For many Americans, the Impreza is associated with two three-letter acronyms: the high-powered, rally-inspired WRX and STi. Those models were loosely based on the Impreza, but for 2012, the performance variants part ways. This leaves the Impreza to again function as Subaru's entry-level sedan.
While the WRX and STi will stay on the old 2011 platform, the 2012 Impreza's have an all new chassis, engine, continuously-variable transmission (CVT), and suspension design. To improve fuel economy, Subaru nixed the 2.5-liter engine in favor of a smaller 2.0-liter flat-4. It makes less power and has a smaller fuel tank, but with weight savings, the new Impreza is just as quick, and it gets 30-percent better mileage and the same range as the 2011 model.
The Impreza is still the only all-wheel-drive car in its class, and now it's the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive car in America. But that quirk is not a gimmick. The new Impreza boasts improved steering feel, safety features, and interior amenities, and a stylish, sporty design while maintaining price.
Body styles: Sedan, hatchback
Engine: 2.0-liter flat-4
Transmissions: CVT, five-speed manual
Models: 2.0i, 2.0i Limited, 2.0i Sport Limited, 2.0i Premium
Everything about the 2012 Impreza is new: 2.0-liter flat-4 cylinder engine, suspension, smaller fuel tank, but 30-percent increase in fuel mileage, electric power steering, CVT, driver's knee airbag, and tons of interior infotainment features.
The Impreza is completely redesigned for 2012, and now that it's separated from the WRX/STi, it has its own fresh styling cues. Although the exterior dimensions are similar to the 2011 model, the new Impreza's nose and tail don't protrude as far from the wheels, giving it the impression of being longer. The front end and grille are sporty, like the redesigned Legacy, and there are handsome wheel arches framing 16-, 17-, and 18-inch wheels.
While the exterior dimensions are similar to 2011, the new Impreza actually has more interior space--including larger trunk volume and backseat space. Subaru also upped the quality of materials inside the cabin, and made many connectivity and infotainment features standard. On Limited and Sport models, that includes a 4.3-inch LCD display, HD radio, and iTunes toggling. For Premium models, there is a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and a USB port, as well as iPod functionality.
Performance & Handling
Dimensions for the 2012 Impreza are similar to the 2011 model, but the Subaru has a new suspension and a smaller engine--though it also has less weight. These changes positively affect fuel mileage, and Subaru says the new model is as quick as the outgoing model, which means it's not very quick. But with a new electric power steering and familiar all-wheel drive, it's still a great-handling car.
Subaru has not released all of the info for the new Impreza, but the 2011 model was a Top Safety Pick by IIHS, and the 2012 model has a new knee airbag and whiplash protection front seats.
EPA Fuel Economy
2.0 CVT: 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway
2.0 5MT: 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway
- Visually striking
- Best AWD fuel economy
- Increased interior space
You Won't Like
- Less power than outgoing model
Promising improvements to an already good car.
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