Last year's redesign yielded an exterior that's almost exactly the same size as the model it replaced, yet Subaru has made better use of the space, with a new seat design that has more passenger space and now folds flat.
Seating in the Impreza is comfortable enough for adults in front and in the rear outboard positions, and packaging changes last year (including new scalloped front seatbacks) allowed two more inches of legroom in the back seat as well as easier entry and exit.
Subaru has put a lot of thought into cargo capacity and versatility in the Impreza, too. Its rear seat folds fully flat, and the five-door model accepts many standard roof carriers. Also, befitting its practical, hey-let’s-go-kayaking-and-spelunking-today image, Subaru enlarged the hatch and trunk openings with last year's redesign, to accommodate a medium-sized dog carrier or a mountain bike with its front wheel in place (the headliner is even scalloped to allow two mountain bikes, standing upright with the front wheels removed.
There's also a useful variety of bins, trays, cubbies, and cup holders, along with a pair of 12-Volt power outlets. Our only complaint about the interior is that you hear a bit too much road noise on some surfaces.
Materials were recently improved, with soft-touch materials now covering the majority of the dashboard and center console, and controls are mostly simple and intuitive, with large round ventilation knobs and a particularly neat optional navigation system integrated into the radio.
A peeve we noted in an earlier drive is that you need to reach through or around the steering wheel in order to cycle through the different modes on the central multifunction display; it's hard to operate when the car is moving, and should be moved to the steering wheel or main dash.
One exception that keeps the Impreza from a higher rating here is wind noise from around the door mirrors, long a Subaru weak spot, and tire roar, which is excessive on certain surfaces.