Subaru buyers are a loyal bunch. They keep their cars a long time and they often return to Subaru dealerships when it’s time for a new one. So, when Subaru redesigns a car that has been popular with buyers — one like the 2017 Subaru Impreza — it’s an important development.
Subaru has been on a roll lately, increasing sales from about 200,000 cars a year in 2008 to more than 600,000 this year. When you manage to triple your business in less than eight years, you begin to think about how to keep the momentum going. Enter the 2017 Impreza.
Subaru’s entry-level sedan is aimed squarely at Millennials in an effort to move more buyers into the brand. The company figures if it can get young drivers into the fold, they’ll likely stay a while.
The 2017 Impreza debuts a new global platform that will underpin nearly all Subaru vehicles in the future, including electric vehicles, according to Michael McHale, director of corporate communications for Subaru of America.
“We’ve clearly hit the right buttons,” McHale told journalists gathered for the West Coast launch of the Impreza. “People like what we’re selling. What they really want is safety and reliability, and we’re pretty good at that.”
The next generation Impreza, which comes as either a sedan or five-door, is longer and wider than its predecessor. It’s also lower to the ground, which helps improve handling and aerodynamics.
“This car is really new,” said Todd Hill, Impreza car line manager. “We’ve changed everything. Even the things we don’t ever change. It’s as new as it gets.”
The Impreza features a new sculpted design and lots of sophisticated technology designed to make everyone in the car happy and safe. Like nearly every Subaru, all 2017 Imprezas get the company’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment.
Including destination charges, the new Impreza 2.0i with the CVT starts at $19,395, the 2.0i Premium starts at $21,195, the 2.0i Sport starts at $21,995 and the 2.0i Limited starts at $24,095. The Impreza is being assembled in Indiana, the first time the Impreza has been built on American soil.
During a daylong test drive in the hills outside of San Diego, I found the Impreza nimble and fun to drive. The cabin was quiet, roomy, and comfortable, with good head- and legroom. In fact, Subaru says, the Impreza has the most interior volume in its class. The car seemed planted on the road and remained relatively flat when diving into hard corners.
The 2016 Impreza was a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, and I’d expect the same for the new model, especially when equipped with the optional EyeSight system.
EyeSight is a suite of safety technologies designed to keep accidents from happening in the first place. Included are adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, lane departure systems, blind spot detection, and rear cross traffic alert systems. New for 2017 is reverse automatic braking, which will apply the brakes before you back into another car or object. Also new are adaptive headlights with automatic high beams. Subaru has always been known for building safe vehicles, and the 2017 Impreza might be the safest yet.
Powering the 2017 Impreza is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine that develops 152 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a CVT automatic with a seven-speed manual shift mode. All but the base trim come with paddle shifters.
Subaru projects the 2017 Impreza will get 38 miles per gallon in highway driving and 28 mpg in the city. It’s not class-leading, but remember, this is a vehicle with AWD.
Connectivity and infotainment is via Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. System upgrades add things like stolen vehicle recovery, remote lock/unlock and remote vehicle locator, maintenance notifications, automatic notification and collision response, and enhanced roadside assistance. Subaru knows infotainment is important to Millennials and has used big-name manufacturers like Harmon Kardon for audio systems. Three audio units are offered with 6.5-inch or 8-inch screens.
— Steve Wheeler, Motor Matters
2017 SUBARU IMPREZA 2.0i
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger AWD compact sedan
BASE PRICE___________________ $18,395 (as tested: $19,215)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 16-valve Boxer 4-cylinder w/DFI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 152 at 6000 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 145 at 4000 rpm
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 182.1 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 35.4 ft.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,034 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 13.2 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 28 mpg city, 38 mpg highway