2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium Review ZipRage-4

The Ride:

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium

The Review:

For 2012 Subaru is trying to combat the two biggest complaints customers had about the last generation car; fuel economy and looks. Designers and engineers went all out to make the new 2012 Impreza more attractive and more fuel efficient in hopes that the car would no longer require such justifications as, “It’s really fun to drive, so I don’t mind it being ugly.”

Starting with fuel economy, the new Impreza is lighter by about 60 pounds and my tester came equipped with Subaru’s new top-of-the-line CVT. By shedding a few pounds and throwing in a CVT the Impreza 2.0i Premium is good for 27 city/36 highway mpg. My real world driving reflected those numbers and they’re a huge improvement over the previous Impreza’s 20/26 mpg rating. Remember that the Impreza is an all-wheel drive vehicle and the numbers look damn impressive.
Besides reducing heft and adding in the CVT, the Impreza’s new 2.0-liter flat-4 is the corner stone upon which the vehicles fuel efficiency was built. The new FB20 engine is down 500cc from its predescessor’s 2.5-liters, unfortunately it also lost some power and torque. The FB20 produces 148 hp and 145 ft-lb of torque, the previous Impreza put of 170 hp and 170 ft-lb of torque for comparison. Losing power, however, as we are quickly adjusting to understanding isn’t alway as bad as it sounds. The 2012 Impreza is actually quicker.

The 2012 Impreza 2.0i Premium did 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds for me and will do the quarter-mile in 17.2. Faster in both respects than it’s predecessor. The Impreza is no slouch when it comes to handling either. It felt at home in the twisties and handles mountain roads, whether climbing or descending, with aplomb.

While it’s quicker, the Impreza still isn’t fast when you look at the numbers. In fact, the numbers look rather unimpressive. But with that said, when you put it all together the Impreza exudes fun — it’s an absolute blast to drive and the actual driving experience can not be explained through figures, it feels fast and that’s what really matters.

Subaru stiffened the chassis on the new Impreza and it seems to have paid off. All-wheel drive and the new stiff chassis combine to offer a very fun and toss-able ride. The car will easily carve corners at high-speed while remaining perfectly composed. I found myself pushing the car through corners hard and often, because it’s too much fun not to. Only complaint, the eco-themed tires that squealed and squeaked. Overall, it’s a car that just works, it cruises the city streets and parallel parks as well as it’ll get sideways on a dirt road.

Subaru’s second generation Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs I’ve driven. It doesn’t suffer from the lifelessness many exude and it doesn’t rubber band constantly. Subaru’s CVT ditched the rubber belt for a metal one and I think it makes a palpable difference. The transmission feels perfectly linear and exactly how a CVT should. It’s unobtrusive and doesn’t harm the fun of driving the Impreza.

As far as looks go, the Impreza no longer disappoints. The last-gen Impreza was a little less than inspiring in the aesthetics department, it was actually a bit dopey-looking. The new Impreza is actually pretty handsome.

The interior is also highly improved. The interior trim is functional, stylish and comfortable though I would like to see the somewhat cheap looking digital trip computer off the center stack. The seats proved comfortable, the rear spacious and the trunk highly accessible and adequately sized.

The 2012 Subaru Impreza is more fuel efficient, slightly faster, better looking, a blast to drive and it does all that at the same price point as the last generation vehicle.

Bragging Rights:

The Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium is quicker, better handling, better looking and more fuel efficient than the ones that came before it.  An absolute blast to drive.

The Price:

My Impreza 2.0i Premium came in at $23,014 after the addition of a CVT and an all-weather package.

Windup:

The new Impreza brings a lot to the crowded compact segment. The new Impreza is a more attractive, fuel efficient, fun-to-drive, and versatile car that should finally stand out for more than just having all-wheel drive.

The Photos: