2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium Hatchback Manual
Date: October 2012
Months in Fleet: 9 months
Current Mileage: 21,787 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 28 mpg
Range: 406 miles
Normal Wear: $0
Damage and Destruction: $5533.83
Our favorite Impreza logbook entry so far: “It’s like going to the grocery store in your sweatpants.” This analogy is apt. The car is roomy, comfortable, oddly enjoyable at times, but not necessarily something you want to experience on a daily basis.
Roominess was confirmed when your author was able to fit twelve tires and a set of 14-inch wheels into the Impreza, with only one of the rubber circles riding shotgun. This deceptive capaciousness is a result of a huge back seat and a pretty ample cargo hold behind it. A great reason to opt for the hatch over the sedan.
We noted the car’s comfortable seats when it was introduced to our fleet. They continue to receive handwritten props, although some drivers don’t fit between the bolsters as well as others. Along with the seats, the suspension tuning has been called out for its coddling state of tune. Just imagine how reposeful you’d be if you drove this car to the grocery store while wearing sweatpants. Frighteningly, we think.
What’s not comforting are the sounds the Impreza makes at highway speed. There’s a whistling of some sort coming from, well, somewhere; a drivetrain whine that one staffer’s musical spouse has identified as an F-sharp; and tire noise that only gets worse as speed builds. It seems that perhaps some of the weight trimming done from the last generation to this one involved reducing sound-deadening materials.
Back Up a Second
Many have noted that the Impreza doesn’t like to go into reverse. Sometimes it takes a couple of jabs to get the shifter to slide into the gate, and when it does pop in it’s usually accompanied by a clunk and some gear gnashing. It’s most difficult to engage when the car is cold.
On the subject of the transmission, we’ve had another logbook entry call for another forward gear. The five-speed would benefit from a sixth pal on the highway. Plus, the ratio spread is such that low-speed parking-lot maneuvers and some slow turns require a downshift to first. And some patience. Often both. That said, you won’t hear us complaining about the Subaru’s fuel economy; somehow, our running average has ratcheted up from 25 mpg to 28 since we first checked in on the car.
As long as we’re picking nits: There’s no latch on the center-console lid, just an armrest that flops down over the opening. It looks like it was designed for one, as the bin surround has what appears to be a cutout that would accept a latch hook—it might be included in different markets, or it’s a vestigial remnant from a last-minute design change/cost-cutting move.
You May Have Noticed a Pattern
Hail damage. Lots of it. Several of our long-term cars—the Focus and ournow-departed Countryman among them—got caught in a serious storm one afternoon in our parking lot, and the Impreza was right there with them. It wins the prize for Most Damaged By Frozen Water—between the dent removal, some body-panel replacement, and a new windshield, we spent $5533.83 to put the Impreza back to normal. That’s a little over a quarter of the car’s price when new.
The Impreza, being a car, requires service occasionally. We’re on a 7500-mile schedule, so it has been to the dealer two times for an oil change and tire rotation. Aside from our weather-related mishap, the car has needed no other professional attention.
One staffer, who drove the Subaru about 2400 miles in a few days (he happens to be the only one to have done anything so ambitious in the Impreza), concluded that the car is itself almost a non-entity. The engine doesn’t love to rev, nor does it hate it. It handles okay, and the ride is great. At the halfway mark, we struggle to find anything exceptionally negative or positive to say about the car—all praise seems to be tempered. That may not be such a bad thing for someone looking for simple transportation. We’ll look to the second half of the test to sway us one way or the other. Part 2
News Car Reviews 2012