Subaru’s eagerly-awaited new Impreza goes on sale in September 2007, offering all its traditional strengths of outstanding handling and active safety thanks to symmetrical all-wheel drive but in a new, more practical package.
And while performance fans will still be catered for early next year when the range-topping, turbocharged WRX STI arrives, the initial emphasis is on the new 1.5 and 2.0 litre models aimed at a much wider audience.
Both enjoy enhanced fuel economy and driveability thanks to improved ‘boxer’ engines which – having their cylinders horizontally-opposed – give the car a lower centre of gravity for improved grip, reduced body roll and more agile steering response.
This is further aided by the engine and transmission now being placed almost 0.5 ins (10 mm) lower in the platform.
Most models are lighter than their predecessors and enjoy improved aerodynamics – down from 0.36 to 0.34 for the 1.5R, for example.
All new Imprezas share a five-door body which is shorter and wider than the previous Sport Wagon and offers substantially improved interior space thanks – in part – to a 3.7 ins (95 mm) longer wheelbase.
Interior width is around 2 ins (45 mm) greater, while a compact new multi-link rear suspension allows boot space to grow by a substantial 6 cu. ft to 19 cu.ft (538 litres) with the rear seat upright.
Subaru’s aim is to compete more directly in the European market with rivals such as the Honda Civic, VW Golf and Mazda3 while offering the added safety and traction advantage of symmetrical all-wheel drive.
And in Japan – where the new five-door Impreza was recently introduced – sales were a staggering 3,829 units in the first week alone. This represents 150 per cent of the planned MONTHLY sales target.
The new Impreza’s elegant, restrained design gives it a sporty stance with wide tracks, broad shoulder lines and subtle side body creases for a quality look.
Premium touches include a gas strut-assisted bonnet, LED (light-emitting diode) tail lamps, a flowing Tribeca-like fascia design, double-stitched seat cloth, metallic interior decoration and padded armrest cushions.The instruments are also sporty thanks to their clear design and subtle lighting while the extensive vehicle information display includes a fuel consumption indicator highlighting the new Impreza’s much improved efficiency. Published 23 August 2007