Bigger and Bolder
After a few trips to the gym and a shot of testosterone, the 2012 Impreza flexes its pumped up muscles, showing off bolder wheel arches and tighter lines. Styling is also now influenced by the Legacy with a borrowed hexagonal grill and “hawk-eye” headlights. And contributing function to form, Subaru has increased its windshield rake and slimmed down the A-pillars to improve visibility. But as impressive as it may look from the front and sides, we're really not as impressed with its posterior. The five-door hatchback's boxy buns dwarf the pint-sized tail lights, and the four-door's tail is a bit mellow compared to the rest of the sedan. They've also toned things down a notch by replacing the sporty twin exhaust with a single tailpipe.
Making some room for improvement, the new Impreza has also grown a bit by the lengthening its wheelbase, consequently upgrading passenger and cargo space for both models. And five-door fanatics would rejoice as they will now be able to haul more luggage with fold-flat rear seats. Besides the extra room, the 2012 edition should also offer a more refined interior, catering to the classier crowd. Gone are the sporty bucket seats and hard plastic trims that the old Impreza had. Instead, they are replaced with pleasing upscale pieces and soft-touch materials clad in the signature Subaru black.
The new Impreza had a change of heart by adopting the all-new 2.0 liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine from the 2011 Forester. A jump in technology means it's now a DOHC and packs the Dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS), optimizing performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions. And on top of the standard five-speed manual, Subaru is now offering a 6-speed Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with, get this, paddle shifters. Though the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive might send fuel-conscious citizens running for the hills, Subaru claims that, with the new engine and transmission combo, the 2012 Impreza can actually achieve 11.5 km/L in the city and 15.3 km/L on the highway.
Logically, since the Impreza should now be more fuel-efficient - a 30 percent improvement to be exact - the fuel tank has shrunk from 64 liters to a more manageable 55 liters without changing its range. This in turn translates to weight savings and an increase in cargo capacity.
Slugging it out in the overcrowded compact car arena is no walk in the park. And if the 2012 Impreza does arrive in the Philippines next year, it will go up against stiff competition as the other compacts are also due for a model change. The Impreza's top-notch handling and tuneability makes it a one-hit-wonder for track day junkies, but the improvements made to 2012 model is now geared to fit other walks of life. Fussy customers won't be convinced by its looks alone; that's why Subaru has made it bigger, better, and more fuel-efficient. Although it still doesn't measure up to its rivals in terms of sales, we're sure that Motor Image Pilipinas, the exclusive Philippine distributor of Subaru, won't be passing up the chance to sell this promising four-wheeler by the boat-load.