The Subaru Impreza was once one of the stellar performers in the small car class, but the popularity of the Subaru XV crossover has dented the sales fortunes of the Japanese brand’s hatch and sedan.
The company’s symmetrical all-drive system ensures that, unlike almost every single rival it plays against, drive is sent to both the front and the rear wheels at all times. The idea is that it will have better traction, and therefore better safety, if the road surface gets slippery.
There’s no denying that it works, but the added cost means the car will always be priced above its rivals. Add to that the fact many people probably may not necessarily care about the availability of all-wheel drive, particularly as the advent of potentially-life saving standard safety technologies like stability control means front-drive cars are often just as adept at remaining under control in dangerous situations.
The cost of entry grants the 2.0i-S niceties such as 17-inch alloys, an electric sunroof, side skirts and rear spoiler (the latter for the hatchback only), leather seat trim, power seat adjustment for the driver, sports pedals.
Those elements are added over the 6.1-inch touchscreen media unit with satellite navigation and reverse-view camera also offered on the 2.0i-L. No parking sensors are available on any Impreza model.
The media system can’t match competitors for ease of use, not to mention ease of visibility. The menus are small and not too easy to read – particularly on the move – and the actual touch zones are small, meaning you may end up accidentally selecting the wrong radio station. However, the Bluetooth phone and audio streaming works well, despite being a little fiddly to connect.
The front seats are comfortable but the leather material used is slippery, and there is not much in the way of built-in bolstering to keep you in place.
The rear seats are comfortable but flat, too, though there is decent space, even for taller adults. A lack of rear air-vents is annoying, though.
Storage is exceptional through the cabin, with large door pockets all-around, twin cup holders up front, a covered storage bin and flip-down armrest with cup holders in the rear. The boot, though, is short on space thanks a shallow floor, with 340 litres of space with the seats in place, and 771L with the seats folded down.
Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2014