Built on Subaru’s latest underpinnings and using all-wheel drive as standard, the fifth-generation Impreza serves as a left field C-segment alternative to the likes of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
The new car is 10mm lower, 35mm wider and has a 25mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor, enabling cabin and boot space to grow for improved practicality. The boot can swallow 1280 litres of luggage with the rear seats down, which is 10 litres better than the old car and 70 better than the Astra can offer.
Following the new XV, the Impreza will be the second model to use Subaru’s new Global Platform that is claimed to vastly improve handling and refinement. Subaru said it has set the car up to be “firm, but comfortable”, promising quicker responses and higher quality damping.
The new structure has also enabled a 40% improvement in collision energy absorption, something the brand says vastly improves crash safety. This physical improvement combines with Subaru’s Eyesight system, which uses cameras to enable automatic pre-collision control of the brakes and throttle, lane keep assist and rear incident alerts, actively preventing or reducing an impact.
Just two engines are offered with the new Impreza, both of which are four-cylinder boxer petrol units. The first is the 1.6-litre unit that was used as the sole offering in the previous Impreza, with an identical 112bhp and 111lb ft. But the car has now gained the option of a direct injection 2.0-litre unit with 154bhp and 145lb ft.
Both engines send drive through a CVT gearbox, marking the first time such a transmission has been used in an all-wheel drive application. The so-called Lineartronic ‘box has been engineered with a damper to help smooth out power delivery and reduce the rev surge some CVTs cause. It’s said to improve fuel efficiency, although no economy figures have been revealed at this stage.
The new Impreza will go on sale later this year at a price that’s expected to stay relatively close to the £18,995 of the outgoing car. If the price remains similar, it’ll allow the new Impreza to undercut the £19,635 Focus, but it won’t be low enough to beat the Astra and its £16,535 opener.