Driven: The Subaru Impreza 2.0i-S ES
Now, I just wanted to clear this up. A lot of people confuse the Impreza with the WRX but these are two totally different cars, though you may be right in saying that it was once the Impreza WRX. See, we never received the fourth generation Impreza in S.A and Subaru has since split these two models to give us two very different cars in terms of driver experience. The Impreza has a normally aspirated engine which competes with the likes of the Honda Civic, VW Jetta, Hyundai Elantra while the WRX has a turbocharged engine and is really there to compete in the hot-hatch segment.
This particular model is the Impreza 2.0 ES released in 2017 and is Subaru's flagship model which is built on the new SGB (Subaru Global Platform) fitted with the latest tech and Eye Sight Technology with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure and sway warning for a semi - autonomous driving experience. We were obviously eager to get our hands on it considering how much we love technology and this being our first test car, a proud moment for us.
Impreza's naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre flat 4 petrol motor is now 12 kg lighter than its predecessor and outputs 115 kW and 196 Nm going to all four wheels through Subaru's Lineartronic CVT which is also 8kg lighter. Performance felt fair to me and the 0-100 sprint will take you around 10 seconds, which is about on average for its segment. Once you do manage to get up the rev counter the car does manage to move a little better, but I think this would be an issue for drivers looking to quickly pick up speed when overtaking and the CVT gearbox does take some time to get used to. We managed to get an average fuel consumption of around 9L but to be fair most of our driving was done in the city, but this could be a little better on the highway, still a bit far off the claimed 7.2L combined from Subaru.
Have you ever sat in the old Impreza? Then you would understand why the Japs never got a great deal of attention for their interiors, but the good news is they started from the ground up with this model and it is built on the new Subaru Global Platform and boy are we impressed. The cabin in the Impreza feels refined, solid and comfortable with most of the gadgets you wouldn’t expect in a sub 400k car. The 8" touchscreen was easy to use with TomTom navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Multi-Function Display. There is also Bluetooth connectivity with multiple USB ports around the cabin which is always handy, and a quick voice generated Whatsapp message test worked perfectly and I think Subaru have done well in this regard.
If safety is your number one priority then you would be pleased to know that the Impreza was named Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS for the 2017 model of the year, the only car in its class to do so. The Impreza also scored 5-stars in the Euro NCAP and Australian ANCAP ratings. The Subaru Symmetrical AWD also further enhanced our overall impression of the high safety standards which provide that extra comfort on the road which is especially handy in rainy conditions. Subaru offers a host of safety features and some of the systems worth sharing are Subaru's Vehicle Dynamics Control, steering-responsive headlights, high beam assist and Rear/Side Vehicle Detection which includes Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, all of which make for a superior sense of safety as you embark on a technology enhanced journey.
Overall, we were quite impressed with the Impreza and at a R 425 000 price tag the Impreza is just slightly more expensive than its competitors. All the gadgets you want are standard features and we believe optional extras are never really recouped on sale of your vehicle anyway. The Impreza may offer a better value long term because cars are depreciated on base cost excluding optional extras. That said, the Impreza will make a great family car and will get you to your destination comfortably with the kids and their luggage with added peace of mind. The Subaru Impreza is sold with a 5-year/150 000 km warranty and 3-year/75 000 km maintenance plan.
Advanced tech at an affordable price
Updated Entertainment system
Excellent all-round safety
Solid build quality
Flat driving experience
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