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Subaru gets fresh with Impreza

Latest addition: RS hatch has been added to the Impreza range.

Small changes for Subaru’s small car in the face of swelling opposition

26 Aug 2004

WHILE the WRX STi is the star of the show when it comes to MY05 Impreza, Subaru has given the rest of the range the once-over to keep it competitive in the small car class.

There’s been a reshuffle of the model range, some re-speccing and some re-pricing, all aimed at maintaining the range’s average 700 per month selling rate from its on-sale date in late September.

Considering the way competition is boiling over in the segment, keeping sales up at that level against a bevy of forthcoming new opposition like the Volkswagen Golf V, AH Holden Astra and in 2005 the new Ford Focus is in itself a tough achievement.

Not forgetting heavy-hitters like the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and Nissan Pulsar are already in there giving it heaps.

For this 2005 update of the Impreza, Subaru Australia has done the following:
  • Added air-conditioning to the base model GX, but held pricing (see chart below) to a starting price of $23,990.

  • Dropped the RX 2.0 sports model range.

  • Added the RS hatch to complement the 2.5-litre RS sedan, the latter dropping its pricing $1000.

  • Increased pricing on the RV faux-off-roader $1050.

  • Held pricing on the popular WRX and made a $2000 insurance rebate standard for all buyers.

The sales expectation now is that there will be 300 GX, 160 WRX, 150 RS and 40 RVs sold each month, as well as 40 STis.

What’s missing from that line-up is a car priced in the $19,990 price leader part of the segment, something Subaru Australian managing director Trevor Amery insists Impreza does not need.

2 center image"Through rallying, through ram raiding, through PS2s, through whatever, we have a connection to a younger generation who actually aspire to drive Subarus," he said.

Styling and mechanical changes to the Impreza range are slight. You know there’s not a lot to tell when the press kit mentions the addition of ceramic dots to the top of the windscreen to reduce sun glare.

The fundamentals remain unchanged: a choice of 92kW/223Nm 2.0 and 112kW/223Nm 2.5-litre horizontally opposed (boxer) engines mated to a choice of five-speed manual and four-speed auto transmissions, driving all four-wheels.

The hipo turbocharged WRX, now in its 10th year on sale in Australia, continues to offer 168kW and 300Nm.

Mechanical fiddles include inverted struts, cannon-type steering rack mount, double synchroniser cone on first gear and a smaller steering wheel for the WRX.

Across the range there’s been an upgrade of brakes, with a new type of brake hose, thicker brake booster and the latest Bosch 8.0 ABS system with Australian calibration for gravel road braking.

In terms of appearance there’s only been changes inside, remembering the fundamental exterior changes made to the car in late 2002 to overcome the goggle eyes. There’s a new aluminium-look centre console, three-spoke steering wheel and a relocated cupholder.


MY05 MY04
GX sedan$23,990$23,990
GX sedan (a)$25,990$25,990
GX hatch$24,440$24,440
GX hatch (a)$26,440$26,440
RV hatch$26,940$27,990
RV hatch (a)$28,940$29,990
RS sedan$29,990$30,990
RS sedan (a)$31,990$32,990
RS hatch$30,440n/a
RS hatch (a)$32,440n/a
WRX sedan$42,490$42,490
WRX sedan (a)$44,990$44,990
WRX hatch$42,940$42,940
WRX hatch (a)$45,440$45,440

WRX theft rate down

THE ram raider’s favourite is no more! Figures supplied by Subaru show that just six Impreza WRXs were stolen in the first quarter of 2004.

That compares to 262 in the first quarter of 2002. At that point the clumsy – but obviously effective – locally installed security immobiliser was introduced.

Data Dots became standard issue in the first quarter of 2003, continuing the slide in theft rates.

Despite that decrease, insurance rates remain high, prompting Subaru Australia to offer a $2000 insurance rebate to all WRX buyers.

"We feel that some current buyers of the WRX are being penalised for the theft rate that happened some time ago," said Subaru Australia general manager Nick Senior.

"Until that washes through the system, then insurance rates will stay high.

"But we are confident it will come down over time, at which stage we may be able to remove the rebate."

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