Fuel Sipper MPG Report - 2012 Subaru Impreza Long-Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza Long Term Road Test

2012 Subaru Impreza Sport: Fuel Sipper MPG Report

January 30, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza Sport

In our Fuel Sipper Smackdown the editors take several cars and drive three different routes: backroads, city and highway. It's a good test of a car's capability since some cars shine on the open road while others (mainly hybrids) do well around town.

I had a chance to follow the same route on a trip to Las Vegas recently. For my highway mileage I got 27.1 mpg over 361 miles of mainly highway driving cruising at about 75 mph. Oddly enough, over 178 miles of city driving, I got 30.5 mpg. And on the return trip, I got 27.2 mpg over 296 miles of winding road through Death Valley. Over the entire trip, 835 miles, my fuel economy was 27.8 mpg, less than the 30 mpg combined the EPA predicts.

The results are both encouraging and puzzling. Here's what I noticed. First, there isn't much difference between the three legs of the journey, despite three very different types of driving. Second, the fuel economy is pretty good in all cases. And third, the best fuel economy came during city driving in stop-and-go traffic.

Clearly, a longer test is needed. But the good news is that the Impreza seems capable of posting some decent fuel economy numbers in a variety of conditions.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 14,098 miles


  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    I'd suspect that your city driving leg was filled with lots of gradual acceleration, top speeds of maybe 40 mph, and foresight on your part to avoid rushing forward just to stop. With a warm engine I can beat 30 mpg in my Focus even if I catch every red light on the "local" segment of my route to work. 35 mpg isn't uncommon in the summer. Yet a high speed highway run (like that 75 mph you report) will have my mpg floating around 30-33. Face the facts: speed kills. If you cruise at 65 mph instead I bet you can match the EPA highway rating. Cruise at less than 65 and you'll beat it.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    For such a wussy engine and a CVT that highway mileage is very poor. I routinely got 26 out of my 2007 Forester with the 2.5/4EAT combo.

  • ed124c ed124c Posts:

    At 75 mph my '05 Outback manual gets about 26 or so, but will improve by 2 or 3 mpg when down to 65-70. I am disappointed by this Impreza's mileage, and the fact that Subaru hasn't improved mileage very much since I bought my OB in 2004. And mine is just the old reliable 2.5 with 167 hp. It seems that the cars that get their numbers are in the minority-- and that is after the government has changed the mileage numbers several times to get the numbers more in line with what drivers actually got.

  • foxtrot685 foxtrot685 Posts:

    CVT's actually lose efficiency the faster you go oddly enough. I had someone who has worked with cvt's explain the reason for this and the conclusion was based on some high tech physics principles he told me lol. So it's no surprise your most efficient leg was done in the city.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    What you are seeing I suspect is not so much a function of CVT as it is a function of AWD. The two big criticisms of this car are that it's gutless and gets poor fuel economy. It's around 3000 lbs. and has 145 hp...which is not much, but a regular FWD car with this power will show around 128 wheel horsepower on a dyno. I suspect this vehicle would show around 118. Power loss FWD would be around 12%, but AWD in this configuration I would suspect around 18% loss. Subaru may have kept it somewhat price competitive with regular FWD cars as far as transaction price is concerned, but AWD will cost you extra money with every turn of the wheels. Also, love those California gas prices. I just paid $3.88 a gallon for 93...and I live in NY, not some low tax/no tax southern state. For the fuel economy disparity...I would not get too wrapped up in that - one gas station had a level apron, one was sloped and had the gas filler side of the car lower, which made the auto shutoff kick sooner, one station had that apron sloped the other way, with the reverse effect...etc.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    30mpg around town is impressive, but probably atypical. 28 mpg highway is the low end of 5-cylinder VW territory, an engine that has always underperformed on fuel economy but unlike this Subaru has some grunt and isn't strapped to a CVT. This makes me worry about the real world fuel economy of the new Forester.

  • same as Mazda3 2.5

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