Over the last year Subaru unveiled two concept versions of the Impreza, providing brief glimpses regarding what we can expect from the next production model. Now we finally get a full view of the new Impreza as Subaru takes the wraps off both the sedan and 5-door at the 2016 New York Auto Show. After eight consecutive years of sales increases for the brand, Subaru hopes this new Impreza will help continue that impressive run.
Most obvious is the updated styling on this next-generation Impreza. The signature grille and hawk-eye headlights that we’ve seen on the concepts carry through to the production model, and the bold fender flares are a nice touch. The sleeker look is also functional, improving aerodynamics with a lower coefficient of drag than the previous version. This new Impreza is longer and wider than the outgoing model by about 1.5 inches in both dimensions, while height is about .4 inches lower. Not only does this give the small car a more planted, aggressive stance, it provides a roomier interior.
New Global Platform
Less obvious than styling updates is Impreza’s all-new global platform, which will be the basis for all of the next generation of Subaru vehicles. With liberal use of high-strength steel throughout, the new Impreza should be quieter and have better ride comfort. Structural rigidity gets increased by 70 percent, which also should improve agility and handling — although the outgoing model was already pretty good in these areas. A revised suspension system also contributes to overall drivability — the double-wishbone independent rear suspension mounts its rear stabilizer bar directly to the body. Subaru claims this reduces body roll by 50 percent.
Power comes from a revised 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine that gets direct injection for the new model year. This bumps horsepower up slightly to 152 compared to 148 in the current model. The transmission will be either a manual gearbox or an available continuously variable unit that can act like a 7-speed automatic with seven preset ratios activated by paddle shifters. Of course all Imprezas feature Subaru’s sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.
For 2017 Subaru offers the Impreza Sport as both a sedan or 5-door. The Sport is differentiated with LED running lights, a black-finish grille and body-color rocker panels. The sedan gets a rear spoiler while the 5-door features special gloss-black tailgate trim. Inside, a unique black upholstery with red stitching carries its design queue throughout the interior. Impreza Sport also gets tuned suspension, Active Torque Vectoring and 18-inch alloy wheels.
In addition to the Sport, Impreza will be available in 2.0i base, Premium and Limited trims. Even the base version will be well equipped, featuring a 6.5-inch touchscreen display as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top-level Limited has moved further into the realm of luxury with LED headlights, 17-inch machine-finish alloy wheels, steering-responsive headlights, leather interior trim, keyless entry and start, and a high-end harmon/kardon audio system.
The Impreza — along with the rest of the Subaru AWD lineup — frequently qualifies as an IIHS Top Safety Pick + and the company designed this new Impreza to outperform its predecessor. Subaru claims the new Impreza improves crash absorption by 40 percent over the current generation. The new Impreza will be available the Eyesight, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, as well as a Lane Keep Assist functions.
New Driver-Assist Tech
One of the new driver-assist technologies available on the new Impreza is Reverse Automatic Braking. The vehicle will automatically apply the brakes if an obstacle is detected while backing up. Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also available, as is the new High Beam Assist, which automatically activates and deactivates the high-beam headlights as needed.
Built in America
The 2017 model will be the first Impreza built in America. Manufacturing will be at Subaru’s facility in West Lafayette, Indiana, alongside the Legacy and Outback . Look for the Impreza to begin arriving in showrooms later this year. Pricing is expected to be announced closer to the on-sale date.