The Subaru Impreza was once a niche car. It was a little bit different for drivers who could also be classified as being unique.
|Engine: Power comes from a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine making 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: A five-speed manual transmission is standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission optional.
Fuel Economy: With the automatic fuel economy is officially rated at 25 MPG city and 33 MPG highway.
Pricing: The 2014 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium begins at $20,590 after destination charges while our test vehicle came in at $23,826.
Slathered in scoops, vents and wings, even pedestrian Imprezas showcased some of Subaru’s rally mojo. But with each new generation of Impreza, things have gotten a little more mainstream and the fourth generation model introduced in 2012 has gone full-contemporary to appeal more to general consumers. It is no longer edgy like “Dookie” Green Day, but more mass-appealing like Broadway producing Green Day. Some even refer to it now as an all-wheel drive Toyota Corolla. That may make enthusiasts cringe, but it’s also high praise for a general consumer automobile.
Like a rock band gaining broader appeal, sales for the Impreza are on the rise; 2012 and 2013 were the best selling years for the Impreza by a long shot. As general consumers appear to be flocking to the little Subaru, we thought this car would be a perfect test for our own general consumer reviewer – my wife Amanda.
See Also: 2012 Subaru Impreza Sedan Review
The car we acquired is a 2014 Impreza 2.0i Premium sedan. Starting at a price of $20,590 after destination charges, our vehicle came in at $23,826 thanks to the addition of the all-weather package, alloy wheel package and two dealer installed items – a rear spoiler and fog lights. Buyers could save themselves $736 by avoiding the last two accessory items.
Easy to Become Familiar With
Amanda picked up the car on a Friday evening after a long week at work. Having never driven an Impreza before, she was pleasantly surprised at how easy the car is to adjust; something that usually does not happen for her at a height of 5’2”.
Seat, steering wheel and mirrors were all fine-tuned to her liking quickly. Being a little apprehensive behind the wheel of an unfamiliar car, the Impreza surprised Amanda at how easy it is to drive. Part of this has to do with a low curb weight of just 3,043 lbs., even with all-wheel drive hardware, that makes the car nimble and quick to respond to driver inputs. Opt for the five-speed manual transmission and weight dips below 3,000 lbs.
Since the 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine only makes 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, response from the engine and transmission has been engineered to happen instantly. Step on the accelerator pedal and the continuously variable transmission begins propelling this car with enough haste to make it feel far more powerful than it really is.
Amanda described it as having a lot of ‘pep’ and appreciated the smooth, swift acceleration. Maybe a little too much though. With an official fuel economy rating of 25 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway, she was only able to achieve an average of 22.6 MPG. In fairness, this number could increase with a little more time operating a CVT equipped car and it was the dead of winter during the test period. Plus, the car was rolling on aggressive, less-efficient winter tires.
All-Weather Capabilities put to the Test
While on the topic of winter, like virtually every week so far in 2014, it snowed a lot during her evaluation period. The day she picked-up the car was especially treacherous and back roads were taken during the drive home to avoid the chaos on local highways.
These roads were icy and covered in snow, made worse in spots by relentless blowing snow. Despite this being her first drive in the Impreza, she felt completely comfortable and had full confidence in the car. This isn’t just because it has all-wheel drive either. It mainly comes from Subaru’s perfectly symmetrical side-to-side balance, solid brakes, predictable steering and standard electronic safety systems.
Inside, Amanda liked the seat fabric, and found the simplistic center console easy to use. Many harp on Subaru’s radio for being out of date and of poor quality, but there is no denying how dead simple it is to operate. Being an unusually cold week, the heated seats from the all-weather package drew praise for how quickly they warmed up. As well, this package includes a windshield deicer that was put to good use during a week of airborne slop.
Sacrifices some Space
As much as the all-wheel drive is appreciated in wintery filth, there is a downside. To house the rear driveline components, trunk space and rear seat space suffer.
At only 35.4 inches, rear legroom is average at best for the class. Taller passengers can fit back there, but preferably for short to medium trips only. The trunk is worse off by allowing only 12 cubic feet of cargo. However, with the back seats folded down we were able to transport a 40” TV in a thick metal case without issue. The small trunk is still wide and long, it is just shallow as the floor is higher than a normal front-wheel drive compact.
Initially Amanda was a bit upset we didn’t get the hatchback version. With more utility and greater flexibility, it would better suit our lifestyle. However, she, like many others, does not appreciate the new hatchback’s blocky styling.
Although disappointed at first to have a sedan, as the week went on she actually grew to like it more than the hatchback thanks to the modern and more mature look of the 4-door – especially with the optional 17-inch wheels.
By the end of the week, the word “love” was being thrown around when referring to the Impreza. Yes: love!
Even as a previous two-time Subaru owner I was surprised by Amanda’s reaction.
The car may not be the most stylish, the fastest or the most technologically advanced, but it is simple to operate, nice to drive on the highway and city roads, and relatively easy to park. Her only real complaint aside from fuel consumption was that our test vehicle did not include a back-up camera (although one is available).
And like that, the Impreza sedan has suddenly become a front-runner as Amanda’s next car.