- Gas mileage is up 30 percent
- All-wheel drive is standard
- Drama-free, neutral handling
- Large hatch and trunk openings
- New styling is vastly improved
- Not the quietest compact in the field
- Interior materials are nicer, but some trim still looks cheap
- Subaru trails in infotainment options
- If you don't need AWD, you get it anyway
Crisply restyled, with higher gas mileage, more space inside, a nicer interior, and all-wheel drive standard, the 2012 Subaru Impreza is a newly compelling compact alternative.
With the all-new 2012 Impreza, Subaru has turned a laser-like focus on making its compact sedan and hatchback more competitive and providing a better fit with what buyers really want. The small Japanese maker has thus produced an Impreza with less polarizing styling and considerably better fuel economy, competitively priced, and offering a feature no other compact offers: standard all-wheel drive on every model.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza isn’t really trying to compete with the most popular compacts—Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze. It’s more often cross-shopped against the Mazda3 and Volkswagen Jetta/Golf, perceived by younger buyers and empty-nesters alike as more appealing and individual choices.
The new Impreza retains the Subaru hallmarks of standard all-wheel drive, practicality, and durability, of course. Company officials like to point out that 95 percent of the cars they’ve sold in the last 10 years are still on the road, and Subaru has the highest brand loyalty in the business. But the 2012 Impreza should offer a more attractive proposition for buyers who seek something sportier and more fun to drive than bland, beige, forgettable compacts from high-volume brands.
The hot-rod WRX and STi models will carry over in the older Impreza model for 2012 and 2013, according to company officials.