Drive Time: New lines for ’17 enhance Subaru Impreza
February 10, 2017
Subaru's "ugly duckling," showing up this month in a refashioning for 2017, is casting a comely reflection aimed at popularity gain.
Subaru has sent one my way, and, let me be so bold as to say, "the Impreza is impressive."
I'm driving the Impreza Sport, a hatchback wagon. Like other Subarus, it is equipped with symmetrical all-wheel drive.
Its new lines, designed from a new Subaru global platform, exceed the Impreza's former architecture. It is an inch longer in wheelbase and 2 inches longer in overall length for a roomier cabin. The increased size added 100 pounds to curb weight.
Oh, it's still slow, but it features sport-tuned suspension with Stablex dampers, which expand at low speed to allow more movement of suspension for better ride control and reduces at high speed to minimize body movements. Its Yokohama P225/40R18 tires are probably aimed more at handling than ride comfort.
And, regarding the "slow" assessment, as I drove it, I moved the shifter into manual mode for lower gear and higher revs, and it performed some better in the traffic of northern Colorado.
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A 152-horsepower, 148 lb.-ft. torque, 2.0-liter boxer-4-cylinder engine beneath the hood is tied to a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. The optional simulated 7-speed manual-mode with paddle shifters adds greatly to satisfactory response. With the CVT in normal mode, an aggressive foot of the driver will get the occasional whine on heavy acceleration.
The Impreza, which has never sold at a pace near those of the Subaru Outback, Legacy and Forester, has taken off fast from the early arrivals in Greeley.
"We've sold those we've received," said David Slone, general manager of Greeley Subaru, "and are stocking up heavily now for next weekend's (Feb. 17-18) 2017 Impreza Launch Event at the dealership," during which there will be giveaways and chance to try out the new vehicles.
Slone said since the move of Greeley Subaru from its former location on 8th Avenue into the large, new building at 4720 W. 24th St., "Our business has increased 50 percent across the board."
The new model, built at the Subaru plant in Lafayette, Ind., is the first Impreza produced in America. They were formerly imported from Japan.
In its new, larger size, the Impreza will compete with the Honda Civic, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf.
Jan, in a ride Thursday morning, mentioned noticeable improved comfort and support in the seatbacks over previous models. A sound-insulation windshield contributes to a quieter interior.
The flat-four engine and CVT earned a relatively high EPA fuel-mileage estimate of 27/36 miles per gallon. My drives in the Impreza review model averaged out at 27.8 mpg. Fuel-tank capacity is 13.2 gallons.
The Impreza Sport's base price of $22,495 was raised to sticker total of $27,060 with addition of four optional items – EyeSight Driver Assist with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warnings and blind-spot detection; the CVT with manual mode; power moonroof; Harmon Kardon radio.
Specifications for the '17 Impreza include 105.1-inch wheelbase; 175.6-inch overall length; 20.8-cubic-foot cargo space at the rear; 3.183-pound curb weight.
— Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at email@example.com.