April 1, 2013
I've begun stage two of three in the construction of my new entertainment center. I made use of our long-term Infiniti JX for stage one since it involved much more demanding hauling duties. When I chose the Impreza for this part, I have to admit, I wasn't 100-percent confident.
February 21, 2013
Can four adults with two golf bags and luggage find happiness on the road to Palm Springs?
I was hoping to impress some out-of-town guests with a larger, more luxurious car for a trip to Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs. Instead, I got the keys to the 2012 Subaru Impreza. After some mental reprogramming, I decided it would be an interesting test of the car's cargo space and interior comfort.
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
December 19, 2012
We bring a lot of test gear to the track every Tuesday. Usually we're lucky enough to have some kind of SUV or crossover with which to carry it all. Last week the task fell to our long-term 2012 Subaru Impreza. Although it's a wagon, it's still not a very big car.
Despite this, it wasn't much of a chore to fit all the equipment into the Subie. It required folding down the 40-percent side of the rear seat to fit in the jumbo and unwieldy suitcase which carries all of our timers, stands, tools, etc. In a separate test, we established that this suitcase is both larger and heavier than Senior Editor Josh Jacquot.
A few items were relegated to the Impreza's rear passenger floor, but overall this little Subie can pack it in. Nice.
But while cargowise the Impreza handled all the gear with relative ease, the same couldn't be said for the effect on its acceleration. It was noticeably more lethargic.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 11,941 miles
November 12, 2012
But what about two 8-foot long folding tables? These are the two tables and six chairs I borrowed from my neighbor for my kid's birthday party a couple of weeks ago, the same tables that the CR-V swallowed up no problem. My neighbor John runs the U.S. subsidiary of RS-R, the Japanese aftermarket suspension manufacturer, and I needed to get the tables, chairs and two coolers back to his shop in Orange County.
He graciously delivered them with his Tundra before the party and it was the least I could do to get them back to his shop. The tables loaded into the Impreza with the same ease as they did in the CR-V. Similar configuration, too: remove the headrest from the passenger seat, drop the rear seatbacks, slide the passenger seat forward and max recline it. Easy. Impreza continues to impress with its everyday livability and usefulness, if not its inebriated transmission.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
November 06, 2012
Sometimes it's the simple things that please you most. This is one of those simple things. The Impreza's huge bin below the center stack is, well, awesome. Everthing goes in there with room to spare.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
October 8, 2012
How do we know it's fall in Southern California? One sign is the pumpkin patches that pop up virtually overnight, featuring pony rides, petting zoos and other lightweight carnival attractions. They sell pumpkins too, of course. These made a nice backdrop for the Impreza, which could haul several of them with ease.
How do we know it's fall in Southern California, circa 2012? The pumpkin patch has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page.
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @7,882 miles Categories: 2012 Subaru Impreza
October 5, 2012
The editors here are in the midst of assessing cars for our 2013 New Car Buying Guide. For some categories, it's a snap. For others, not so much. My ballot at this point is littered with preliminary votes, notes and question marks. All that will be resolved by deadline, however. That's why they call them deadlines.
In the course of surveying the cars, I've found the Edmunds Ratings criteria helpful. For fun, I thought I'd apply them to our Subaru Impreza. (We have rated the Impreza, but that was in 2010, and the test car was a 2011 WRX -- a different critter from our 2012 hatchback, which sports Subaru's new engine and the continuously disappointing -- I mean variable -- transmission.)
I'm not the expert here. My test-driving brethren and sistren are. But here's my quick take on the car. Our ratings employ a one-to-five-star scale:
Engine and transmission performance including acceleration and drivability: Two stars. (I'm downgrading here because of the CVT.)
Outward visibility, blind spots and nighttime exterior lighting: Four stars.
Steering, handling and braking performance; overall agility: Three stars.
Driving position and seat comfort; the logic and ease-of-use of controls: Four stars.
Seat Access & Space
Ease of entry & exit; interior roominess: Three stars.
Ride softness and body motion control: Three stars.
The absence of interior noise, especially from exterior sources such as road, wind and engine: Two stars.
Visible quality factors such as panel gaps, paint quality and interior materials; fit and finish: Three stars.
Cargo & Storage
Available trunk and cargo space and the ease of loading and unloading: Three stars.
If you were rating your ride this way, how would it do?
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @7,800 miles
August 29, 2012
Fundamental Rule of Travel: you always return with more than you take.
For my wife and kid, who visit family in Japan every summer, this borders on physical law. This year, the wife left with two suitcases and returned with three. There was also an additional small carry-on. She also took a box of gifts and returned with a box of gifts, so that was a wash.
I hadn't anticipated the extra suitcase when signing out the Impreza. It's a good thing we only have one kid, because a second one might have been riding on the roof. Hey, it's good enough for Mitt Romney.
The Impreza swallowed it all, but just. Had to angle the rear-most suitcase to close the hatch. Still, pretty impressive. Not the safest way to haul everything, I admit that. Next time, a super Spidey Net to trap it all down.
August 03, 2012
I found a bright green leather chair and ottoman at the store that I thought might look good in my living room, but I wasn't sure. I was driving the Subaru Impreza and thought, "Well, I can toss the ottoman in the hatch easily, if I like it, I'll come back for the chair."
The above photo is me reloading the ottoman back into the Subaru for its return trip to the store.
The only thing good about that purchase was how it easy it was to take back.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 4,172 miles
July 25, 2012
I was fortunate to have our 2012 Subaru Impreza at my disposal the other day. Sometimes you need to move stuff. And when that stuff is seven feet long, like these lengths of door trim, the utility of a wagon always beats that of a car.
The only obstacles were the cargo cover, which I chose not to remove, and the front passenger seat. The seat was a bit awkward and did not fold forward easily to allow the extra space I needed. Instead, I folded it all the way back. That worked nicely.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager
July 10, 2012
Jacquot one-upped me by beating me to my own patented segment (Josh, I think you owe me some royalties, by the way) with the Impreza awhile back. Now I'm one-upping him by seeing if I can fit my road bike in fully assembled--Jacquot took the front wheel off his mountain bike.
Click on to find out:
Not. Even. A. Problem. Hooray for wagons, even small ones. Of course, I'm admittedly not the size of Bradley Wiggins.
June 08, 2012
No problem. I could put three of them in there.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor