove­ments ex­tend to the in­side as well, where Holden Com­modoreriva­lling in­te­rior space and com­fort mark the Im­preza as a gen­uine cross-shop­ping al­ter­na­tive to the doomed large sedan.

We’ve al­ready pegged the fitout of our long-ter­mer, the richly equipped 2.0i-s, as the pick of the Im­preza lit­ter. This is largely down to the gen­er­ous equip­ment list, which in­cludes heated leather seats, LED head­lights, a torque-vec­tor­ing diff, and stick­ier 18-inch Yoko­hama Ad­van Sport rub­ber.

It will have a big bur­den to carry: there’s been a hole in my drive­way for a num­ber of years, a space set aside for the 1990s-era bugeyed Im­preza Sport­back my wife has al­ways dreamed of, but never owned.

That driver’s DNA is some­thing I’m keen to ex­plore over the com­ing months, and given Subaru’s re­newed in­ter­est in ral­ly­ing in Aus­tralia, I’m also keen to ex­tend at least a small part of that test­ing to gravel sur­faces.

What’s wel­come most of all, though, is that gen­er­ous-sized boot. At 460 litres, the sedan’s 115L ad­van­tage in lug­gage ca­pac­ity over the hatch is bound to come in handy with four chil­dren in the brood.

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