By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
By rcklad on Saturday, February 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Eye catcher and truly a fun car to drive"
Cons: "If mileage is your thing!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a driver's car. It responds to you quickly and reliably. This car is game for any difficult maneuver. Want speed and acceleration? you got it and you can customize it with torque controls. The suspension system and the brakes are excellent as well. You can drive this car all day long and yet feel fresh. Overall a very nice sports car that is family friendly as well with 4 doors and a good size trunk."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Shirley Subaru on Friday, January 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,250overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas efficient, butt warmers are amaaazing!"
Cons: "Wish the lights were automatic"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this car. Handles great in snow (as long as the snow isn't as high as the car!!) and has good power to get around slow-pokes. I all around love this car."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By ilre1484 on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "price is reasonable, very fun to drive."
Cons: "poor paint job from the factory, short warrenty"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"this vehicle looks nice on the outside however the inside is no better than your average Kia was in 2010... Alot of power however a 6spd manual would have been a better choice than the 5spd. Main negative about the car is Subaru does a HORRIBLE paint job, the paint is so thin i was already having to get touch up paint into the second week of owning it and i dont even drive on the freeway!! Not to mention that the dealership gave me the wrong shade of the world rally blue and it has taken a battle of epic proportions to get them to fix it. All in all this is my second Subaru WRX and i will continue to buy Subaru because they market it as a life change and you take pride in owning your Subaru."
By Benny on Monday, January 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, MPGs, AWD, base options"
Cons: "highway road noise, bluetooth clarity"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had this car for about a year and drive it in all weather conditions: lots of snow, lots of rain, lots of good weather. I have yet to get this car stuck and I tried during the first 8" snow we got last year. All the people who claim the MPGs are poor don't know how to drive. I constantly get 30 mpg average and it would be higher if I did more highway driving. The MPGs do go down a bit in colder weather but not enough to whine about. I drive quick/fast and still get good gas mileage. The power is slightly lacking until you learn to "punch it" and let the CVT do it's magic. You can't drive it like a regular or manual transmission. Gas pedal position = acceleration percentage, then you have to keep it there. It is more quick than fast, but with a 9 second 0-60, it's not going to win any races. Interior - pure function here. No issues on quality or durability. The heated seat option is priceless in cold weather. The side mirrors are great so therefore small (if any) blind spots. Upgrade the speakers as the stock ones aren't very good. There is a hidden option on the stock stereo called "through mode" that will improve the sound quality at higher volumes. If you like the look and want the reliability combined with decent power and above-class MPGs, this really is a great combination where you can have it all."
10 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By feistyone on Thursday, January 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "awd great, small turning radius, holds road well"
Cons: "MPG not even close to advertised, carpet cheap"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I wanted awd and a reliable car. My 11 yr old corolla got better mileage than this Impreza (I have not yet gotten over 27 mpg, even on the highway). Carpet on driver side already wearing because area near gas pedal is unprotected and thin at any rate. Mat is also already showing wear. Handles well on wet and snowy surface."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By northernNVimpreza on Wednesday, January 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "AMAZING handling/traction...WOW"
Cons: "Little power..really,noisy on freeway,jerky CVT"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Subaru's are synonymous with where we live in Northern Nevada. So after moving there a few years ago, and needing a new car after our old one died, we decided to go with the Impreza. We opted for the fully loaded Sport Premium 5dr, because it had some things we've never had before like leather, heated seats, and CVT transmission etc... the car has been well... ok. -First the Negatives- Our old car (2003 Mitsubishi Galant)had more power than this one has new. Granted, it was a 2.4liter and only front wheel drive, but I miss it going uphills and merging on the freeway. A lot. This car does NOT have power, which you'll notice right off on the test drive. Another negative, which I never really considered, is road noise. Pretty loud on the freeway. Everywhere else is fine. The last negative for me is, the CVT. I realize it always is in the right gear ratio for fuel economy etc, however it has this jerkiness that if you've never felt before could be a problem. PAY ATTENTION during the test drive. It's not a huge issue, however it IS something I've had to get used to. There ARE positives though, the fuel economy is great, especially on the freeway. I keep it at 65-70, REALLY. However I'm not certain the in town fuel estimates are correct. It seems to only get somewhere around the low 20's (22-25 maybe?) The traction and handling is AMAZING and really where this car SHINES. You have to drive it around corners and interstate interchanges to believe it. On the freeway interchanges, you can literally take the recommended 35-40mph and add 20-25mph NO KIDDING! Its really amazing. It has performed in the snow and ice as expected. This fact alone gives me a peace of mind with my family driving around in it. Overall, the car is great FOR WHERE WE LIVE. If you live in a place that snows in winter and traction/stability/handling are paramount, this is definitely your rig.- hopefully my review answers some or all of your questions."
11 people out of 11 found this review helpful