2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i PremiumPosted on February 18th, 2017
Four-door wagon raises the bar for active lifestyles
By Nina Russin
If you’re an endurance athlete looking for an affordable vehicle with good fuel economy that can haul your gear, clear snow and travel the trails, you owe it to yourself to consider Subaru’s newest Impreza four-door wagon. Priced from $18,395, the all-wheel drive Impreza builds on the outgoing model’s off-road capabilities, adding a more powerful engine, more spacious and quiet interior.
Our test car is the mid-grade Premium equipped with a naturally-aspirated two-liter engine and continuously variable automatic transmission. Standard features include heated front seats, exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer, 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, Bluetooth interface, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Aha, Pandora, Starlink connected services and roof rails.
An EyeSight active safety package adds adaptive cruise control, autonomous pre-collision braking, lane departure alert, blind spot detection and cross traffic alert. Other options include a power moonroof and steering responsive fog lamps that swivel in the direction of steering input. Final MSRP is $24,910.
Test drive in Southern Arizona
Over the past week I drove the Impreza wagon through sections of the Gila River Indian Community, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler, Arizona as well as the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. The 160-mile test drive included surface streets, urban freeways and two-lane rural roads with 1000 feet of elevation gain.
The 2017 Impreza is built on Subaru’s new global architecture, with a stiffer body structure and significantly better steering response. The electric power steering system is one of the few to offer good on-center response at speed. That combined with stabilizer bars to keep the chassis flat enabled me to take some decreasing radius turns at a good clip.
Although the 2.0-liter engine is only four-horsepower up from the outgoing block, it feels much peppier, with good acceleration off the line and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range drivers use merging into high-speed traffic.
The Beeline Highway east of Scottsdale climbs up to Payson: an elevation gain of almost 5,000 feet. While the test drive didn’t take me that far north, the 1,000-foot gain between Mesa and the turnoff onto Bush highway was a good fuel economy test. My average was just over 36 miles-per-gallon: significantly better than the EPA’s 31 mpg estimate.
The continuously variable automatic transmission is engineered to mimic a seven-speed step unit. Although the shift points are noticeable, the feel isn’t the same. This isn’t to say that it is a bad transmission. There is good, linear progression of power with none of the rubber band feel that plagues some competitive units.
Engineers used acoustic windshield glass, significantly improving interior quiet over former models: a big deal for buyers planning long road trips.
Visibility around the perimeter is good. I applaud Subaru for bucking the trend towards high beltlines and narrow greenhouses. I understand the psychology of wanting drivers to feel protected by their vehicles, but as a cyclist I feel safer when the person behind the wheel can see me in the bike lane.
A standard rearview camera projects a wide-angle view to the back of the vehicle when the driver shifts into reverse. The blind spot monitoring system illuminates LED signals in the side mirror posts when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots.
Nobody understands what athletes need in a car interior better than Subaru. The standard cloth seats are more practical and comfortable in the hot Southwestern summers than leather. Available rubber floor and cargo mats make the these areas easy to clean after a day on the trails.
Access and egress to both rows of seating is good, and the low roof makes it feasible to load bicycles up top without step rails or a ladder. On a similar note, the tailgate’s low lift-over height makes it much easier to load large items in the back.
Fit and finish is excellent throughout the vehicle, but I wish Subaru would use more attractive interior finishes, especially on the dashboard and door panel inserts. The center stack screen, while functional, is on the small side and can be difficult to read.
The 2017 Impreza comes with all-wheel drive, seven airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, hill start assist and a rearview camera. The new model has yet to undergo NHTSA crash tests.
Subaru builds the Impreza at its Lafayette, Indiana assembly plant.
Like: An affordable four-door wagon with excellent fuel economy, standard all-wheel drive, versatile interior and high level of standard safety features.
Dislike: Small center stack screen is difficult to read. No rear air vents could be a problem in extreme temperatures.
Model: Impreza 2.0i Premium
Base price: $21,695 (Premium grade)
As tested: $24,910
Horsepower: 152 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 145 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 28/37 mpg city/highway2017, Best Value 2017, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Impreza 2.0i Premium, performance, pricing, standard safety, Subaru