I Like the Hatch - 2012 Subaru Impreza Long-Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza Long Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza: I Like the Hatch

2012 Subaru Impreza

Here's my favorite feature on our long-term 2012 Subaru Impreza: the hatch itself. It's super lightweight and easy to close, whether you use the intended hand grip or grab it from the side while juggling a couple bags.

The hatch is easy to open, too, with the expected latch (well, it's not a mechanical latch per se, but some electronic sensor with a rubber pad over it) right below the Subaru badge and right above the license plate — rather than an unorthodox button release as on our recently departed 2012 Mazda 3.

It makes me happy that Subaru paid attention to these details on the Impreza hatchback. I just wish I liked the rest of the car more. The high level of road noise in this car is barely tolerable, even by budget car standards, and the suspension floats over small road imperfections but feels harsh over the bigger ones. The engine is weak. The cabin looks nice at a glance, but the materials quality has slipped and there's already a major rattle coming from our long-term car's dash.

I've recommended the previous two generations of the Impreza (both WRX and otherwise) to friends, but I can't keep that up with this car. Buy a Mazda 3 and put on snow tires, I'll tell them. Or if you really must have all-wheel drive, just about any of the current population of compact crossover SUVs would be a better choice. Yep, I really said that: Buy an SUV over what was formerly one of the best SUV alternatives.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,880 miles

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