1 Feb 2012
Subaru's fourth-generation Impreza hatch and sedan received the option of an efficiency-enhancing continuously-variable transmission (CVT) with paddle-shifters to simulate six stepped ratios, replacing the outmoded four-speed auto of its predecessor.
Other efficiency measures included a redesigned 2.0-litre 'boxer' four-cylinder petrol engine with an identical 110kW/196Nm power and torque output to the outgoing model, idle-stop technology and improved aerodynamics.
The upshot was a claimed 22 per cent fuel saving for the CVT-equipped variants, down to a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres while six-speed manual variants consumed 7.1L/100km.
Efficiency gains, which placed the small Subaru ahead many of its rivals, did not come at the expense of the brand's trademark symmetrical all-wheel-drive layout making the improvements all the more impressive given the weight and friction penalties associated with such systems.
One of the main technology highlights is a new multi-function display, which on entry-level models provided the driver with fuel efficiency information including how many minutes of engine running time have been saved by the idle-stop system.
On up-spec L and S models, a premium unit enabled the driver to compare the fuel efficiency of each journey including how much fuel was saved by the use of idle-stop and unless the optional satellite navigation unit was installed, it also displayed the reversing camera image.
Having received a five-star ANCAP rating, standard safety equipment included seven airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, electronic stability control, all-wheel drive and a hill holder (manual variants only).
All variants came with climate control, cruise control, six-speaker CD sound system with iPod, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, height and reach steering wheel adjustment and two interior 12-volt power outlets.
The base model came with 16-inch steel wheels while the mid-range L variant got 16-inch alloys plus dual-zone climate control, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shifter, a reversing camera, front centre armrest, front fog lights and rear privacy glass.
The top-spec S added 17-inch alloys, upgraded upholstery and sporty aluminium pedals plus external embellishments including door mirror-mounted indicators, chrome brightwork and side skirts.
Luggage capacity remained on the small size compared with rivals at 340 litres for the hatch and 460 litres for the sedan.
When it was new