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Subaru Impreza

OUT TO IMPREZZ? (some text hidden)

The Subaru name is synonymous with 4WD - and all-wheel traction is a standard feature of the latest fifth generation Impreza hatch. June Neary takes a look.

Will It Suit Me?word count: 72

Were I to be looking for a family hatchback, I very much doubt that Subaru's Impreza would figure highly on my shortlist. After driving one recently, I've begun to think that maybe I should think again on that point. Quirky this car may be but it's a lot less quirky than it used to be, with a family-friendly five-door body and standard all-wheel drive. Time to give this car a second chance.

Practicalitiesword count: 134

There's nothing about the car's appearance that overtly pokes you in the eye and shouts Impreza! At least the interior is a big step forward though. The tough plastics and staid design of the old car have finally been axed in favour of the superior quality materials and modern layout in this model. The much cleaner dashboard layout features a pair of screens in the middle of the console, the bigger eight inch one displaying the navigation and infotainment controls and featuring Subaru's 'STARLINK' multimedia system. A multi-function display sits on top of the dashboard, too. Maximum luggage capacity has also increased by 10 litres by having a 100mm wider boot opening and the depth of the boot is also longer by 41mm. The 385-litre capacity figure isn't anything to write home about though.

Behind the Wheelword count: 232

As you'd expect from Subaru, four-wheel drive is standard on every model, making the car a sure-fire favourite with country dwellers. The set-up in question is the company's 'Symmetrical AWD system', a package the brand has been perfecting since 1972. No other family hatchback in this class offers 4x4 traction and it's even a very rare feature to find in affordable compact Crossover models. Even better, this is a 'proper' four-wheel drive layout - by which I mean a set-up that constantly shunts power to each wheel, rather than, as with cheaper systems, simply reacting when the front wheels slip. Subaru's favoured horizontally-opposed 'Boxer' engine layout is as usual employed across the model line-up. It produces a low centre of gravity in the car helping the latest Impreza retain its high levels of grip and steering accuracy while minimising body roll. That's also aided by the stiffness of this MK5 model's new Subaru Global Platform. There are no diesels this time round, so buyers must choose between a 114PS 1.6-litre petrol unit or a 156PS 2.0-litre powerplant. Subaru's Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission is now a conditional part of ownership. As for handling, well Subaru claims the new chassis increases body rigidity by as much as 70% in comparison to the previous model. The centre of gravity has been lowered by 5mm, too, which the brand claims will boost handling, steering and responsiveness.

Value For Moneyword count: 210

You won't be buying an Impreza if you're looking for the cheapest option on the Focus or Golf-dominated family hatchback sector - but then you would expect that given that this car comes only with 4WD and auto transmission, plus a high standard of equipment. You'll be looking at list figures that start at just over £23,000 for the 1.6-litre model and rise to around £24,000 for the 2.0-litre variant. There's just a single level of trim - 'SE'. Standard is an eight-inch touchscreen 'Starlink' infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections and a DAB radio. It also features connected car capabilities including emergency assistance, remote car functions and servicing updates, similar to Vauxhall's OnStar service. Also standard is Subaru's 'EyeSight' safety system which includes pre-collision braking and throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keep assist technologies. Plus blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert will all also be available as part of the Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection System suite of driver assists. The institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis in Japan produced a study of Subaru vehicles involved in accidents 2010-2014 and found that there were 61% fewer accidents involving EyeSight equipped cars versus cars without EyeSight.

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Category: Compact Family Cars

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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