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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 92 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

Best Vehicle Ever Owned

By on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, responsive, LOVE the AWD"

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

"I really like this car. It's fun and responsive to drive and feels solid against the road. It fits tight and I've found nothing negative about it. The freeway acceleration when needed and solid swerve handling has kept me out of a couple accidents. For a small car I love the additional wagon space for city hauling of stuff. I'm sold on Subaru."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

My first automatic but still fun to drive

By on Friday, August 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "reliability, gas mileage, spacious"

Cons: "speakers, weather & road noise, touch screen"

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

"So I will start by saying I have always drove a manual transmission and this is my first brand new car, therefore my review might come off a little different than most. And if I was made of money I would have gotten the WRX instead but the fuel economy is just not where I would like it to be. So instead, I have the 2015 Impreza sport premium, pretty much all stock minus the homelink mirror. The ride is pretty smooth but for some might be a little too bumpy. My only qualm at this point is it's a little too gooey of a ride for me. You hit a dip on the highway and it just throws you out of the seat. At first the seat was like sitting on a rock and took a few weeks to even be remotely comfortable. The interior is very spacious, I have cloth interior (because I live in Florida and I don't like burning my legs during the summer on leather), the headrests are adjustable up & down as well as front to back, no lumbar support which is a bummer. The only complaints I have for this car is that when it rains and I'm driving, it sounds like it is raining in the car (I have caught myself checking to make sure all of my windows are up). The AC blows so cold I have to turn it warmer or off occasionally. The stereo system with no upgrades is ok, it chooses when and what device to connect to when it feels like it. With the touch screen you have the ability to go in and manually adjust the equalizer so it kind of helped with the factory settings for the speakers. I enjoy having all the controls on the steering wheel and I have my ipod hooked up and can scroll through songs and playlists with those controls. I feel that it is easier than trying to fight with the touchscreen. Biggest con of the speakers is that when you are listening to whatever music you like, if you have it under #10 volume setting you can barely hear it, #11-#20 is probably standard background noise level for most people, but say that 1 song comes on that you really would like to enjoy and you want to crank it....you cannot successfully pass #25 without causing distortion in the speakers- I think they take a nap at this point. The volume goes to 30 but it really is not that loud, unless of course you are standing outside of the car, then you can hear it as clear as day. I do not think that the doors are insulated very well. My previous car was a 2007 Mazda 3 stock as stock can be and the stock speakers bumped like you had a subwoofer in the car, but it was loud inside the car and quiet on the outside. But I did not choose this car for it's not so amazing sound system. I like the backup camera that came stock this model year, the display comes up on the head unit and takes some getting used to if you have never used one before. The sight lines out of the car from the drivers seat is really good compared to some other newer model cars I have been in. The hatchback makes it a breeze to see when backing up as well as changing lanes in traffic. It has amazing safety ratings which is not surprising. While researching this brand and just from what I know and can physically see, there are supports in the door that essentially lock into place when you have the doors shut to assist in the case of a side impact collision. Also, in the case of a front end collision you would not have to worry about the engine coming through the firewall because it drops down so that the front end can take the impact and crumple while not leaving you trapped in the car. AWD is awesome and also works wonders with the traction control assist. I know some other people reviewing this car refer to AWD while driving in northern climates, but it is awesome here because it doesn't just rain a little, it is a torrential downpour as a normal afternoon shower. Driving can become dangerous during the summer under these conditions, but all these features make it easier to know I will make it home safely every day. I drive a lot on the highway but some stop and go city traffic and over the last few months I have been averaging 38-41 mpg combined. I use the cruise control A LOT and with the sport it comes with paddle shifters, which does take some getting used to after driving stick shift for over 10 years, but I choose to use these to control my speed instead of using the brake every time I need to just slow down and not completely stop. I don't take off very heavily but I did a small experiment because I was bummed about the gas mileage not being as high as I wanted it, so for a week I drove normal and just leaving the car in automatic mode, drove how I always drove in the past, and with the CVT transmission it has some lag in 3rd gear into 4th. Then for the following full week, while I was in traffic with stoplights, I used the manual mode to take off and also to get onto the highway. My fuel economy was much better the second week with my conclusion being that when allowing the transmission to shift itself, it prematurely shifts into 4th gear. When you shift yourself you actually get up to speed at the same rate as from a complete stop until 3rd gear in automatic mode. Naturally, when you are taking off from a complete stop you assume that the transmission is going to shift at the same rate for each gear until you are up to speed, so while thinking that this car will do that once you hit 4th gear, your natural reaction is to hit the gas pedal slightly more thinking that you are going to get out of that slump, but all you end up doing is burning fuel for no reason. I have not had my first oil change yet, but have not had any burning smell that I have read on some reviews, according to my maintenance schedule I only need to change it every 6,ooo miles. Oil is full sythetic, however, a lot of other users that report having the oil leak or burn up- my question would be, Do you let your car warm up before you just take off? I have this awesome little light on my gauge cluster that is blue when you first turn on the car say first thing in the morning. I wait for that light to go away before I drive off, it takes about 2 minutes which allows the oil that has been congealing in the bottom of the engine all night to have a chance to warm up and coat the engine and all the gaskets. Now this is the middle of summer still and this is the south. I'm sure during the winter when it is colder I will have to give it 5 minutes to warm up. I have done this with every car I've ever driven and have NEVER had a problem with oil leaking or magically evaporating. Subaru is known for it's longevity, but you have to treat your car right and if you take care of it, then it will take care of you."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love my Subaru

By on Thursday, August 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800

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: "Standard AWD, good MPG, ample power, hugs road"

Cons: "Infotainment system needs improvement"

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

"I test drove the Civic SI, RAV4 and the Impreza and decided to go with the Subaru. The SI would have been nice, but I wanted an all wheel drive and the RAV4 was a bit pricey, and I really wanted a car rather than an SUV. I live in Seattle and people here loves Subaru, maybe because it rains a lot here and although it doesn't snow much, it can get crazy driving here in a few inches of snow, because the city only plows the main roads. My first impression of the impreza is, it is a solid built car, it hugs the road well, thanks to the standard AWD. People complain of the acceleration but it is not a slow car, i agree it's no pocket rocket, but it provides ample power on my daily city driving.It's also practical because of good mpg. So far I am very satisfied with this car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Clean, Comfortable, Roomy and VG Fuel Economy

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good mileage, roomy, excellent fit and finish"

Cons: "Weak sound system, a bit of road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Bought a 2 tone Hatchback Sport Premuim with manual transmission, and have driven the car a month or so. I like it. I wasn't planning on a standard transmission but when I saw this car on the Subaru lot, I decided to give it a try. Very nice ride, stable and secure when pushed on a curvy road. Nice torque range so I don't have to shift every time the rpms get low. Not a rocket but I am not a racer unless it's on a sailboat. Excellent fit and finish. Lots of room for my 6'3" son in the front or back seat. Luggage area a bit small as a consequence, but the seats fold flat for bigger stuff. Very good headlights, lots of throw and a wide field of illumination. Brakes are great. Fuel ecomony is way beyond my expectations. I own a Prius so I am used to high mileage, but when I got 43 mpg driving the back roads between Claremont NH and Bridgton Maine I was blown away. At interstate speeds of 70-75 I am in the more normal vicinity of 35-37 mpg. So far so good. With the all-wheel drive, I am almost looking forward to winter!"

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."

24 people out of 41 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."

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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