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2012 Subaru Impreza

Overview
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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 85 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

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."

5 people out of 9 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."

4 people out of 7 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."

11 people out of 19 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."

Worth a drive

By on Saturday, May 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,300

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Safety, handling, headlights, visibility, mpg."

Cons: "Could use vtec second wind."

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

"I own a 2015 Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium hatchback/5 doors with CVT. What be bought had to be safe, reliable, fuel efficient and have room for a ¾ size bass (double-bass). AWD was not a priority. 2.0L engine is responsive and has enough guts, but it is no WRX. In the past, Japanese engines had to rev high to get power out of them as opposed to german engines having a flatter torque curve. This car has Teutonic DNA from somewhere. Great handling. Transmission is a lot more refined than what Subaru offered just 5 years ago. Averaging 34 mpg in mixed driving at 4,300 mi. I followed Porsche break-in procedure, so far so good. The family does not think noise is an issue inside the cabin. Gone is the wind noise that plagued our '97 Outback. The sound system surprised me with bass, even if car has no trunk. And the Bluetooth and USB connectivity for music and hands-free cellphone are a great feature. I can't speak for the Starlink app as I do not own a smart phone. Back seat is surprisingly roomy. 2 people 6 feet tall no complains."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great for what it's built to do.

By on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive. Excellent fuel economy."

Cons: "Small cargo area"

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

"I purchased my used 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i premium hatchback for the AWD and fuel economy. After reading a lot of reviews, I was expecting a really underpowered car that wouldn't perform well. I was pleasantly surprised. Having driven a Durango with a HEMI previously, I knew that my experience in the much smaller Impreza could be disappointing. I was not prepared for the overall responsiveness of the car. Comparing the two is not a good idea, but lets just say, that for commuting, I don't miss the HEMI at all. Fuel costs have halved for me, as well as most maintenance costs. The CVT is different. I was expecting something annoying and unresponsive, but in manual mode it works well, a little lag in the higher simulated gears, but if you keep RPMs high it's not a problem. The CVT whine that many talk about is only really noticeable in the drive mode in the lower range.(Up to around 35 mph) Road noise is normal, I can hear my music well, and other people's conversation (which is not always good) at highway speeds. The CVT does a good job at slowing the car down hills. Living in an area with a lot of hills, this has kept me safe and out of trouble. The CVT also does a good job slowing the car in the simulated down-shift. I won't make the claim that it is as fun to drive as a manual transmission, but the paddle shifters, once you get used to them, do allow for a little fun. Of course the AWD is fantastic. No issues when driving in Northern MI at all. Finally, no oil problems. I was told that it would use a little oil, however with regular oil changes (3,000-4,000 miles) it has not been an issue. Great car. I really enjoy driving it."

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

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