Bold four-door concept shows how next Scooby will be spiced up for its late 2011 launch
Julian Rendell
18 November 2010

Subaru will spice up the next-generation Impreza next year, with vastly more contemporary styling in a drive to lift flagging sales.

Revealed as the Impreza Design Concept at today’s Los Angeles motor show, this new small saloon previews a European-flavoured design language with strong shoulders and more complex body surfacing, beefed up with wide sills and bulging arches.

The strong shoulders and arcing roofline look rather Volvo-like and emphasise strength much more than today’s bland design.

See the official pic of the new Subaru Impreza Design Concept - now updated with LA show pics

Subaru claims the concept “conveys a sporty and lively four-door coupé style” and says that it has “blended two design ideas — dynamic flow and confident stance — to showcase performance, driving enjoyment and quality”. The concept’s grille design is already on the current Legacy — but the gaping brake vents and angled headlights are new. And the Legacy’s pronounced wheel arch bulges are exaggerated further on this concept.

It is significant that the next Impreza is being shown as a four-door, the body style that’s provided the bulk of sales since launch in 1992. Subaru took a calculated risk to move today’s Impreza into the mainstream by designing a five-door hatch first and then spinning off a four-door, to take on Europe’s best brands in their heartland. But the plan misfired and the Impreza has failed to conjure up the magic of previous generations.

Read Autocar's first drive of the new Subaru WRX STi saloon

Subaru also hasn’t mentioned two-wheel drive — suggesting that the experiment with 2WD on today’s Impreza will also be abandoned, despite pressure to cut emissions.

Under the bonnet of the concept is a hallmark flat four engine in 2.0-litre capacity. It’s understood to be a new unit derived from the 2.5-litre boxer that powers the Forester in the US.

Subaru appears to be ploughing its own furrow in next-gen transmissions by mating the motor to a CVT, rather than a dual-clutch ’box. That also supports parent company Fuji Heavy, which supplies CVTs to other manufacturers, notably Nissan.

Julian Rendell

See all the latest Subaru Impreza reviews, news and video

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Comments
16

17 November 2010

Anything is better than the current very bland design. This is a more modern angular design and while it does remind me a bit of previous Astra's it is good looking enough. The other major let down in Subaru's has always been the awful interiors. My sister decided not to get the then current WRX as the interior was so bad. At the moment I am looking for a 4x4 car and the main off putting point is still the interior (10 years later). I do like the Subaru all model 4x4 approach and wish it would match Honda/Toyota or even a VW for the interior look and feel, then they would be a class act. Otherwise you always feel it's a cheap alternative to other brands offering Quattro and xDrive. But good on Subaru to recognize and make the change to a modern design and not plough on with the current bland horror. Jim.

17 November 2010

If it drives as well as it looks it will be great for Subaru.lets hope the interior has quality too

17 November 2010

[quote mx5xm] The other major let down in Subaru's has always been the awful interiors. [/quote] The previous generation Legacy had a very good interior, I drove one for just under 3 years and it held up very well and was just as good IMO as an Audi or BMW build wise and very well specified. I will agree the Imprezza has always had a poor interior. The latest Legacy interior looks ok, but I havent bothered trying it, I cant get beyond the poor range of engines and gearbox combinations and its plain ugly to boot. This looks far better than anything they have previously offered, but please Subaru can we go back to the frame less windows.

17 November 2010

Phew!

That's more like it Subaru.

The last design was a right minger.

17 November 2010

[quote Locknload66]

Phew!

That's more like it Subaru.

The last design was a right minger.

[/quote]

Whatever anyone thinks about the current Subaru designs, they need to see the bigger picture. Just because the look may not be to everyones taste (what car is? E Type?) doesn't mean its wrong. By losing a few UK customers they've gained many more, especially in the USA. Subaru US is doing very well even in the current market conditions. Us brits think the world revolves around us and as such everything should be designed and built to our tastes. We're a tiny country. End of.

As for interiors, as with everything you pay your money, and make your choice. They might not be up to Audi quality, agreed. The Audi drivers can admire their interiors while waiting for the recovery wagon. I know where I'd rather the money was spent. Only Honda match Subaru for reliability. Nothing matches Subaru's AWD though. That includes VAG's quattro / 4motion / whatever they call it.

Think the new design looks nice though, for what its worth.

17 November 2010

Dear 73henny,

So was the last Subaru a Minger then?

R.S.V.P

Yours Faithfully

Me.

17 November 2010

I've got to say that the current Impreza's interior is ok; it's fine. I've had a look in some Toyotas recently and even cleaned up the finish of the plastics - even in the showroom they were getting badly marked!

What did p' me off with the interior of the current Impreza was it just felt too small for me, and I had the hand brake digging in to my leg. My 03 plate Impreza was fine, it held up very nicely too and even after 90k miles it still looked that it had only done a fraction of the miles (honestly, you'd think it had done no more than 30k if that). So they do hold up if looked after.

As for the looks of the concept, well, it's just not that exciting. Being a concept you don't have to worry that there's no head room in the rear, nor the proportions are all wrong with the massive wheel arches. The current car could easily be improved with an alternative grill; I think next year's STi will have a different bumper too.

Biggest problem for the 2011 Impreza is the massive price hike from 26k to 33k. Yes, same car, £ 33k....

17 November 2010

[quote Locknload66]

Dear 73henny,

So was the last Subaru a Minger then?

R.S.V.P

Yours Faithfully

Me.

[/quote]

All I was trying to say was, just because you or I or anyone else doesn't like one design, it doesn't mean that everyone won't like it. Nor should we expect cars to designed to 'euro tastes'. Do I like the current design?, in my opinion its not the best looking car. But I liked it enough to buy a new STi back in 08. But I didn't buy it for its looks. I bought it for its performance, reliability, and as I live in the highlands its all weather grip. Due to a growing family I recently changed it to a Legacy. Why?, not because of its looks, but because of its reliability, space, proper AWD, comfort, equipment, refinement.

We'd live in a very boring country if we all liked, or valued the same things. I buy my cars with reliability a lot further up my list of priority than looks. Hence I have a Subaru and the Mrs has a Mazda. We can look at pretty cars as we pass them on the hard shoulder.

18 November 2010

i completely agree. subaru's have rubbish interiors. but what a look! what a look! I will buy this because subaru's last forever

18 November 2010

[quote 73henny] We can look at pretty cars as we pass them on the hard shoulder.[/quote]

Very witty! We have a Smart turbo, Forester XT and an Audi A3 2.0T cabrio and the only one that has ever failed to proceed is the Audi!

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