It’s called “the trickle down effect”, where technology and design filter through from the top to the entry level models. Such is the case with the slightly reskinned and revamped 2017 Subaru Impreza sedan and hatch, in L and S specification.It’s been pretty simple for Subaru; refine, improve, sell. And it’s worked, with the 2017 Subaru Impreza copping mild but noticeable sheetmetal changes, interior and specification upgrades, and subsequent exposure on road. For example, their hatch looks different to the sedan. No, not because one has four doors and the other five, there’s different approaches to the rear doors, with a taller look to the fixed window in the hatch. The fuel filler lid is closer to the tail lights in the hatch and the hatch had plastic inserts in the front bumper for what overseas markets get, washers for the headlamps. All of this in a length of 4625 mm in the sedan, 4460 mm for the hatch. Even height is slightly different, with the hatch 25 mm taller than the sedan.It’s also a smoother and somehow better looker than the previous version. There’s a redesign to the rear light cluster that tidies things up and at the front it’s…just better. Smoother, cleaner, less fussy, definitely easier on the eye. C shaped LEDs bracket (and mirror the tail lights) a chrome strip in the grille and sit nicely above halogen globe driving lights.Inside, it’s subtly different from the previous model, with a different look to the screens located in the centre and upper dash. Information for the upper section has been reformatted and is still accessible via the steering wheel’s buttons. The eight inch touchscreen is cleaner in layout, making it more driver (and passenger) friendly, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on board. The hatch in S spec has an array of buttons just above the driver’s right knee, which includes tyre pressure adjustment, blind spot warning, and SRH or Steering Responsive Headlights.The L sedan received charcoal and grey cloth pews, with the S spec running up to leather and heated (only, no ventilation, a must for the Aussie market) seats, with both test cars being given black and ivory trim. The S also gets rain sensing wipers, 8 way power seats, and satnav over the L specification, plus a glass roof. The sedan also gets a reasonable 460L boot, with the hatch starting at 345L before looking at 790L with seats down.All variants receive the 2.0L flat four, with 115 kilowatts @ 6000 rpm, and 196 torques @ 4000 rpm. Transmission options are simple. There aren’t any. You’ll get a CVT with seven programmed ratios and you’d be forgiven for wondering if that’s a good thing. The simple answer is yes. Subaru’s CVT setup works best with light to medium throttle from a standstill, as there’s instant grab from the system. A heavy right foot really makes no difference until you’re under way. It’s here the pair come alive, with that all paw footing and the CVT’s linear delivery of torque really combine to imbue a genuine sense of that technical word “oomph”. Brakes work efficiently too, with almost just the right amount of travel before bite and a lovely, well modulated, feel as you increae pressure which doesn’t leave the driver wondering if they’ll pull up in time.The S also picks up Active Torque Vectoring, which Subaru says: Subaru Active Torque Vectoring (ATV) applies light brake pressure to the inside front wheel as your Subaru car carves a corner, which pushes more power to the outside front wheel, reducing wheel spin and sharpening handling. It’s unnoticeable until you think about what it’s doing when you pile into corners and curves. It’s then that the handling aspect of the S shakes your hand and introduces itself to you. But by no measure does the L spec feel underprepared, as it rides just as nicely, with perhaps a touch more tautness across the yumps, lumps, and bumps found around Sydney’s highways and freeways. There’s the same rolling diameter to help, with the S getting Yokohama rubber at 225/40/18 whilst the rest of the field go down a size wheel wise, and up a size tyre wise, at 205/50/17 from Bridgestone.You’ll find that you’ll get good economy along the way, with Subaru quoting 7.2L per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle. Punch it around town, though, and potentially you’ll see north of 9.0L per 100 kilometres. That’s on the specified 91 RON from a smallish fifty litre tank.
Safety is ANCAP rated five stars, with front, curtain, side and knee airbags, along with ISOFIX child seat mouts, seat belt height ajusters for driver and passenger, and Subaru’s “Ring” safety cell. You’ll also receive the three year/unlimited kilometre warranty, three year capped price servicing, and twelve months roadside assistance.
At The End Of The Drive.
Subaru really don’t seem to be doing anything wrong at the moment. The Outback and Forester range are selling well, the BRZ is doing fine and the Liberty sedans seem to be more prevalent on the roads. There’s a new XV on the way and in between them all is the mainstay, the Impreza.
Both sedan and hatch, in 2017 guise, have raised the small to mid sized sedan and hatch bar even further. Under withering fire from the Focus, i30, Cerato, Astra and the perennial Corolla, the “other” Japanese car company continues to win hearts and adherents to the star flagged brand.
Naturally there’s a price to pay for these standout vehicles and you can talk to your local Subaru dealer to find that out or go here: Subaru Australia pricing