The new 2017 Subaru Impreza welcomes a fresh new look, albeit one that is not entirely different to the model it replaces.
Not a lot has really changed under the bonnet either, the new-gen Impreza continues to be powered exclusively by a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine.
In the new one there is no manual transmission available, it’s CVT auto only.
The engine does benefit from a small power increase, 4.5%, for a new output of 115kW, and torque remains the same at 196Nm.
The biggest change comes underneath the skin with the new Impreza built on an all-new platform.
Subaru tell us this new platform is more-rigid than the one it replaces and this extra strength comes without any extra weight.
I got a drive of the all-new Subaru Impreza at the model’s Australian launch in Canberra and came away mostly quite impressed.
The good bits include the new chassis, which is stiff and helps give the all-wheel drive small car a safe and reassuring feel.
The firmness generally doesn’t come at the expense of comfort either, everything but the worst road deformations/potholes is handled nicely by the suspension.
I found the 18″ wheels and 40 Series tyres on the upper-spec model were superior when a more aggressive driving style was adopted.
The larger wheels/lower profile tyres though provided less ‘forgiveness’ on those bumps and cracks (as you would expect).
The extra go from the updated engine is a welcome, although at times when tackling hills it felt a bit lacking.
Perhaps a similar increase in torque would have helped boost the Impreza’s drive experience?
The boxer engine though helps keep the cars centre-of-gravity low and with a lower seating position than most of the competition the new Impreza handles extremely well.
A small turning circle, direct-enough steering and confidence-boosting grip were all noted on the test-drive.
Inside the new Impreza cabin you will find fit and finish that is on-par with any of it’s small car competitors.
All the controls are in the right places and the new driver info screen and top-of-dash mounted info screen are both attractive, as well as easy to read and easy to navigate.
The new centre infotainment screen is also a winner.
Displaying no sign of lag, clear graphics and easy to use interface, this one thing that will be sure to attract potential buyers.
I also like that underneath the screen you still have the traditional knobs for volume/tune and buttons to help you navigate the system.
Simple air-conditioning control are also welcome.
Soft arm rests, a nice steering wheel and comfortable seats are some of the other highlights.
The centre console bin is nicely-sized, though the glove box is relatively small and the door pockets are really only adequate for a water bottle and little else.
Sitting in the back of both the sedan and the hatch version of the new Impreza, I noticed the sedan’s sweeping roof impacted headroom, particularly to the extreme left and right of the roof.
Legroom though, front and back, seemed to be quite good.
The boot is not particularly deep, though the sedan in particular enjoys quite a wide and long configuration and the boot lip is quite low.
Safety is covered with a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The updated styling, EyeSight system (where fitted), updated tech, quality interior, all-wheel drive and very capable chassis are the highlights.
Perhaps a little more ‘hard-edged’ than some of the competition, if you’re after a “driver’s car” then the Impreza is a must-drive.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Subaru Impreza
Engine: 2.0 litre boxer engine producing 115kW/196Nm
Transmission: CVT auto
Safety: Five stars
Price: from $22,400