2012 Subaru Impreza: Do You Auto A/C?
August 27, 2012
Our 2012 Subaru Impreza Sport has single-zone automatic climate control that's operated by this simple array of three knobs. The HVAC engineers that work for the various automakers put in a lot of hours tweaking the hardware and software that runs the show behind the scenes.
You see these guys and gals in spy photos taken in Death Valley in the summer and in northern Minnesota or Canada in the winter -- the garden spots. In between they spend hours in dyno chambers that can artificially recreate a wide range of climates and sun loads.
Their goal: to get such systems to respond to conditions automatically with the knobs set as you see them above: Auto mode, Auto fan and a nominal temperature set point of 75 degrees. If a driver or passenger wants to make adjustments for comfort, the temperature knob is intended to be the first line of defense, with directional alterations to the outlet vent grates coming in a close second. In theory, changes to the fan and mode dials are not necessary outside of special circumstances like cold morning defogging.
In my experience this works out most of the time -- unless my passenger and I can't agree on the proper temperature. For that there's dual-zone climate control, but the extra cost of such systems make them rare at this price point.
Here in the Impreza, it seems Subaru's HAVC engineers did their job. I've never felt the need to deviate from the standard full-auto setting pictured above any of the times I've driven it.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,123 miles