The Impreza has, in many ways, become the forefather of many a fast production car with its four-cylinder turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive system, a configuration which has not changed much since, literally. The brand’s formula might have been a winning one for 20 years or so, but the times have changed and the competition has adopted the formula, tweaked it and improved upon the principles.
New Impreza to impress fans?
The Impreza is an iconic nameplate in South Africa with many enthusiasts holding on to their older Impreza, WRX and STI models tightly as the outgoing WRX and STI generation failed to appeal to the masses.
This latest Impreza, from the look of things, is not likely to lure the enthusiast, but with the brand’s reputation for dependability and customer retention thanks to the Forester, Outback and XV, it might just attract new buyers to the Subaru marque.
The current 2016/2017 Japanese Car of the Year title sits with Subaru and this Impreza model, so we’re expecting quite a bit after attending the local media launch and vehicle walk-around recently. There wasn’t an opportunity to get behind the wheel, but we were assured that this will take place in due course.
Marketing manager of Subaru Southern Africa Ashley Lazarus claims that this car is a game changer. “This car has shifted the goalposts and defies the conventions for a car in this segment. It’s a whole new class in terms of driving dynamics, interior tech and refinement and of course, safety”.
New engine and platform
The latest model makes use of what the brand calls its Global Platform which it claims has been designed to work in tandem with the all-new FB 2.0-litre boxer engine. This unit now features direct injection, is 12kg lighter than the previous engine and produces 115kW/196Nm.
The brand will only launch the Lineartronic CVT gearbox locally, albeit upgraded and weighing 7.8kg less than before, while retaining the seven-speed manual mode with paddle shifters. As with all Subaru products, the new Impreza gets Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard.
I am yet to drive the latest Impreza but judging how a similar drivetrain performs in the current XV, at least gives me a base to work from. There will need to be significant improvements made in terms of efficiency and how the car delivers its power. I am eager to feel this latest generation motor and see if the CVT has been improved upon, but on paper at least, it doesn’t look like a massive leap forward.
As of October 2017, the 2.0i-S ES Premium will be launched with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist System. The system offers four different types of driver assistance functions that are designed to reduce collisions caused by driver error and to reduce collisions caused by driver fatigue.
The system does this by detecting the presence of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential hazards. The results play out in seven vehicle outputs: Pre-Collision Braking; Pre-Collision Throttle Management; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Sway Warning & Lane Departure Warning.The model also comes with seven airbags, whiplash reducing front seats, ABS brakes with BAS and EBD as well as ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Model range and pricing
At the moment, there is only one model in the range in the form of the 2.0i-S Premium which retails for R399 000. That means it faces stiff competition from the likes of the Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf and the Honda Civic, all of which are accomplished and have cheaper variants but don’t have all-wheel drive. Subaru has confirmed that there are more affordable Impreza variants coming to local shores in the next few months.
Warranty and service
The Impreza range comes with a new five-year/150 000km warranty and a three-year/75 000km standard Maintenance plan which is upgradable to a five-year/150 000km.