Car reviews - Subaru - Impreza - GX 5-dr hatch
27 May 1993
WHO'D have thought the humble origins of the original Impreza would lead to true 1990s classic? Recession-savaged Subaru’s decision to base the replacement of the long-toothed L-series (Leone) small car on the Liberty/Legacy platform may have been borne of economic need (they shared drivetrain, suspension and some auxiliaries), but it soon exploited the Impreza’s four-wheel drive potential. Initially the Impreza was offered in three four-door guises (LX sedan, GX sedan and GX hatch), with the LX powered by a 66kW 1.6-litre 16-valve boxer four-cylinder engine and the others a 76kW 1.8. There were two gearbox choices (five-speed manual or four-speed auto), while 4WD was available on GX models. In early ’94 the iconic, five-speed manual-only WRX arrived, offering a 155kW, turbocharged, 2.0 twin-cam engine and 4WD in both bodies. Later in ’94 the Sportswagon hatch introduced a dual-range manual gearbox for rougher terrain requirements. Air-con and power steering were standard on all models, while a driver’s side airbag, anti-lock brakes and cruise control were optional. Small changes to the grille, wheels, cabin trim, colour palette and features list marked the first Impreza facelift. The previous LX became the LXS special edition, the ‘real’ LX lost air-con and the GX gained cruise control. In late ’95 the short-run WRX Rallye introduced the series’ signature blue paintwork. In March ’96 a 85kW 2.0-litre boxer engine was slotted underneath the Sportswagon and its limited-edition Gravel-X counterpart, while an 88kW version powered the sporty RX 4WD limited edition sedan. A small facelift followed from late '96, ahead of a more substantial makeover in September '97 that saw a totally new cabin. A thorough engine overhaul had to wait until the September '98 round-of-changes, seeing the model through to the controversially redesigned Mk2 model of late 2000...
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Model release date: 1 April 1993 to 1 November 1996
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