1,000-Mile Fuel Economy - 2012 Subaru Impreza Long-Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza Long Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza: 1,000-Mile Fuel Economy

September 13, 2012

2012 Subaru Impreza

After nearly 1,000 miles (969, specifically) from Orange County to Reno and back in the Impreza, I'd rate it a solid road trip choice. The seats are comfortable, the interior offers plenty of storage cracks and crevices, and it's spacious enough that you could probably haul three sun-drunk and malodorous friends back from Burning Man in fair comfort. On Labor Day on U.S. Highway 395 South, a steady train of bike-carrying cars, all caked with telltale alkali silt, appeared to be doing just that.

An aside: My cousin, who made the Reno family gathering after several days out on the Black Rock Desert playa, exclaimed "I'm human again!" after taking her first real shower. She then says to me, "Come out with us next year. You'll love it."

I consider: Burn out with a few thousand glazed, flame-twirling trippers on a hot, windy salt flat? Or compile a hot list of sin in New Orleans a few months later at Carnival? Sorry, cousin. As parties go, St. Charles beats Black Rock any day.

I neglected to top off the Impreza's tank before setting out, thus the first fuel results mingle with 173 previous miles of combined driving. Still, I managed to nearly match that number when I made the first fuel stop with 331 miles on the trip meter. The tank took 11.69 gallons of 87 octane for an average of 28.3 mpg. Not bad, but still below its EPA rating of 30 mpg combined.

The next tank delivered me to Reno (324 miles), drove me about six miles around Reno on a few errands, then down to Bridgeport, California for a total range of 437.5 miles. The distance-to-empty meter showed 30 miles, but with the next pumps about 25 miles away and a general distrust of DTE estimates, I wasn't prepared to risk it.

After 437.5 miles, the tank took 14.12 gallons. Subaru says the Impreza has a 14.5-gallon tank, so the car's 478.5-mile highway range claim seems a tad enthusiastic. But that tank averaged 31.0 mpg - the best we've averaged so far. Again, that's still below the 36 mpg highway EPA rating and this tank covered almost all highway miles. Bear in mind that this was Mojave Desert and Eastern Sierra highway, characterized by gradual, but significant elevation changes. I kept a quick and steady pace throughout, but regularly got on the throttle to maintain momentum or pass on uphills. I kept the CVT busy and the results probably reflect this.

The final tank, from Bridgeport to Orange County and back to Santa Monica, resembled the former: 425.9 miles consuming 13.76 gallons, nearly all of it over highway miles. That's 30.9 mpg, just a layer of Burning Man dust shy of our best tank average.

The Impreza, meanwhile, claimed an optimistic 32.1 mpg average in its display.

Some final numbers to consider. Impreza owners report "real-world" averages of 29.8 mpg on the EPA's website. Factoring this road trip, we're averaging 25.9 lifetime mpg.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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