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 Waffles on Wednesday, April 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, great cargo space, great in the snow"
Cons: "trunk latching, Bluetooth, headliner pulling away"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second Subaru- I had owner and loved a 1993 Legacy wagon up until 2003 when I was in an accident. I drove a new Chevy Aveo and a new Kia Soul! between and always missed my Subaru. Finally, I bought my 2013 Subaru Impreza Limited new, fresh from the dealer. It is amazing. The brakes were perfect from day one, it handles like a champ, and feels solid (something I missed in my past two vehicles.) My only complaints are that the trunk doesn't shut well/easily- I have to really slam it to get it to latch correctly, that the upgraded stereo system is not very loud (and I'm not even a loud music person,) and that some of the headliner is pulling away from around the moon roof and windshield (since day one.) Also, the Bluetooth system is much more difficult to use than the ones I've had in the past. The car handles well in the snow (and my driveway is an unpaved, steep, crazy mess! There is a ton of cargo space in a very small footprint (especially with the seats down.)I get great gas milage (32.9 MPG for combined highway/city driving 60 miles a day, 5 days a week.) Overall, just a very nice car."
By TedA on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great utility and fun!"
Cons: "Stereo system needs to be updated"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This has been by far my favorite vehicle. I have owned close to 20 different cars and trucks through the years and nothing has this combination of utility and sport. Many have suggested upgrading the stock performance on this car but even at stock this car will out perform 80% of the vehicles on and off the road! If you do decide to modify the car... Well some of the Porsches and BMWs that I have owned would not hold a candle to it in a modified form! But by far my favorite concept is its utility. I do not go to the track on a regular basis and I have a family this car fits into that category wonderfully (with plenty of acceleration running errands)."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Sube01 on Thursday, March 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 650overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price, secure on any road surface, good MPG's"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have driven Subaru's for almost 15 years now and the 2014 Impreza Sedan is far and away the BEST machine I have ever driven on slippery, slushy roads. I am one of those aggressive winter drivers and my Impreza took everything I threw at it and begged for more! It is quick, nimble, and sure footed like no other vehicle I have ever driven! The Impreza makes you feel safe and in control. All the while getting great gas mileage. I would recommend this car to anyone!"
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By JT on Sunday, March 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, leg room, AWD"
Cons: "Interior build quality, performance, speakers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Before I go out to buy a new vehicle, I read tons of online reviews, ask other owner's opinions, and pick the brains of my mechanics before I make my final decision. I know how useful a heartfelt and in-depth review is to most people. So here we go... I bought my 2013 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium CVT (hatch) last June, 2013. I had never owned a Subaru until I purchased this vehicle. My main "needs" for purchasing this vehicle: I needed to fit comfortably in the car (I am 6'3"), needed something reliable, needed AWD for NE weather, and needed good gas mileage. I commute 120 miles everyday to and from work. Right now I am just shy of 30,000 miles, so I wanted to give an in-depth owner review. Starting from price paid: I got a pretty decent deal on this car. I showed up to the dealer with no intent of purchasing my Impreza that day. However, they made me an offer I could not refuse for my old Toyota Corolla (which had 245,00 miles on the original motor and transmission and I had ZERO issues with) and shaved quite a bit off the Window Price to make room for the 2014 stock. I did not want this exterior color, or interior color, but like I said the price was just too good to pass up so I sacrificed some of my "wants" for price. My first "need": I am 6'3"; I did not fit well in my old Toyota Corolla. I needed something that was more comfortable for longer rides to accommodate how long of a commute I have. I fit comfortably in this car. The seats are not the best, but they are not the worst either. Added lumbar support would make all the difference. With my seat all the way back, there is still plenty of room in the back seat for other (normal sized) people. In one instance, folding down the rear seats I was able to cut some sheet stock plywood in half and haul that back to my house from the Depot with ease (not bad in my opinion). My second "need": I can't really complain about the reliability at this point. Just shy of 30,000 and there have not been any major issues. I have regularly changed my oil every 3,000 miles. One thing to note, which hasn't posed an issue yet... but it might: This engine burns a LOT of oil. I saw quite a few other reviewers commenting on this as well. Every time that I have changed my oil to date, I have noticed that my car is burning 1 to 1/2 quarts of oil every 3,000 miles. Not sure if this is normal with Subaru's, not ever owning one before. But my old Corolla would spit out whatever you put in it 3,000 miles later. Hopefully this doesn't get worse as my car gets older. My third "need": the AWD in this car is pretty good from what I've thrown at it so far, but I really have not been able to test the true capabilities due to the fact that the tires that come on these rims are absolutely terrible. Do yourself a favor and pick up a nice set of continentals. I did 3/4 of the way through this winter, and I wished I did sooner they make all the difference. With the stock Yokahamas that come on these rims, turning or trying to pull yourself out of 6" of snow is impossible, even with AWD. I drove in a couple dozen snow storms this winter back and forth to work, and I wish I got different tires sooner. With the continentals that I have on it now, I'm pretty sure I could climb the Eifel Tower in this car hahaha My fourth "need": I have averaged 26-29 mpg on this car. In the winter I have seen as low as 24 mpg, and summer high as 32 mpg. Do not go by the gauge on the dash, mine is off my about 3 mpg in either direction. I was hoping that I could get the window advertised gas mileage, but I have not come close. To be honest, I think it is the 2.0 in this car. To get up to highway speeds and maintain 60-80 mph definitely pushes this car to its limits with aggressive highway driving (I have to in my commute, or you might as well get run over). I did not buy this car for performance, but you would think that the EPA ratings would take into account aggressive highway driving into their calculations. I know a couple of other people who get similar mileage as I do and have slightly shorter commutes. I was getting 34 mpg minimum with my old Toyota... I want to touch upon a couple other things with this car that I have noticed: I find that the cup holder arrangement is very odd, considering the armrest goes over one of the cup holders. It is not ergonomically friendly. This is probably not something that you would notice right away, but at 530 am when you are leaving for work, fumbling with your coffee mug can get messy. The stereo is NOT a strong point for this car. One thing about me, I am always listening to music where ever I go, so the fact that Subaru could not get a decent stereo in here is pretty disappointing. The passenger side dash speaker died 2 months into me owning this car, still haven't fixed it yet, I will get around to it eventually. The "upgraded" stereo system does not sound that much better, by the way, and in my opinion is not worth the extra money. Do yourself a favor and get a professional system installed. Don't even bother with the blue tooth... My dashboard is coming loose. This can definitely be attributed to the fact that 90% of Massachusetts roads are garbage and filled with pot holes, but the amount of dashboard noise I have right now is what a 15 year old car should sound like, not a 9 month old car. If you are listening to songs that are bassy you can even hear the pieces of plastic that have broken off shaking around on the inside of the dash. Normally this wouldn't have been that big of a deal for me, but since I drive 120 miles every day this gets pretty annoying fast. There is not as much road noise as everyone else says... The motor in this car is pretty lack-luster. Like I mentioned above, I did not buy this car for its performance. But I would have expected it to be a little peppier considering it is such a small car. If this went back to the 2.5 L that was in the older Impreza's, I'm sure I would be more happy. I was reluctant on buying this vehicle with the CVT. I will say I am very impressed with the CVT transmission. It is seamless going up to speed, and playing with the paddle shifters is fun on back roads. Having the extra 6th "gear" is nice for cruising. I put "gear" in quotations because it technically is just a ratio, not a gear. The paint that Subaru used on the exterior is pretty soft. If you were to take your thumb nail and press it up agains the paint on the car, you would see a mark permanently left there. Overall, I would say that this car is a solid car that meets my needs (generally). From this post, you can probably tell that I am getting into the nit picky, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible. It is definitely not the most high quality vehicle you can buy, but it will get you from point A to point B with minimal issues. To be honest, I don't know if I would buy another Subaru, just because the interior build quality is so terrible. If this car actually got the advertised window MPG, I would probably be a happy customer. Its the little things that add up with this one... I think next vehicle I am just going to buy another Toyota."
16 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By BigMan on Thursday, March 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, 4WD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is a great car. Almost 50K with no service other than oil changes. 4WD was great over this lousy winter, but gas mileage has held at 28 mpg average. Only complaint is cabin is kind of loud -- lots of engine and road noise."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Rex on Saturday, March 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "affordable price, Real and capable sports car"
Cons: "5 speed manual, long-throw shifter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Don't buy the WRX for the creature comforts. It is raw, designed and sold to offer a particular driving experience in a reasonable price point. I have a 2001 Porsche Boxter S to compare and both are 2 different but similar cars. Rear-wheel, roadster vs. AWD, sedan practicality; with similar driving fun-factor. Don't pick apart the car for the 'cheap' interior, stereo system, etc. For under $27,000, one is getting a Real sports sedan that can handle any driving situation confronted (and some, for added enjoyment). Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, the WRX is a very capable car. This car is part of a 5 car family fleet fulfilling a gap which offers year-round usability, sedan passenger capability, and sport driving options (on dry pavement). One Con is the shifter, but I'll be changing it to a short-throw in the near future. As for reliability, there are many resources out there you can read to confirm this. I didn't consider the WRX STI because then it would have contradicted the very reason why I bought the WRX...reasonable price for real sports car speed/handling/capability. For $36,000, it would change what I would have expected to get for that price (better audio system, quality interior materials, much higher horsepower upgrade)."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful