Monterey to Los Angeles - 2012 Subaru Impreza Long-Term Road Test
ADVERTISEMENT

2012 Subaru Impreza Long-Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza: Monterey to Los Angeles

April 16, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza

The final day of my road trip in our long-term 2012 Subaru Impreza is mapped out with relaxation and visual stimulation in mind. Instead of taking the faster, easier route down U.S. Highway 101 or Interstate 5, I'm taking California Highway 1. It stretches down the Pacific coast overlooking breaking waves, cliffs and bridges, while on the opposite side of the car there are towering redwood forests and endless greenery. The views are everything I expected. What I wasn't expecting, though, is the horrendous weekday traffic.

I pack up and leave Monterey late in the morning. The Subaru Impreza doesn't have a problem storing my baggage for the trip, but if I'd overpacked and brought passengers with me, I'd definitely need to be more discerning with cargo.

2012 Subaru Impreza

I find what I'm looking for on Highway 1: distinctive landscape, unique scenery and entertaining twists and turns.

2012 Subaru Impreza

Bixby Bridge, north of Big Sur State Park, is used in countless car commercials, tourism ads and photo shoots. It's well worth the wait to get a front row parking spot and breathe in the scenery for a minute or two. The Subaru is remarkably good at this stop-and-go stuff, squeezing in and out of tight spots. I'm not afraid of scraping the nose or damaging the undercarriage. It feels rugged.

2012 Subaru Impreza

I encounter two construction projects that halt traffic for at least thirty minutes each. In the first two hours I cover 33 miles. Traffic is starting to distract me and interfere with my ability to enjoy the scenery. I regret not looking up traffic conditions before I left, and I'm definitely getting restless.

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

Time for lunch and Nepenthe comes highly recommended. It sits above the coastal clouds nestled amongst the trees on Big Sur and offers one of the best dining views I've ever seen. It feels good to relax and get out of traffic for a moment, and the triple-berry pie makes things even better.

2012 Subaru Impreza

After two more traffic stops caused by construction, the Subaru's low-fuel light comes on. Normally I'd power through with the knowledge that I could probably go another 50-60 miles, but the remote location and scattered civilization make me nervous. I pull over at the first sign of gas and pay $5.79 a gallon for 87-octane fuel. Twenty bucks worth will suffice for now.

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

Two more construction projects halt my progress, adding another hour to the final leg of my trip. This depresses me so I need to remind myself again why I took the long route. Hey look! There's a distraction over there! Seals!

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

They hilariously burp, roll and flop around while I take in my fill of the ocean breeze. I head back to the Subaru and I can't help but notice how at home it looks amongst the greenery in the gravel parking lot.

2012 Subaru Impreza

I make a final stop in Santa Barbara for dinner but it's getting dark so I don't linger. Santa Barbara is a beautiful town and I'd love to spend some more time here. But the day has been long, so I'm back on the road in 20 minutes.

I arrive home after nearly 11 hours on the road, which is almost double the time Google Maps estimated.

After four days in our 2012 Subaru Impreza, I collect my thoughts. Fuel economy for the trip averages out to 28.6 mpg (the in-car meter gave me 30.3 mpg). The best result came from my first fill up outside Nevada City where I got 30.9 mpg. No question, the Subie is capable and efficient on the open road, so long as you can deal with its sluggish acceleration.

The stereo is good, too, especially at speed with the windows up. The tall cabin feels too exposed, though, so I'd put some tint on the windows if this were my personal car.

Ultimately, if I lived somewhere with inclement weather (like the Lake Tahoe area), I'd seriously consider a Subaru Impreza. But I'd definitely opt for one with a manual transmission and a turbo.

2012 Subaru Impreza

Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 18,330 miles


Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Past Long-Term Road Tests

ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411