Subaru’s Impressive New Impreza
When you think of the name ‘Impreza’, you are quite likely to think of Subaru’s all-conquering rally car from the 1990’s. However, the Japanese manufacturer is, these days, moving towards being known for its reliable, dependable, safe and technologically advanced SUV’s and off-road vehicles.
Subaru have recently launched their new Impreza which is available in a hatchback-only bodystyle and rivals the likes of the Toyota Auris, Hyundai i30, Honda Civic, Mazda3, VW Golf and Ford Focus. Importantly, though, the new Impreza stands out from its rivals by offering the extra security and sure-footedness of a standard four-wheel-drive system compared to its front-wheel-drive rivals.
The new Impreza adopts Subaru’s innovative new, world-leading, ‘EyeSight’ technology. ‘EyeSight’ is a driver assist system which functions optically, using two stereo cameras mounted on either side of the rear-view mirror. These cameras monitor the road ahead and can detect hazards up to 110 metres in front of the vehicle. This system is more accurate than traditional camera and sensor technologies as it can distinguish objects as opposed to noticing that there is an unidentified obstacle.
‘EyeSight’ comes with six functions – Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Sway & Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Lead Vehicle Start Alert. Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a set distance from the vehicle in front and is very beneficial to motorway drivers, while Pre-Collision Braking will alert the driver of a potential collision using a visual & audible warning. If the driver does not take evasive action, the brakes will be applied automatically to either prevent the accident entirely or reduce the severity of an impact depending on the speed of the car at that time. If the driver brakes but does not apply enough pressure, the system will increase braking force. These two systems alone offer genuine life-saving capability if called into action. Pre-Collision Throttle Management comes into play if the vehicle is parked facing an obstacle, as it will warn the driver (visual and audible) if they accidentally select drive instead of reverse. The system will also cut engine output to help avoid a frontal collision.
Lane Sway and Departure Warning will alert the driver (visual and audible) if the vehicle sways or departs its lane without indicating, while Lane Keep Assist offers gentle steering control if the vehicle is about to deviate from its lane between speeds of 60 and 200km/hr. The final function of Subaru’s ‘EyeSight’ system is called Lead Vehicle Start Alert and a visual and audible warning will inform the driver that traffic ahead has started moving. These safety systems are Subaru’s way of ensuring that the driver has the capability of avoiding the unexpected with ‘EyeSight’ technology. This amazing ‘EyeSight’ technology played a big part in ensuring the new Impreza received a full five-star Euro NCAP rating – leading to an impressive Best-In-Class win for Subaru.
Two trim levels are available in the new Subaru Impreza – S and SE, in 1.6-litre (114bhp) ‘BOXER’ petrol engine guise. The 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in just 12.4 seconds, leading to a top speed (where permitted) of 180km/h. No diesel engine is available in the new Impreza. Both models come with a Lineartronic (CVT Automatic) transmission for effortless cruising ability and ease of driving around town. As you would expect from Subaru these days, the standard specification in both trim levels is exceptionally generous, with EyeSight technology standard in both specifications.
My test car was a Subaru Impreza 1.6-litre SE model and was finished in Dark Blue Pearl metallic paintwork. The new Impreza offers excellent driving dynamics with a more composed quality than ever before. The steering itself is sharp and precise, while the vast suite of safety features that come as standard across the range provides all occupants of the new Impreza with awe-inspiring confidence.
Prices start at just €25,995 (ex-works) for the 1.6-litre S CVT model, while my test car was priced at just €29.995 (ex-works). Annual road tax for the new Impreza ‘S’ is just €280, while the ‘SE’ model costs €390 for an annual tax disc. Fuel economy of up to 51.4mpg is possible on an extra-urban driving cycle. A five-year/160,000km warranty offers total peace of mind ownership, as does a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and a 3-year paintwork warranty too. The new Impreza is truly an ‘impressive’ offering from Subaru.