2012 Subaru Impreza Long Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza: Audio Aggravation

May 17, 2012


My initial impressions of our new long-termer are not entirely favorable, but then again, I was stuck in traffic and couldn't have the sort of fun that Imprezas are known for. It all started with the audio system.

With the levels and balance zeroed-out and centered, the sound quality was pretty poor. It had a distinct lack of bass and the staging placed the sound focus somewhere in the back seats. Alright, that's not a big deal. As I rolled slowly towards the freeway on-ramp I tried adjusting the levels to suit my tastes, but I was greeted by an on-screen message that said, "It can't be operated when the vehicle is in motion."

Seriously? I'm only adjusting the bass and fader. Why not just put this message instead?


When traffic came to a complete stop, I had an opportunity to start fiddling with the settings, but I never was able to find satisfaction. The bass started to get sloppy as I turned it up and moving the fader up to the front produced a hollow sound quality. Sadly, that was as good as it got.

At one point I wanted to switch over to a playlist, and to my surprise, the audio system allowed me to select one while the car was in motion. Wait, I can select a song, artist or playlist, but I can't adjust the bass? Where's the logic in that? My tastes in music are pretty eclectic, and that means some tracks have different equalizer characteristics. The Impreza's audio system doesn't want to play nice, and that bugs me. I'm hoping it's at least going to be fun to drive in the canyons.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 1,024 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Subaru Impreza in VA is:

$126 per month*
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