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2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited Ride and Review By Larry Nutson

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited 4-door (select to view enlarged photo)

Subaru S[ecs, Comparisons and Prices - Subaru Buyers Guide

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited 4-door Most Fuel Efficient A-W-D Car in the US.
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Subaru has been and continues to be on a roll. In spite of dismal auto industry sales in recent years, Subaru has bucked the trend and seen year-over-year increases. Subaru is the only car manufacturer in the US to have had four successive years of sales growth.

Notwithstanding the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan that resulted in reduced production from many Japanese manufacturers, Subaru sales for 2011 were up 1.2% to 206,989. Subaru forecasts 300,000 sales in 2012.

Before moving to Chicago, I lived in Connecticut for a couple years. There it often appeared that every other car on the road was a Subaru. New England is a big Subaru market. Some joke that Subaru is the official state car of New Hampshire.

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited 4-door (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2012 Impreza is all-new. It went on sale in November, 2011. More high tensile steel is used in the body structure for increased strength and safety, and improved handling. The wheelbase is longer, but overhangs are shorter, and the interior is roomier. Trunk and cargo room is bigger. The engine is a new 2.0-liter Boxer engine and there is a new second–generation CVT. Big news is the 30% increase in fuel economy.

Impreza has seating for five and comes as a 4-door sedan or a 4-door hatchback…a 5-door to some. Models offered are base, Premium, and Limited and additionally a Sport Premium and Sport Limited in the 5-door. All are powered by an all-new 148-hp 2.0-liter Boxer engine…replacing the previous 2.5-liter, but with better overall performance and fuel economy…with a choice of a five-speed manual transmission or the second-generation Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission). EPA fuel economy ratings are 27 city mpg and 36 highway mpg with the CVT and 25 city mpg and 34 highway mpg with the 5-speed.

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited 4-door (select to view enlarged photo)

Impreza Premium, Sport and Limited models with the CVT also feature a 6-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters, which allow the driver to control the transmission via six pre-set ratios. I preferred driving in this mode using the paddle shifters…slightly more fun and engaging. New electric power steering system, which by itself contributes a 2-percent efficiency increase, and lower rolling resistance tires help the fuel economy gains. And the 14.5 gallon fuel tank will get you 500 miles or more. I prefer vehicles with a driving range long enough for an all-day road trip without a fuel stop.

All 2012 Impreza models are equipped with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which combines stability and traction control functions, 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and the Brake Assist safety system.

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited 4-door (select to view enlarged photo)

Subaru has increased the level of standard and optional features for the new Impreza. The base model features a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power windows, door locks and side mirrors, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, outside temperature gauge, a multi-function display with fuel economy information, remote keyless entry system, security system with engine immobilizer, variable intermittent windshield wipers with a low windshield washer fluid warning light, and carpeted floormats.

Impreza Premium models add 16-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio and Bluetooth® control switches, a rear stabilizer bar for crisper handling, adjustable console armrest, body-color exterior mirrors and chrome interior door handles. The standard audio system in the Premium models features Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, Radio Data Broadcast System (RDBS), iPod® control capability, USB port, 3.5mm aux. input jack and six speakers. An optional All-Weather Package adds heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.

A power moonroof and a navigation system are available for the Premium models. The new navigation system includes a 6.1-inch touch screen LCD display, voice control, iTunes® tagging, SMS text messaging capability, XM® Satellite Radio and XM NavTraffic (both XM services require subscriptions). Updated map data can be downloaded to a personal computer and then transferred into the system via secure digital (SD) card.

The Impreza Sport Premium is a five-door model that combines standard 17-inch alloy wheels and the All-Weather Package with fog lights, roof rails, unique seat fabric and rocker panel spoilers.

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited 4-door (select to view enlarged photo)

Topping the 2012 Impreza range, the Limited and Sport Limited (five-door only) models deliver the highest level of comfort and convenience. Leather seating, the All-Weather Package and Alloy Wheel Package are standard. A further audio upgrade (above the Premium) features a 4.3-inch display screen and standard HD Radio. The navigation system and power moonroof are options.

Impreza pricing starts at $18,245 for the sedan and $18,745 for the 5-door, including the $750 delivery fee. My week-long test drive was in the Limited sedan with CVT and a $21,595 MSRP. Added were a Navigation and Moonroof Package for $2000. With the $750 delivery charge the total was $24,345.

I liked the driving dynamics of the sedan and didn’t find it too long for easy on-street parallel parking. Acceleration was brisk, but I had to get used to the engine operating at one rpm as the car accelerated with no gear shifting of the CVT. Interior fit and finish is among the best and seat comfort suited me well.

Although I have owned SUVs and Crossovers…when I regularly needed the versatility, cargo capacity and a-w-d…I very much prefer “cars”. I like the Impreza’s versatility combined the a-w-d to help attack Chicago winter snow. Hatchbacks and station wagons are very much to my liking.

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited 4-door (select to view enlarged photo)

Subaru enjoys high owner loyalty with 35% of their buyers under age 35 and 29% over age 55.

Warranty coverage is 3 years/36,000 miles basic, 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain, 5 years rust perforation, 3 years/36,000 miles 24/7 roadside assistance. Subarus are sold through a network of approximately 600 dealers across the United States.

© Larry Nutson