The Subaru Impreza lacks the stylish appeal of competitors, but offers good comfort levels, a unique four-wheel-drive system and huge amount of kit.
The Subaru Impreza is available with just one engine option in Ireland. This is the 1.6 litre four cylinder RC petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The boxer engine that Subaru uses is good on economy but short on performance. From cold start, it can be quite vocal but warms to a reasonable hum. It gets 115bhp and 150Nm of torque so it is happy rambling around town and is a decent cruiser on the open road. There is also the high performance WRX STI model that packs a 2.5 litre turbo charged engine with 300bhp, but this is special order only.
The standard hatchback 1.6 Impreza is far from its toughest competitors like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus when it comes to driving dynamics. It may pack a clever four-wheel-drive system, but it is slow to change direction in the corners, feels wallowy and there is a considerable amount of body roll evident too. The upside to this softness is a comfortable ride that absorbs everyday road imperfection in its stride. It is particularly supple on motorway journeys. Its four-wheel-drive system is a handy addition if you require traction on varying surfaces, but its standard hatchback ride height means you won’t be taking over anything more than a flat field.
The Subaru Impreza hatchback is available with just one trim level. This is the RC 5MT & Lineartronic specification. It comes with a massive amount of kit as standard that includes Bluetooth, rear view camera, multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, Leather steering wheel and gear knob, heated front seats, dual zone climate control, daytime LED’s, auto headlights, auto wipers, a roof spoiler and 16 inch alloy wheels. It is a very impressive standard spec.
Climbing aboard the Impreza, first impressions are of a cabin that displays function rather than form. Like the exterior design, it lacks any flair and feels far from any of the aforementioned rivals above. The dashboard is constructed from a mix of standard quality dark materials with contrast aluminium or wood style inserts. While there is no real doubting the build quality, it just looks and feels drab compared to its competitors.
The Impreza hatchback has never undergone Euro NCAP crash safety tests, but it does come with a host of safety features and technology. This includes electronic stability control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment, hill start assist, vehicle dynamics control, tyre pressure monitor and a full set of airbags.
There is a decent amount of space in the cabin of the Impreza with ample head and legroom for two adults in the back seat. Access to the rear is also made easier by wide opening rear doors. Three children across the back seats would be very comfortable. Storage within the cabin is good too packing large door pockets, a nice sized glovebox and a central cubby. Boot space is decent too with 380 litre boot and rear seats that fold forward complete with a boot floor that rises to make it one flat opening.