2017 Subaru Impreza: Small AWD Sedans Are Rare

on Aug12

12 August 2017 | 10:14 pm

When you think about it, a compact AWD sedan is a great car to own, especially in a city where there’s winter for a significant portion of the year. You would think that pretty much every car company would offer one. But they don’t. In fact, this is one of the few – you can get an Audi A4 which is larger and costs much more. Mitsubishi is discontinuing the Lancer. There’s a handful of hatchbacks and a dearth of crossovers. But if you want an AWD sedan, you’re pretty much looking at it right here.

Available in both the Sport 2.0i version at 152hp (tested here), the turbocharged WRX version and the rally-inspired STi version, there’s an Impreza sedan (or hatch) for everyone. We love the design, although 2017 brings a little more complexity to the front and rear bumpers. The extra lines don’t really complement the sleek sedan, leaving a bit of a busy overall look. It’s still a great-looking car, but we liked the last version a little bit better. Nobody changes their design as often as Subaru does on the Impreza; there are subtle tweaks to the look almost every year. Overall, however, this is still one great-looking sedan.

The non-turbo 2.0-Liter in our test car really just doesn’t have enough power when mated to the CVT transmission. If you follow our reviews, you’ll find that we really only like CVT’s with more powerful engines because the nature of the transmission leaves you at a higher-average RPM when there’s less power. You find that the transmission feels a bit ‘broken’ instead of just working as you’d expect it to. When you step on the throttle there’s a long delay while the revs rise and get the engine into the torque band. It feels more like there’s a rubber band connecting the engine and the tires.

With the AWD drivetrain, it just doesn’t have quite enough power to make it fun to drive. If that’s not your thing, you’ll probably be more than happy with it. The respectable numbers of 27-City and 36-Highway MPG should be satisfying, too. The rest of the driving experience is quite fun – the Impreza has always been a very-capable handling car. The fact that you can get it in manual transmission still is a plus as well. We would opt for that version every time.

There’s a decent infotainment system here that is about what you come to expect these days. One small complaint we consistently have about many Japanese cars, and it holds true for this Subaru as well, is that there are too many controls and buttons everywhere. They are a bit disjointed and each one has a slightly different feel/shape/action. It’s as if they all came from different cars, which leads to a bit of missing refinement on the inside.

The seats, however, are extremely comfortable and supportive and the steering wheel is great to grip. For the price, starting at under $22k, you get a lot for your money with this Impreza. And when you consider that there really aren’t many other choices for an AWD sedan, you’ll find lots to like about it. If you live somewhere like Chicago – or even somewhere that has mountains and snow – you’ll love the AWD capability in an affordable, compact sedan.


Special thanks to Subaru of America for providing the 2017 Subaru Impreza for review.

By Jason Saini


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