Driving the 2012 Subaru Impreza reminds us why Fuji Heavy Industries didn't put us in charge of this important redesign. We would have shrunk this car back it to its 2002-2006 proportions, discontinued the sedan, ordered up a turbocharger even for the sub-WRX models, and blown the rest of the budget trying to make the Impreza handle like a streetable rally car. Exactly 10 of you would purchase our "new" Subaru Impreza and all of Subaru's sales gains in the United States, its biggest market, would be reversed in short order.
Instead, the 2012 Impreza is the most spacious and refined compact car Subaru has ever sold in the U.S. It's also the most fuel-efficient Subie — with EPA ratings as high as 27 city and 36 highway mpg — to arrive on our shores since the three-cylinder Justy. And even though it's less powerful than the car it replaces, the 2012 Subaru Impreza is a bit quicker, thanks to a significant weight loss and a new continuously variable transmission.
Maybe it's not the Impreza we would have built, but that wouldn't stop us from drafting it as a daily driver. Shouldn't stop you, either.
Moving to the Center Back in the 1990s, Subaru decided it would only sell all-wheel-drive cars in the U.S., a move that helped establish its identity as a left-of-center automaker that builds cars that take you on adventures (or to work after a snowstorm). As the 21st century arrived, company executives realized they might have dug too narrow of a niche: Ordinary people who cared about legroom and feature content weren't buying Subaru Imprezas. That realization led to a larger, better-equipped Impreza in 2007, but critics panned the styling. Nevertheless, this car outsold its predecessors.
Enter the more defensively styled 2012 Subaru Impreza Sedan and Hatchback. You might not remember how they look tomorrow, but neither can you pick out any truly ugly details. Note the absence of hood scoops: Only the base-engine Imprezas are new for 2012; the WRX and STI carry over unchanged.
Underneath the new bodywork, there's an extra inch of wheelbase (although the cars aren't any longer overall) which, along with thinner front seat-back cushions, will put to rest any lingering legroom gripes. Your 5-foot-10 author doesn't max out the seat travel in front and, if exiled to the backseat, said scribe's knees don't come close to bumping the driver seat-back.
Downsized Engine, Upsized MPG Mediocre mpg was the other knock against the previous Impreza, which competes with lighter, front-wheel-drive cars. Engineers removed weight from the 2012 model by using more high-strength steel in the unit-body and lighter interior components here and there, but the bulk of the efficiency improvement comes via a new, smaller-displacement engine, a horizontally opposed 2.0-liter that's part of Subaru's recently introduced FB-series four-cylinder engine family.
As we noted after driving a European-spec 2011 Forester with this 2.0-liter, the FB engines are a pretty radical departure from the decades-old EJ series. They're undersquare (the stroke is longer than the cylinder-bore diameter) instead of oversquare, double-overhead-cam instead of single and equipped with a variable valve timing system on both intake and exhaust cams.
In the 2012 Subaru Impreza, the 2.0-liter is rated at 148 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 145 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. You can have it with either the new CVT and a clutch-type AWD system (that prioritizes torque to the front wheels until more traction is needed), or a carryover five-speed manual and a viscous-coupling AWD system that has a default 50/50 torque split. Fuel economy is lower with the manual gearbox — 25 city/34 highway for the sedan, 25/33 for the hatch.
Making Do With Less We're given the key to a CVT-equipped Impreza hatchback in Manhattan's Flatiron district with orders to be in Connecticut, by lunchtime. The early morning slog is over, but we're still scrapping for position with the cabbies. Immediately, we notice that the 2.0-liter has less low-end grunt than last year's 2.5-liter (170 hp, 170 lb-ft).
Once we're up to speed on the West Side Highway, the benefits of the new drivetrain are clearer. Compared to the old four-speed automatic transmission, which was often reaching for 2nd gear during passing maneuvers, the CVT is a far better tool for maximizing forward thrust — all the more important since the FB20 engine doesn't have a huge midrange. The result is adequate acceleration. We expect the CVT-equipped car to hit Subaru's 9.8-second 0-to-60-mph target easily. Manual transmission cars will be slightly quicker.
This doesn't sound quick, but remember that the four-speed automatic-equipped Imprezas never made it out of the 10s. Of course, the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Jetta, which Subaru regards as the Impreza's key rivals, are comfortably in the 8s (we've yet to test a 2012 Mazda 3 with the new, fuel-miser Skyactiv-G engine). Other likely competitors such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra run in the low 9s.
No Whiners A bigger annoyance is that the CVT's belt-and-pulley action produces a shrill whine around 4,000 rpm under full throttle, at least in these pre-production test cars. Additional NVH measures would be wise, as we're frazzled by day's end.
A quick drive in a manual-shift 2012 Impreza restores our sanity, as we hear only normal, endearing boxer-engine sounds. We'd choose a manual Impreza, no question. However, upon reacquainting ourselves with the five-speed's tricky clutch takeup in New Haven's evening rush-hour, we're guessing some 80 percent of you will disagree.
The CVT has a simulated manual mode, by the way, along with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. But you get an automatic "upshift" around 6,300 rpm even though redline is marked at 6,600.
Solid Chassis Our circuitous route from New York to New Haven takes us over some pretty terrible pavement, but the 2012 Subaru Impreza takes it in stride. The chassis is stiffer this year, and although it's still suspended by struts in front and double wishbones in back, engineers made various small changes to improve the ride. There are new bushings in the rear, while the struts now incorporate additional springs — known as rebound springs — to help control body roll without resorting to aggressive damping or a massive stabilizer bar.
The 2012 Impreza feels more buttoned down than last year's car, yet it's still plenty compliant with all of the wheel-tire combinations Subaru is offering (205/50R17, 205/55R16 and 195/65R15). In this regard, it stacks up well with cars like the Jetta and Focus. Road noise is on the high side, though.
There aren't many gnarly curves on Connecticut's back roads, but the Impreza feels balanced through the sweeping turns. It's not as sporty as the Mazda 3, which was reportedly Subaru's handling benchmark, but if this is the baseline, there's hope for the next WRX.
Electric-assist power steering is new to the Impreza line for 2012, and this is not a bad first effort. There's enough of a dead spot on center to minimize corrections when cruising down I-95, but when you make small inputs, the wheel is a touch overeager to return to center. Effort levels are just about right, but there's not much feel compared to the Mazda 3, which has the best steering in the segment. Of course, the Mazda is front-drive, so it's an imperfect comparison.
Brakes consist of ventilated discs and two-piston calipers up front. In back, the solid discs are smaller in diameter this year (10.8 inches versus 11.3) and continue to use single-piston calipers. Pedal feel is trustworthy and requires medium effort.
Same Money Subaru didn't raise pricing, so you can get into a 2012 Impreza sedan for as little as $18,245, while a volume 2.0i Premium model with the CVT will cost you $20,545 ($21,045 if you get the hatchback). A loaded 2.0i Impreza Sport Limited hatch with an optional navigation system and sunroof tops out at $25,345. Standard equipment hasn't changed much, but there's a knee airbag for the driver this year and the steering wheel now telescopes (previously, this feature was limited to the WRX).
Materials quality is near the top of the class. The dash and doortops are soft-touch, and both the cloth (standard on base and Premium models) and leather (standard on the Limited) upholstery are genuinely nice. The audio and climate controls still feel chintzy, but overall, these furnishings are second only to the Jetta wagon.
No matter where you're sitting, there's a well-designed cupholder within reach, and we found slots to stow a blueberry scone, camera, iPhone and notebook simultaneously. You'll need to step up to at least the Premium model if you want Bluetooth and auxiliary and USB inputs.
Cargo space is also up for 2012, as the sedan's trunk now holds 12 cubic feet (versus 11.3 previously) and while the hatchback swallows 22.5 (versus 19.0) with its rear seats in use. Subaru carved out this space by downsizing the gas tank from 16.9 gallons to 14.5.
Commuting Is Not a Crime Subaru's hard-core fans will never be fully satisfied with the 2012 Impreza, simply because it's nothing like the scrappy 2002-'06 car. That car didn't sell well, though — at least not well enough.
This 2012 Subaru Impreza will sell, even if it's not your first pick for bombing down a back road. It will sell because it makes a good commuter car. The ride is comfortable. The acceleration is adequate. Getting 30 mpg is easy. And the cabin is spacious and furnished with quality materials.
This Impreza is absolutely good enough to compete in this class. Of course, it's up against equally good cars like the Mazda 3, Focus and Jetta Sportwagen, so as in years past, AWD is the main reason you'd buy it.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
2012 Subaru Impreza Overview
The 2012 Subaru Impreza is offered in the following submodels: Hatchback, Sedan, WRX STI Limited, WRX STI. Available styles include WRX 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M), WRX Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and WRX STI 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M). Impreza models are available with a 2.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 305 hp, depending on engine type. The 2012 Impreza comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual. The 2012 Impreza comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2012 Subaru Impreza?
Save up to $300 on one of 85 used 2012 Subaru Imprezas for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $6995 as of Nov 24, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 125 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2012 Subaru Impreza trim styles:
The 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX is priced around $16995 with average odometer reading of 65840 miles.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited is priced around $12944 with average odometer reading of 57351 miles.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i is priced around $6995 with average odometer reading of 90449 miles.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited is priced around $15857 with average odometer reading of 35571 miles.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX Premium is priced around $20491 with average odometer reading of 57890 miles.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium is priced around $11771 with average odometer reading of 82983 miles.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI is priced around $26693 with average odometer reading of 36616 miles.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium is priced around $11342 with average odometer reading of 79176 miles.
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Is the 2012 Subaru Impreza a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2012 Subaru Impreza and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2012 Impreza featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2012 Subaru Impreza? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2012 Subaru Impreza and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2012 Impreza 3.8 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2012 Impreza.
Review I purchased the Impreza Sport Premium two months ago and have put almost 2K miles on it . In general I am very pleased with the Impreza. The styling is far better than for past Impreza models. The interior is roomy and comfortable.Visability is excellent. It drives and handles very well, almost sport like. Gas mileage has been just about what is advertised. I am getting 30 MPG for a mix of highway and city driving. Now all that being said there are a few things about this vehicle that I am not that impressed with. First is the amount of road and tire noise. It is downright loud on some road surfaces. There is also a delay in shifting from reverse to drive.
2012 Subaru Impreza inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Subaru Impreza for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 781 new and 806 used and CPO 2012 Imprezas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 5990 and mileage as low as 20955. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2012 Subaru Impreza. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a new, used, or CPO 2012 Impreza available from one of 2797 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
2012 subaru impreza WRX STI 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 6-speed manual, premium unleaded (required) 19 combined MPG 17 city MPG/23 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2012 Subaru Impreza?
Available Subaru Impreza 2012 Submodel Types: Hatchback, Wagon, Sedan, WRX STI, WRX STi, WRX STI Limited
Available Trims: 2.0i Sport, 2.0i Premium PZEV, 2.0i PZEV, 2.5i, Outback Sport, 2.0i Sport Premium PZEV, 2.5i Premium, 2.0i Limited PZEV, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Sport Limited PZEV, 2.5 i, 2.0i, 2.0i Limited, Outback Sport Special Edition, WRX, 2.0i Sport Limited, 2.0i Sport Premium, 2.5 RS, WRX STI, WRX STi, WRX Limited, WRX Premium, 2.5 i Special Edition, Outback, WRX TR, 2.5, TS, WRX STI Limited, 2.5GT, LX
Exterior Colors: Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Magnetite Gray Metallic, Lapis Blue Pearl, Island Blue Pearl, Crimson Red Pearl, Venetian Red Pearl, Lithium Red Pearl, Quartz Blue Pearl, Spark Silver Metallic, Carbide Gray Metallic, Steel Silver Metallic/Spark Silver Metallic, Jasmine Green Metallic, Lightning Red, Crystal Gray Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic, Satin White Pearl, Obsidian Black Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Marine Blue Pearl, Camellia Red Pearl, Obsidian Black Pearl/Dark Gray Metallic, Plasma Blue Pearl, Sage Green Metallic/Steel Silver Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic, Deep Cherry Pearl, Newport Blue Pearl, San Remo Red, WR Blue Mica, Paprika Red Pearl, Sky Blue Metallic, Urban Gray Metallic, Sedona Red Pearl, Aspen White, Crystal Grey Metallic, Deep Sea Blue Pearl, Java Black Pearl, Regal Blue Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Sage Green Metallic, Steel Gray Metallic, Topaz Gold Metallic, Blue Ridge Pearl, Newport Blue Pearl/Steel Silver Metallic, Newport Blue Pearl/Urban Gray Metallic, Regal Blue Pearl, Sage Green Metallic/Ice Silver Metallic, Savanna Green, Savanna Green Metallic/Graystone Metallic, Urban Gray Metallic/Crystal Gray Metallic, WR Blue Pearl, Aqua Blue Metallic/Crystal Gray Metallic, Aspen White/Steel Gray Metallic, Cobalt Blue Metallic, Evergreen Metallic/Urban Gray Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl, Gray Metallic/Crystal Gray Metallic, Marine Blue Pearl/Steel Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Pearl/Graystone Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl/Urban Gray Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, San Remo Red/Steel Gray Metallic, Sky Blue Metallic/Ice Silver Metallic, Sunlight Gold Opal
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Black leather, Ivory leather, Black, Off Black cloth, Carbon Black cloth, Ivory, Off Black, Dark Gray Knit, Black Alcantara/Carbon Black leather/sueded microfiber, Graphite Gray/Carbon Black leather/sueded microfiber, Black leather/sueded microfiber, Gray, Desert Beige cloth, Medium Gray Flat Woven, Blue Ecsaine/Black, Carbon Black leather, Ivory cloth, Beige cloth, Dark Gray Flat Woven, Gray Knit, Off Black alcantara, Off Black/Blue Ecsaine
Popular Features: Back-up camera, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Post-collision safety system, Keyless Entry/Start, Power Driver Seat, Blind Spot Monitoring, Upgraded Stereo, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, AWD/4WD, Alarm, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Aux Audio Inputs, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Heated seats, Pre-collision safety system, Auto Climate Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Leather Seats, Upgraded Headlights, Navigation, Remote Start