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Tokyo show: Subaru previews all-new Impreza

First impressions count: The near-final version of the Impreza shown in Tokyo points to a bolder future for not only Subaru’s C-segment staple but the brand’s entire range.

Stand by for a wider, lower, roomier and – above all – sexier new Subaru Impreza


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28 Oct 2015

UPDATED: 30/10/2015SUBARU has unveiled a near-production version of its forthcoming new Impreza at the Tokyo motor show this morning, making it clear to the world that its all-important small car will carry a bolder and more dynamic design into its fifth generation due for release in 2017.

While the so-called ‘concept’ bears some resemblance to the bigger Liberty mid-sizer, the new Impreza by no means carries the impression of being a Russian doll.

And if the sharp headlights, bold nose, strong haunches, heavily sculpted flanks and chiselled metalwork across the entire vehicle carry into production as expected, Australian buyers will be offered a striking alternative to other mainstream offerings in the biggest-selling segment in the local market.

Speaking at the Tokyo motor show, Subaru design department general manager Mamoru Ishii said the current Impreza had made a good impression with its technology but lacked a sporty visual impact.

"For the current Impreza we decided on the target customer and they feel the current car has a good safety image but not a fun image with an emotional feel, so the next Impreza should put the emotional, fun and sporty image for the future customers," he said.

"I put the dynamic and solid feel in to the next Impreza."The Tokyo presentation was all about style, with no official details forthcoming about powertrain and other mechanical improvements brought with the redesign – and no look inside the cabin.

Subaru has, however, provided basic dimensions for the five-seat, five-door Tokyo concept, which is built on a slightly longer wheelbase than the current model – 2670mm compared to the current car’s 2645mm – but is a touch shorter overall (4400mm compared to 4420mm), which indicates that interior space should be improved while maintaining a similar footprint.

The concept’s 1440mm overall height places it lower to the ground than the current production car (at 1465mm), while the 1880mm width reflects the broader, more muscular stance of the concept – the current Impreza is 1740mm wide – and the fitment of 235/40-section 19-inch rubber.

In a statement, Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) said the production version of this Impreza concept would be the first of the brand’s “next-generation strategic vehicles” under its ‘Prominence 2020’ mid-term strategic plan announced last year.

“While positioned as an entry model in the Subaru line-up, its compact body features a blend of bold expressions of Subaru’s ‘dynamic and solid’ design elements and a quality feel beyond its class – hinting at the design direction not only of the new Impreza but of Subaru’s future models as a whole,” the company said.

Dynamism and strength are recurrent themes throughout the designers’ briefing notes, with Subaru pointing to the solid body, wide and low stance, fender flares, character lines and aerodynamic qualities.

At the front end, the brand’s familiar hexagonal grille is flanked by sharp ‘hawk-eye’ headlights – a bird that Subaru designers have referenced in previous generations, including the controversial (and short-lived) ovoid lights of the second generation machine.

The designers have carried the ‘dynamic and solid’ and ‘wide and low’ themes through to the rear, with “powerful shoulders over the rear fenders thrusting all the way toward the rear combination lights” which have the same motif as the headlights.

The current fourth-generation Impreza was launched in Australia in early 2012, some six months later than originally anticipated due to delays stemming from the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

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