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2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Hatchback Review & Test Drive

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In life, there are a few things that we can count on for their trustworthiness whether it be your best friend, a family member, your dog, or sometimes, your car. Subaru has been a longstanding brand that has stood the test of time to be a trusted go-to for decent transportation appliances found in the loved Impreza sedan and hatchback. Recently, Subaru has put additional highlights on active safety wrapped up in an affordable package making the newly redesigned Impreza a more attractive buy for anyone.

>> Get the best price on the Subaru Impreza from a network of local dealers now. <<

The new Subaru Impreza gets completely redesigned for the 2017 model year and is available as a sedan or hatchback. The welcomed redesign improves upon usable interior space with the Impreza sedan and hatchback now making a wider track while taking on a new styling language that only subtly moves the attraction needle. In my opinion and assessment, the Impreza still leaves much to be desired in the area of performance but makes up for it in many other areas, such as interior volume, versatility, and the overall economy.

Taking time to enjoy all that the new 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Hatchback has to offer for a week, I came away rather pleased in knowing how Subaru has kept traditional aspects of the brand alive. Much of my positive perceptions resided with the standard offering of all-wheel-drive and a rather long list of active safety features commonly reserved for costly add-on option packages on much more expensive vehicles.

The new platform that Subaru has used for the 2017 Impreza beings with a much more usable interior space and fresh styling that retains the traditionalist look of the brand. Performance is at the hand of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer (horizontally opposed) engine that produces 152 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 145 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Power from the engine is sent through a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) directed to all four wheels by a Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. The Impreza in its base trims can be had with a 5-speed manual transmission but at the cost of worse fuel economy. What the drivetrain is made up of doesn’t quite inspire much to tote all 3,183 pounds of the 5-door Impreza Sport Hatchback. Though, the fuel economy of the Impreza at 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the Sport Hatchback somewhat makes up for the smallish power figures.

Overall, the driving quality of the new 2017 Subaru Impreza Sport Hatchback is simplistic and rests on its ability to feel livelier in the corners than its engine would otherwise state on paper. The ability for the CVT to adapt to your driving style is welcomed part of the transmission along with the system often performing virtual ratio shifts where it drops down the RPM in increments to emulate a traditional automatic transmission with physical gears. In all, the CVT attempts to eliminate much of the rubber band feeling through infinitely adjusting its bands from a set of pulleys. Apart from the dismal power output numbers, driving the Impreza is numb and mostly a thoughtless experience. Even the steering could use some work for a better return-to-center sensation where I experienced the steering to commonly stay off-center and retain any turn-in up to a few degrees. Thankfully, the lane keep assist and warning system, when enabled, steps in to nudge the steering back in your lane upon detection of you leaving your lane at cruising speeds.

As you may guess, acceleration from the Impreza Sport Hatchback, with an additional 4-horsepower from its previous generation, isn’t going to inspire enthusiasts much with a 0-60 mph time of 9.4 seconds. Moreover, acceleration is sometimes hindered by the CVT when you want to overtake other vehicles on the highway with a slight delay in adjusting the gearing ratio and an after-effect of emulating gear-step-down virtual shifts. Despite much of the dismal power output, the Impreza Sport Hatchback handles well for its size and appears to be lighter on its feet than much of its competition, which is a good thing. In totality, the stable chassis of the Impreza Sport Hatchback could easily handle twice as much power.

The interior of the new Subaru Impreza takes on a conservative approach that attempts not to offend anyone. While there is clever use of hard plastics, the dashboard is mostly soft-touch along with a few soft areas of the door trim as to prevent much of the cabin from being overly cheapened. The latest STARLINK 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, equipped on my Impreza 2.0i Sport Hatchback test vehicle, uses a simplistic and colorful high-resolution interface that groups Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth integration, SiriusXM, and a 6-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system. In all, lacking the Navigation option, the infotainment unit is easy to use and has rather large graphic icons and menus that are easy to quickly glance to prevent distraction.

The seating in the new Impreza Hatchback is surprisingly spacious. The basic principles of cloth seating areas and limited seat adjustments were all agreeable considering the ample leg and shoulder room of each seating position. Out back, the rear seats have a good amount of headroom and the cargo area takes advantage of the hatch to giving you just over 20 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seatbacks in place. When folding the 60/40-split seatbacks down the cargo volume opens up to just over 55 cubic feet, which is much more than most of the Impreza’s hatchback rivals.

Subaru has set on a new course to put consumers at ease when it comes to utilizing the latest safety tech where the brand’s EyeSight Driver Assist features are attempting to pave a new path for affordable vehicle safety. In that, the latest EyeSight systems, while optional, combines Adaptive Cruise Control, a pre-collision braking system, lake departure and sway warning, lake keep assist, blind spot detection with lane change assist, and a rear cross traffic alert system. With all of the systems working together, there is a virtual safety blanket surrounding the Impreza that makes for a piece of mind when navigating the roads of America. I found some of the systems, such as the automatic pre-collision braking and adaptive cruise control to be quite intelligent as to never falsely react to unexpected situations, such as a vehicle cutting in front of you or automatically applying the brakes too soon before you have time to react. I was, however, able to experience the automatic braking briefly as I purposely approached a turning vehicle a little too hot. The system kindly warned me with an audible and visual alert in the center dashboard cluster color LCD screen.

Subaru has done justice to retain their right in offering practical vehicles with excellent versatility, fuel economy, historical reliability, and the availability of advanced safety tech. The new 2017 Impreza builds upon such a theme with a respectable price to boot starting at just $18,395 for the new Impreza 2.0i 5-door hatchback. The price reaches $27,060 for my nicely-equipped Impreza 2.0i Sport Hatchback test vehicle, which includes the CVT transmission, EyeSight, moonroof, Harman Kardon audio system, and a $820 destination & delivery charge.

>> Get the best price on the Subaru Impreza from a network of local dealers now. <<

>> Get the best price on the Subaru Impreza from a network of local dealers now. <<

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Impreza 2.0i Sedan $18,395 / As-Tested Impreza 2.0i Sport Hatchback $27,060
  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer (horizontally opposed) DOHC 152 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 145 lb.ft. of torque @ 4,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
  • Total length: 175.6 inches
  • Total width: 70.0 inches
  • Total height: 57.3 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-39.8/38.0 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-43.1/36.5 inches
  • EPA trunk volume: 20.8 cubic feet
  • Max cargo volume (rear seatbacks folded): 55.3 cubic feet
  • Curb weight: 3,183 pounds
  • Turning circle: 34.8 feet
  • Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons
  • EPA mileage: 28 mpg city / 37 mpg highway
  • 0-60 mph: 9.4 seconds (CVT)

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