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2012 Subaru Impreza

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2012 Subaru Impreza Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.8

For 2012, Subaru introduces an all-new version of its capable and dependable compact sedan and wagon. The 2012 Subaru Impreza is roomier and better-trimmed inside than many competitors, and continues as the only passenger car under $20K with standard Symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD). Courtesy of reduced weight, a new, more-efficient 2.0-liter boxer engine and continuously variable automatic transmission, the 2012 Impreza offers the best EPA-estimated fuel economy of any gasoline-powered all-wheel-drive passenger car, better even than the base-engine/automatic-transmission mileage of front-drive compacts like Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Jetta and Nissan Sentra.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2012 Impreza is the practical choice if you value the no-nonsense reliability, security and all-weather traction benefits of standard all-wheel drive combined with roomy comfort and top-notch fuel economy in its class.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If Subaru's traditionally excellent safety ratings or the Impreza's standard all-wheel drive traction isn't a big factor in your purchase decision, there are compact competitors that offer more features for less money.

What's New for 2012

Subaru made the Impreza a comfortable, roomy, attractive place for customers downsizing from mid-size cars. The Impreza's safety credentials are bolstered by a standard driver's knee airbag for 2012. Last year's Outback Sport is discontinued, replaced by two range-topping 5-door wagon models: the 2.0i Sport Premium and 2.0i Sport Limited.

Driving the Impreza

Driving Impressions Like comfortable sneakers, the 2012 Subaru Impreza offers surefooted all-wheel-drive traction under all road and weather conditions. It may lack the sharp steering response of a Focus or road feel...

of a Civic, but the Impreza imparts confidence and feels unflappable at all times. The all-new 2.0-liter boxer engine is 13 percent less powerful than last year's 2.5-liter, but acceleration is decent, especially with the available continuously variable transmission (CVT), which replaces 2011's 4-speed automatic. The CVT responds quickly to changing road grades and driver input without shift lag, although with the radio and fan turned off, a slight transmission whine is heard. New front seats offer more comfort and improved support. Outward visibility is among the best in the segment. The wagon's split rear seat folds completely flat and the rolled-up cargo cover stows under the cargo floor – two examples of Subaru's thoughtfulness.

INCLINE START ASSIST
Called "Hill Hold" in popular parlance, this nifty feature keeps your Impreza from rolling back or forward as you release the clutch when starting out on an incline. It's standard on manual-transmission models.

ECO GAUGE
New for 2012, this dash-mounted analog gauge gives Impreza drivers bio-feedback on how fuel-efficient they are driving. It's simple, effective and if you keep the needle to the right, you're saving gas.

2012 Subaru Impreza Details
Interior

Although overall length is unchanged from 2011, the 2012 model is the roomiest Subaru Impreza ever. It has more rear-seat legroom than some mid-size cars thanks to a skillful wheelbase stretch and scalloped front seatbacks. Hip and shoulder room improve courtesy of carefully contoured door panels. Larger door openings make getting in and out easier than in many competitors. Raised seat heights, increased glass area and a lowered dash help give a command-of-the-road feel. Front seats get pressure-distributing bottom cushions, increased lumbar support and new tilt-adjustable headrests. Soft touch coverings adorn the dash, door panels and console.

Exterior

The 2012 Subaru Impreza gets all-new sheet metal. Both the more-formal 4-door sedan and sporty 5-door wagon feature more sharply sculpted, Legacy-derived styling with prominent wheel arches and hawkeye-shaped headlights. In silhouette, each has a light and airy greenhouse with large windows and slimmer-looking roof pillars for improved visibility, highlighted by a more rakish windshield. With blind spots reduced or eliminated, the new Impreza is one of the easiest cars in its class to maneuver and move through traffic.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Impreza 2.0i rolls on smallish 15-inch steel wheels, but otherwise is cheerfully equipped with standard all-wheel drive, A/C, remote keyless entry, 60/40 split folding rear seat, carpeted floormats, wagon cargo tie-downs, auto-off headlights, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, height-adjust driver's seat and tilt/telescoping steering column. The 2.0i Premium gains 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, wagon cargo cover, sliding center armrest, and a 6-speaker audio with Bluetooth streaming, iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability, and a USB port. The 2.0i Limited adds leather trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, the CVT (automatic transmission), heated seats and HD radio with 4.3-inch display. Well-trimmed and wagon-only, the 2.0i Sport Premium and Sport Limited models lack only standard navigation and a moonroof.

Optional Equipment

The only option available on base 2.0i Imprezas is the CVT. With the Impreza 2.0i Premium, the optional CVT comes with shift paddles that allow the driver to manually select six ratios. Also available on 2.0i Premium models are an all-weather package with heated seats and outside mirrors plus wiper de-icers, and a 17-inch alloy-wheel package that adds stainless-steel exhaust tips and a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel. A power moonroof and 6.1-inch touch-screen navigation system with XM satellite radio is optional on all but the base model. Last year's removable Tom Tom nav unit is no longer offered. Neither are power seats.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Subaru Impreza sticks with its unique, compact boxer engine that's known for reliability and a low center of gravity that helps handling and safety. But while the 2011 2.5-liter Impreza had one of the larger, more powerful standard engines among compacts, the all-new 2012 2.0-liter version is among the most advanced and fuel-efficient with a 36-percent boost to its EPA combined city/highway rating. Subaru engineered the new engine for improved low- and mid-range torque, which improves around-town responsiveness. A switch to a new dual-overhead-cam configuration with variable valve control for both intake and exhaust boosts efficiency and performance. Adapted from the Legacy, the 2012 Impreza upgrades its automatic transmission to the Lineartronic CVT, which – unlike earlier CVTs that droned on – gives a more linear response to the gas pedal.

2.0-liter flat-4
148 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 27/36 mpg (automatic)

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2012 Subaru Impreza Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 87 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

Great small car.

By on Saturday, July 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "AWD, Spacious, MPG, Ergonomics, Build quality"

Cons: "Windshield angle attracts stones???"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My car is a 2015 Impreza Sport Premium. I traded in a 2011 Chevy Cruze for this car. The first thing I noticed is that there is a lot of leg room for rear seat occupants. I can sit behind my seat without touching the seatback and I'm 6'1". The versatility of the hatchback design has come in handy many times. The Impreza easily holds four people and baggage. The stereo, Bluetooth, air conditioning, heater, and seat heaters all work great. The forward visibility is great. Overall, a very open and roomy cabin. The only downside is that this car seems prone to stone chips in the windshield from highway driving. It's like a stone magnet. This is an excellent winter weather car. Regardless of what other reviewers have said, the car accelerates quickly, and I have no issues with getting on the highway or passing on the highway. The CVT transmission simulates a 6 speed automatic. My rating of 9 is because for a small, cheap car, this thing is awesome. I love it."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Needs Umph!

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,700

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Price, AWD"

Cons: "Slow acceleration, poorly placed touch screen"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I like the all-wheel drive even though I live where snow is only an occasional problem. That's why I had a Forester and why I switched to an Impreza. The car handles well, and it gives a smoother ride than Subaru's other offerings, which tend to ave stiff suspensions. However, the car needs a more powerful engine. I'm not an aggressive driver, but getting on the highway and merging in traffic would be a lot easier if the car had some pick up like other cars in this class. Regarding the touch screen radio, it is flush with the console, not recessed, so it can be very hard - impossible - to see in strong sunlight without the brightness level all the way up. Even with the brightness level all the way up, the rear-view camera cannot be seen when it's sunny out. I didn't have that problem on my Forester. I even tried putting an anti-glare shield over the display, but it didn't help. All things considered, it's the only car in its class with AWD, it's less expensive than its competitors, it drives well, and it's comfortable. But it's not fun or exceptional in any way except for the AWD. After six months, I kind of want to get something else."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Excellent handling, brakes, ergonomics, interior

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,238

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "AWD works great. Visibility is excellent"

Cons: "Acceleration is poor"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love the AWD, and it has pulled well in all kinds of weather and terrain. Factory tires had a slight tendency to slide sideways in the rain, but new higher performance tires have corrected that. Acceleration is less than desirable, but I know that can be corrected by upgrading to the WRX. CVT transmission is a little mushy and loud, but I also test drove the manual shift and it was no quicker on acceleration. Interior fit and finish is excellent. Great visibility in all directions. Heated seats even include heat to the lower back. Brakes are outstanding. Fuel mileage is 27-28 MPG in mostly highway driving."

22 people out of 41 found this review helpful

Fun car for the price

By on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
6/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The WRX is and has always been a value proposition for the performance oriented younger driver. The car is not particularly comfortable (stiff suspension and turbo lag make your daily commute just a little less enjoyable), but Subaru knows that 90% of their audience for this car will be OK with that sacrifice because of the additional performance it affords them. I use the car for surf trips, snowboarding trips, daily commuting, road trips, and work trips."

11 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Great car if you set your expectations.

By on Friday, June 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Price, AWD, MPG, Quality"

Cons: "Speakers are literally the only downfall."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I purchased a 2014 Impreza hatch almost a year ago now. I have been nothing but pleased with the vehicle thus far. I did piles of research for months on end and finally decided on this as the car for me. It has a great sporty look to it (mine is white) and I regularly get compliments on my car. As far as handling is concerned it has survived one of the worst winters in Chicago in years and it did so without worrying me once. The AWD handled several inches of snow on a regular basis without complaint (I live in a rural area outside of the city but commute to work). It also never had an issue starting up in the morning despite bitter cold temps (-20F) for weeks on end it seemed. Overall the driving/handling/performance of the vehicle was great. The fuel economy depends on your driving style. I would consider myself average with bouts of insanity from time to time and I average 30.2 MPG, so take that however you want. If you buy this thinking itll be just like a WRX, you will be disappointed. The CVT works very well and its has more "Pep" than I expected out of a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder. The interior isnt exactly anything spectacular but it isnt terrible either. It is functional and does what you expect it to. The speakers are the only complaint that I have for the whole vehicle. They are rather cheap and wear out quickly with regular use. Not a difficult fix but less than ideal. Could you get a "cooler" looking car for less $$? Sure. Will that car have AWD like the subaru does? No. But it wont get It isn't a wannabe rally car. If you want that, shell out the $$ and get the WRX or the STI. This is a reliable car at a good price that will take whatever you throw at it and come back for more. Its all a matter of opinion folks, the above is mine. What you do with it is up to you."

18 people out of 31 found this review helpful

Very nice, comfortable, reliable car, great MPG

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great value for the money, good ride and handling"

Cons: "Needs adjustable lumbar support"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Averaging about 30 mpg. Got a great deal from original owner. Drives-out very nice, handles great, and rides much nicer than the Scion we sold. Interior is well laid out. Just not enough lumbar support for me when driving. Recommend it to anyone."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?