The Subaru Impreza, be it the sedan or 5-door hatchback, has occupied a fairly niche segment of the compact car world for quite some time. The understated yet reliable vehicle comes with the automaker’s fantastic all-wheel drive system, making it unique in the segment.
That is about to change, however, when the 2019 Mazda3 goes on sale this year, offering all-wheel drive for the first time.
However, I do not think Subaru is shaking it its boots just yet.
We recently tested the 5-door variant of the 2019 Subaru Impreza, it the fully equipped Sport-Tech with EyeSight trim for a cool $32,745 (other trims are Convenience, Touring, Sport, Sport with EyeSight and Sport-Tech).
The Sport-Tech trim is a Canadian exclusive. Who says we don’t get nice things?
It’s got all the bells and whistles, from leather seats, heated everything and the peace of mind that comes with Subaru’s EyeSight system.
Not only do you get the active safety features of the package, it also comes with high beam assists, rear proximity warning with automatic braking and push-button start.
Under the hood is a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder Boxer engine that is paired to Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT.
The 152 horsepower and 145 ft-lb of torque put out by the engine is not going to win you any races, but they are more than sufficient to make the Impreza a pleasant drive in the city and when you hit the highway.
And winter storms? The Impreza laughed in the face of 40 centimetres of snow that fell during my week with the vehicle, with the AWD system making my drive to work a breeze – and the fact that most people were stuck in the driveways made the highways easy to navigate!
The Impreza as tested is rated for a combined fuel consumption average of 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres, which is a great number. Unfortunately, my testing didn’t come near that, returning an average of 10.2 L/100 km.
In terms of exterior design, the 2019 Impreza won’t blow you away, but there’s a certain understated elegance to its design.
The front end has some aggressive looking headlight assemblies, a subtle but rising beltline that gives it some sportiness and, on our tester, a set of 18-inch alloy wheels that are very sharp and enhance the look against the backdrop of the Crystal Black Silica (black) paint job.
The Impreza’s interior is a stark contrast from the exterior – at least in terms of the colour on our ride. The Sport-Tech trim exclusive leather interior was a very nice Ivory, making for a bright cabin.
Other trim exclusives include a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and an upgraded infotainment system with navigation and over-the-air map updates.
Seating is comfortable, there’s a good amount of rear legroom and the instrument layout is quite nice, as is the fit and finish of the interior materials.
And being a hatchback, the Impreza offers a good amount of cargo room.
Powering those Harman Kardon speakers is the latest version of Subaru’s infotainment system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Sport-Tech trim gets the larger 8-inch screen, and the clear display offers up large icons that are easily identifiable and can be operated even with a glove in in winter. Bonus!
And when you grip the (heated) steering wheel with those gloved hands to take the Impreza out onto the open road, don’t be fooled by the “sport” in the trim’s name.
It has nothing to do with extra oomph under your right foot.
Acceleration is nothing to write home about but it gets the job done … while the CVT drones on.
The sport suspension on the tester means the ride is a little stiffer than on other Impreza’s, but it is not too disconcerting. And the suspension, paired with the AWD, make quick work of even the bumpiest winter roads.
The overall handling and steering of the sedan are both quite good, and that equates to a happy driver.
The Impreza has a long track record in Canada, one that has seen it earn a loyal following because of its affordability, reliability and excellent all-wheel drive system.
Now it’s time to see if it can weather the storm that will come with having another AWD competitor in the segment.
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport-tech with EyeSight
Price as tested: $32,745.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder Boxer engine/ Lineartronic CVT
Power/torque: 152 horsepower/ 145 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (50 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 7.6 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 10.2 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Kia Forte, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze