Subaru automobiles have been produced by the Japanese firm, Fuji Heavy Industries, and since 1968 they have been exported to America. The man responsible for bringing Subaru to our shores was Malcolm Bricklin, a fact that I have mentioned in earlier Subaru reviews. Bricklin’s later brainchild, a car named after himself (again, that wasn’t a Bricklin in “Back to the Future”) was named one of the “50 worst cars of all time” by Time Magazine. But the Subaru automobile is one of the most popular cars in Colorado, as it is in other states such as New Hampshire. Subarus in Mississippi? Not too many.
The Subaru I tested this past week, both in Greeley and in the mountains, was the Impreza 2.0 Premium four-door sedan. It has been re-styled for 2012 with the intent of gaining more resemblance to its big brother, the Subaru Legacy. The 2.0 has just that, a 2.0 liter “boxer” four-cylinder power plant producing 148 horsepower and 145 lb. ft. of torque. That is 22 horsepower less than the 2011 Impreza sedan, but the new car is 110 lb. lighter, as well. Nonetheless, I don’t think this new model can keep up with last year’s Impreza. Economy is good, however, with ratings of 27/city and 36/highway. I observed 30 mpg during my week of city/mountain driving with the car, and the fuel was drawn out of a 14.5 gallon tank. All-wheel drive, a Subaru staple, is another feature of this Impreza. The wheels are powered through a continuously variable transmission (with paddle shifters on the steering column), which helps account for the economy. It also helps account for the performance – I would prefer a manual five speed.
The “Premium” Impreza I tested had a base M.S.R.P. of $19,095 and had as options the CVT transmission ($1,000), and package #29 ($3,000), which included heated front seats and outside mirrors. Also included were 17” alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power moonroof, and the GPS navigation system. Total, with freight and floor mats, came to $23,914. The Premium also includes a full complement of things such as power windows that disappear into the doors, power locks, keyless entry, XM radio, CD player, IPod connection, and Bluetooth capability.
Styling of the Impreza has been improved for 2012, with distinctive wheel arches to draw attention to the Symmetrical all-wheel drive chassis. The fifteen-spoke alloy wheels were dressy and were surrounded by 205/50R17 Yokohama Avid S-34 all-season radials. My test car came in Ice Silver metallic and the interior featured black Tricot fabric seating for five. Legroom in the rear seating compartment is nearly three feet, but no armrest exists in that area. The trunk can handle 12 cubic feet of luggage.
At just under $24,000, I wouldn’t rate this compact as a “recommended” purchase if it didn’t have a moonroof – or all-wheel drive – or a navigation system. But all that equipment is on hand, so this is a car that deserves a look; something it seems to get from a lot of Coloradoans.
Tags: AWD, car, CVT, Fuji Heavy Industries, GPS, Heavy, highway, Ice Silver, lot, Malcolm Bricklin, New Hampshire, Premium Impreza, rate, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, system, Time Magazine, week, XM, Yokohama Avid