While the 2012 Impreza has about the same size, proportions, and pricing as last year’s model, Subaru has given it some extensive powertrain changes. With a new engine and available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), it achieves 30-percent better fuel economy than before.
At FamilyCarGuide, we give the 2012 Subaru Impreza an overall rating of 8 out of 10—primarily because, among compact cars, it’s one of the best possible picks with respect to safety, fuel-efficiency, and value for the money—especially when you consider that all-wheel drive is included.
Subaru boasts that the 2012 Impreza has been given all-new sheetmetal. The new look still feels a bit conservative, and at times derivative, but it’s much more handsome—especially the hatchback. Inside, the Impreza gets a no-nonsense interior that family shoppers are bound to appreciate as it’s free from frills and distractions. That said, it’s nicely trimmed and no longer feels drab.
The big news in the new Impreza is that a smaller, 2.0-liter ‘flat’ four-cylinder engine produces 148 horsepower—power close to that of the former version—while getting much better gas mileage. A five-speed manual is standard, while a Lineartronic CVT is available throughout the lineup and standard on the Impreza Limited. Overall, the new CVT brings good acceleration while returning 27 mpg city, 36 highway—making it the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive gasoline vehicle in the U.S. market. And despite a smaller gas tank that allows a flat load floor with the rear seatback flipped forward, the Impreza’s driving range has increased for 2012.
Otherwise, Subaru has improved the Impreza’s interior and seating somewhat. Rear passengers get about two inches more legroom, so even six-foot adults can now be comfortable back there, and hatch and trunk openings have been expanded.
The Subaru Impreza has been a high safety achiever in recent years, and we expect its ratings to remain as such. For 2012, Subaru has added a seventh airbag to the Impreza—a new driver’s knee bag—as well as a brake-override system.
Subaru vehicles have become much stronger on the value front in recent years—as reflected in their rapid sales gains outside of their traditionally strong Snow Belt regions—and the 2012 Impreza adds even more, with unchanged pricing this year. You still have to step up to Premium trims to get Bluetooth, USB, and iPod integration, but those models are still a good deal next to rivals without all-wheel drive. Furthermore, top Limited models add things like leather, automatic climate control, HD Radio, and a choice between a compact nav system integrated with audio or a full-fledged system.
For more, see the full review pages on the 2012 Subaru Impreza over at The Car Connection.