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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
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 99 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

I'm forever a Subaru lover!!

By on Thursday, January 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "AWD, fun to drive, gas mileage, reliability"

Cons: "road noise"

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

"I bought this car in October of 2014. I was reluctant, but it is one of the best purchases I have made in my life. Subaru forever has my heart and respect. This car is fabulous for winter weather. The AWD is amazing. I just recently went ice skating in this car on the Interstate. I could feel this car pull me out of sliding. With about 6 cars along side of the road and a Ford truck going off the road in front of me. My car pulled itself out of sliding and prevented it from going in a ditch. It also practically eats snow for breakfast. I have never had a problem in the winter weather in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania. I've actually helped pull a few small cars out of the snow. This car is very practical. It doesn't have fancy interior or exterior. It's a nice looking car enough. I have gotten many compliments on it, but it's not super flashy. It's very simple and I'm comfortable in it. I have never felt like I was too tall or too big to be in the small sedan. The leg room in the back is also great for adults. I've had people comment on how much leg room they actually have. I wish the standard package came with some specs that I got with the All Weather Package. Like: cruise control, dim rearview mirror, and bluetooth, but that's okay. I know subaru likes to go for more quality and practicality in the car itself than having more specs. I really like the handling in the car as well. I feel like the ride is nice. Sometimes there is some road noise, but it's not too bad. The acceleration is slow, but it's a 4 cylinder so not much to expect there. The MPG is really good for an AWD. I get about 33 MPG with regular driving."

Highest Mileage, Least Expensive AWD Car

By on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good Fuel Economy, Good snow car with proper tires"

Cons: "CVT gear change lag, Stock tires are worthless"

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

"I have 33,000 miles on my 2013 Impreza Sport Premium. I read some reviews where people complain about not getting the EPA mileage. I have owned this car long enough to know that you can get 36 mpg at highway speeds, but not at freeway speeds. My experience is that at 55 to 60 mph I get 36+ mpg. At 70 mph I am down to about 33-34 mpg. It drops rapidly from there, at 75 mph I am lucky to get 31 mpg. All of this is at basically sea level. At altitude, the mileage suffers a little more. The only downsides to this car are: The CVT takes a little while to change from Reverse to Drive, which can be annoying when backing out into traffic and you would like to go forward RIGHT NOW! Also, the stock tires are helpless in the snow. I could barely manage in the snow with the stock tires. I have equipped it with Nokian WR G3 tires and now it is a snow beast -- As a Subaru should be."

2015 Sport Limited Impreza Wagon

By on Tuesday, November 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable, AWD, nice features"

Cons: "MPG, +it's not the over-sized go-kart I'm used to"

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

"I've owned this car for only 3 weeks but it's really great. I bought it CPO from the dealership - it was a service loaner for 6 months and had 3,900 miles on it when I took possession. I would highly recommend anyone searching for a good deal on a "used" car consider a former service loaner. It's been my experience that most people who take their car to the dealership for service have a healthy respect for the loaner car, and my car has only 1 scratch on it. It is otherwise perfect and was maintained by the dealership for the entirety of its short life. Plus, CPO cars come with the remainder of the new car warranty, AND a longer powertrain warranty: 7 years/100,000 miles. Being the Sport Limited edition, my car has every available feature except for Nav and EyeSight, so those I won't be reviewing. I will say, EyeSight for 2015 is subject to a recall and I *thought* I would never want the Nav since I use Google maps. However, I learned after I bought the car that you can install an app on your phone to remotely lock and unlock the car but it only works if you have the Nav system. Bummer for me! FYI: I traded in my MINI Cooper S for the Subie, so that's my baseline when reviewing the Impreza features. Pros: -Super comfortable. The leather seats are very plush in front and in back. The heated seats work quickly and come back on in the same setting when I turn the car off/on. Passengers in the backseat seem to have enough leg room and the rear hidden armrest with cup holders is really great. -The automatic CVT is incredibly smooth. I never feel the car shift. The suspension must also be great because I hardly feel potholes and speedbumps that used to jostle the MINI like an earthquake. The MIL can't stop saying "It's so smooth!" -Media controls are on the steering console which is very convenient. The car has a USB connection that allows you to control playback on your phone from the steering console (which is basically my favorite feature). It also has Aux, which is convenient for playing music or audiobooks from other apps. I've found in some scenarios if I'm playing an audiobook from an app via the Aux and plug my phone into the USB to charge, it will stop playing via the Aux and switch to the USB. Switching the source keeps my book playing but it's weird, especially since you can't just plug in the USB to access other apps. -Road noise, there's hardly any. I read somewhere that in 2015 Subaru made some design or material changes that reduced road noise and they seem to have worked. -Back up cameras are standard for every single car manufactured in 2015 or later and the Subie's is nice. My only complaint is that you cannot use the media controls if you are in reverse. You can still adjust volume from the steering console but not via the knob on the dash. -Keyless entry/driving. I don't have to put the key into an ignition, I only need the key to be in the car to drive. All I have to do to unlock the car is put my hand on the handle and if the key is in proximity it will unlock for me. Same to lock, but there's a bit of a lag and sometimes I have to try multiple times to get it to lock. The fob, however, works every time. -Free badges! The badge of ownership is pretty cool, and genius marketing. I got my free badges so everyone knows this is my 1st Subaru (even though it's really my 5th Subaru, having been raised in a Subie family. :) ) Cons: -It's a little slow. Again, compared to my super-charged MINI. I'm used to faster acceleration at higher RPMs and the Subie just does not deliver, I didn't really expect it to, but it's still a con given the mpg. -Gas mileage is not as good as expected. I commute 20 miles round trip to work 5 days a week. 80% of that is highway driving at 50-70 mph and I consistently get between 25-28 mpg. I don't do much town driving, but I'm not even hitting the low end of the advertised mpg. - -Where to mount my phone? Can't use a CD slot mount because it will block the media display, which I use. Can't use a cup holder mount because it's in the center console and I won't be able to see it. Can't use a vent mount because the vents are a little floppy and the mount won't stay in place. I refuse to mount anything to the dash or window of a car for fear of ruining the materials... Luckily, I found a company that manufactures a mount specifically for this model of car that clips into the dash without destroying anything, but it's about $70 worth of equipment and having to search so hard for a solution was a major PITA. Overall, great car. I'll update on reliability in a few years. ;)"

15 people out of 38 found this review helpful

My first car is a Subaru

By on Friday, October 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good Electric Steering, Subaru Quality"

Cons: "Loud Highway noise, outdated stereo"

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

"Originally I was going for the Mazda 3 Speed. However the legroom at the back is just unacceptable compare to the competition. I carry my friends around so I make sure every single seat in my compact car is comfortable for a 30 minute drive. The interior of mitsubishi lancer is too dated, too many people own a honda civic here in Canada,toyota's are boring even with the redesign, and nissan's are unreliable in terms of interior problems. The 2014 subaru impreza is certainly an alternative to the Mazda 3 hatchback if you're looking for better practicality. I do a lot of city driving and living above sea level so my mileage is a bit poor going 21-22 mpg city and 26-32 mpg highway. The first thing I did when I bought the car was getting the all-season mats and upgraded the stereo(non-touch screen) to a Kenwood ddx392 to make this the perfect car. One problem I have so far is the weird high mpg numbers even with my eco driving style, and one of the fan's fins broke. But they replaced it for free under warranty. Oh, everyone at work thought I own a sporty car for some reason.(hatch-back with factory spoiler)"

4 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great car for the money!

By on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Safety, All wheel drive, value, fuel economy"

Cons: "too much plastic interior"

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

"Solid, reliable, roomy, all wheel drive, and safety led me to purchase. All wheel drive with 2WD fuel economy, best compact car out there in my opinion!"

18 people out of 40 found this review helpful

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."

13 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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