By Jason K. Ang
What is it: An all-new edition of Subaru's bread-and-butter sedan, designed for greater comfort and efficiency
Design: The 2012 Impreza aims to provide more interior space within the same footprint as its predecessor. To achieve that, the wheelbase has been lengthened and overhangs shortened. The windshield has been moved forward to give a more spacious feel. Think Legacy Light and you won't be too far off the mark.
If you like the XV, then you'll appreciate the new Impreza; the two cars were separated at birth. As with the XV, the Impreza marks a return to some of the quirkiness that Subaru is known for. It's definitely not pretty, but it's individualistic and interesting.
Engine and transmission: Impreza will feature the new 2.0-liter boxer engine good for an estimated 148 hp and 196 Nm. The stroke has been lengthened from the previous design, to improve fuel efficiency. Camshafts are now chain-driven for durability, and are now in a dohc configuration, from the previous sohc. A second-generation CVT transmission keeps the engine in its most efficient rev range. Active all-wheel drive system uses an electronically controlled variable transfer clutch to vary the torque split between axles.
Subaru estimates not just a little improvement, but a 30 per cent increase in fuel economy versus the previous model. Again, if the XV is anything to go by, that sounds just about right. With that, the Impreza is the most fuel-efficient gasoline-engine all-wheel drive car in America-and the Philippines, too.
Chassis: Double-wishbone rear suspension helps keep the car planted. In combination with the all-wheel drive system, it should give the Impreza, well, impressive grip and satisfying handling. Expect four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist, as well as vehicle dynamics control. This combination of traction and stability control can selectively brake wheels to help maintain vehicle control. The chassis is lighter by 72 kg from its predecessor and uses high-tensile steel to improve rigidity.
Positioning: Subaru aims to capture a wider market with this new Impreza than the previous car, which was aimed more toward the enthusiast. Families and commuters will appreciate the new space and efficiency, while the driver will no doubt be more than happy with driving dynamics that should be a cut above that of the average compact sedan.
Built in: Japan, not too far from the BRZ and Toyota 86 lines.