You’re looking at the 2017 Impreza, the first vehicle underpinned by Subaru’s new global platform architecture. It’s supposed to also debut the company’s new design language, DYNAMIC x SOLID but frankly, it looks like a bore; like a Legacy with more lines. But before dismissing the car as a whole, listen carefully because this is a barometer of Subaru cars to come.
The Impreza’s design is something we’ve already seen from past Subaru models, but its 2017 compact is the first model to incorporate all those elements. Designed with aerodynamics and visibility in mind, the Impreza retains the large greenhouse while adopting a more curved front-end that manages to keep the “hawk-eye” headlights. The rear lights have between tweaked while keeping the familiar C-shaped motif we’ve been seeing lately. Perhaps the most interesting part are the fenders which manages to start from the corner of the front wheel well and go all the way to the rear shoulder.
Inside is where it gets the biggest gains in both design and finish. The design itself flows better giving a feeling of refinement while attention to detail such as stitching on the instrument panel gives a feeling of sophistication. The angular dashboard certainly looks sportier while keeping Subaru’s straight-forward ergonomics and control layout intact. The Impreza promises to continue building up on the company’s renowned all-around visibility and spaciousness while adding comfort in the form of better seats. A new 8-inch touchscreen set-up also integrates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and other infotainment set-ups.
And while the Impreza’s sheet metal is largely meh, this is probably because of Subaru’s investment in developing the all-new platform. Underpinning all Subaru models from this point on (including a new three-row crossover), the Subaru Global Platform enables the Impreza to achieve better rigidity in both in its body and chassis (70 percent and 100 percent increase, respectively). This is further enhanced by stronger joints between panels that improves torsional rigidity that greatly reduce vibration and unwanted/unnecessary steering corrections. Repackaging the suspension including a rear stabilizer mounted directly to the body allows the Impreza to lower its center of gravity by five millimeters while reducing body roll by 50 percent.
Powering the 2017 Impreza is the FB20 2.0-liter Boxer 4-cylinder engine now equipped with Direct Injection technology. This new FB20 features 80 percent new parts making the power unit lighter while delivering more power and greater fuel economy. The Lineartronic CVT has also been tweaked with enhanced ratio coverage boosting performance. The CVT also has a 7-speed manual mode operated by paddle shifters.
The Subaru Global Platform is designed to help the brand achieve best-in-class safety for at least a decade (well, up to 2025) and the Impreza is already showing that. The EyeSight system features not only pre-collision braking control, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist, but adds high beam assist as well. Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH), also found in the 2016 Forester, move the beam left or right when turning into corners. The Impreza also debuts a new automatic braking system when reversing. When the Impreza is reversing, a sensor detects obstacles and alerts the driver of possible collisions. If the driver fails to act, it automatically brakes.
Boring as the Impreza looks, Subaru is confident that products packed with their core technologies along with advanced safety will help the brand sell more than one million vehicles globally.
2017 Subaru Major Specifications
- Overall Length: 4,625 mm (4,460 mm, hatchback)
- Overall Width: 1,777 mm
- Overall Height: 1,455 mm
- Wheelbase: 2,670 mm
- Engine: FB20 2.0 DOHC Horizontally-Opposed 4-Cylinder, Direct Injection, NA
- Displacement: 1,995 cc
- Bore x Stroke: 84 x 90 mm
- Maximum Output: 152 horsepower
- Transmission: Lineartronic CVT
- Tire Size: 205/55R16, 205/50R17, 225/45R18