There’s an all-new Subaru Impreza doing battle in the Australian small car market and we reckon the model will take a larger slice of the pie in 2017.
It isn’t revolutionarily different in styling to the old model and in all honesty you need to have a well trained eye to immediately spot any real differences.
But there are changes underneath the skin of the Subaru Impreza.
A lighter and stiffer body and beefed-up suspension system help make the Impreza one of the best small cars on the market to drive.
It handles really well and the steering has a ‘sports car’ like precision.
While extra grip is guaranteed by way of the famous Subaru all-wheel drive system.
Don’t be concerned though if you’re more interested in having a practical car to drive to work or pick the kids up in, it really isn’t at all unrefined.
The 2.0 litre engine provides good all-round performance and economy.
Producing 115kW and 196Nm, as always the Subaru ‘boxer’ engine performs best when the revs are up and it is being driven with some purpose.
Around town the acceleration is adequate and the economy is good - expect to use somewhere around 8.5L/100km.
The transmission, a CVT automatic, has a tendency to be a touch indecisive when a down-shift is required (common with the CVT technology).
Oh, and you are assisted in your driving with the Subaru EyeSight system, including forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning.
The ride is very pleasant, the cabin is quiet and there’s plenty of boot space.
The interior is nicely laid out and generally speaking has a really nice look and feel about it.
I particularly like the soft leather arm-rests (centre console and doors) and the leather steering wheel in this mid-spec Impreza 2.0i-Premium.
Oh and there are other things to enjoy inside the cabin - including one of the fastest and most attractive to look at infotainment systems around.
Boasting large buttons and nice graphics, Subaru gets full marks from me on this new system.
The resolution of the Subaru Impreza reverse camera is a real stand-out.
The only thing missing, right across the 2017 Impreza range is digital radio.
Another plus would be the driver info screens - located between the gauges and atop the dashboard.
Once again, clear and attractive graphics can be found here and a whole lot of info about your fuel economy, the cars performance etc.
Strangely, this grade of Impreza doesn’t get auto headlights.
A height-adjustable driver’s seat is welcome and the visibility from that seat to the front, side and rear is excellent.
I did find the seat-base quite flat and probably in need of some more bolstering on the outer edges to hold you in a little better when going around corners.
Something that you might have to get used to as well is the positioning of the tune/volume buttons.
Firstly, I am really pleased to see that the traditional knobs for these important functions are still there, however in the Subaru the tune knob is on the left-hand side and the volume on the right.
Being used to the volume being on the left, I found myself regularly re-tuning the radio rather than adjusting the volume!
A five-star ANCAP safety rating features across the entire Subaru Impreza range and Subaru won’t charge you any extra for metallic paint - two bonuses for you there.
Summing it up; there is plenty to like about the new-generation Impreza.
Reasonable pricing, good on-road dynamics and manners, nice cabin and top-notch tech all add up to the 2017 Subaru Impreza being one of the best small cars on the market.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i-Premium
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol producing 115kW and 196Nm
Transmission: CVT automatic (only)
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $26,290