2012 Subaru Impreza Long-Term Road Test - MPG

2012 Subaru Impreza Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Fuel Economy Update for May

June 3, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza

May was the final month in the long-term test of our 2012 Subaru Impreza. We did not have the Impreza but a week last month before it returned to Subaru. It was enough time to set one record, however.

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 2, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza

Our time with the Subaru Impreza is coming to an end soon. We sent it off on one last road trip to Monterey, CA, which accounted for the bulk of its mileage accumulation in April. No new fuel economy milestones were reached this month. Our lifetime average remains 25.9 mpg and our best single-tank range over 400 miles.

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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.

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 3, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza

Our Subaru Impreza traveled 1,233 miles in the month of March, burning 87-octane fuel and averaging 24.1 mpg.

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 4, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza

We put just over 2,000 miles on our long-term 2012 Subaru Impreza during the month of February, including Phil Reed's road trip to Palm Springs.

Now as the calendar flips to March, our Subie has averaged 25.9 mpg during the life of our long-term test. Best tank stands at 31 mpg, while the worst tank is a low 21.2 mpg.

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza

During the month of January we packed about 2,100 trouble-free miles on our 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited, thanks largely to two road trips, one to Las Vegas, Nevada and another to Scottsdale, Arizona. We averaged 26.3 mpg for the month of January using 87 octane fuel.

The gas mileage we achieved for the month is actually just a smidge better than the 25.9 mpg we've averaged over the car's 14,752 miles. But it also means that, even though the Impreza is a fairly fuel efficient car, we continue to fall short of the EPA's 30 mpg combined rating.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 14,752 miles

Worst Fill MPG: 21.2
Best Fill MPG: 31.0
Average Lifetime MPG: 25.9
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 30.0
Best Range: 437.5 miles
Current Odometer: 14,752 miles

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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.

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Actual vs. Estimated Fuel Usage

January 15, 2013

2013 Lexus GS 350

It's not exactly a secret. It's a story we've covered in the "Tips and Advice" section of our site. We're talking about the fact that the fuel economy gauges in many models tend to paint an optimistic picture when it comes to gas mileage.

Even our otherwise quite trustworthy Impreza is guilty of this small deception. Of course, the discrepancy between actual and estimated numbers isn't (always) huge, and the Impreza certainly isn't the worst offender. But as we point out in our article, if you're using the fuel economy gauge as your sole source of mileage information, over the years, this error in reporting can add up to hundreds of gallons of unreported fuel use.

Here are the differences noted between actual and estimated numbers over the last couple of Impreza fill-ups:

Actual fuel economy: 24.6 mpg
Estimated fuel economy: 25.8 mpg
Discrepancy: 5%

Actual fuel economy: 23.1 mpg
Estimated fuel economy: 28.0 mpg
Discrepancy: 21%

Actual fuel economy: 21.1
Estimated fuel economy: 23.4
Discrepancy: 11%

We'll check out a couple of other cars in our fleet going forward to see how they fare on this front.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Subaru Impreza: December Fuel Economy

January 9, 2013

2012 Subaru Impreza

It's time to take a look at how our Impreza fared at the pump during the month of December. Our little Subie did its fair share of schlepping and hauling in maddening stop-and-go holiday traffic, so we were curious to see what kind of impact this had on overall fuel economy.

Here's what the numbers look like:

Best mpg: 31.0
Worst mpg: 21.2
Overall mpg: 25.8

The EPA gives the Impreza a combined fuel economy rating of 30 mpg.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor@ 12,929 miles

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Off the Pace

November 29, 2012


Earlier this month, I kept the keys to the Impreza for about a week, enough to pretty much empty a full tank. That's unusual for a car in our system since, unless a car goes on a road trip, most people change cars after one or two nights.

On one hand, that's a pretty decent indication of how a car will consume fuel, based on a variety of driver styles. But obviously it's not too applicable to people who drive a car themselves almost exclusively, or perhaps share the keys with a spouse.

I covered 346 mostly highway miles on one tank. I wasn't ginger with the pedal and I made the Impreza beg on daily uphill on-ramp charges (not a pleasant sound). The fill-up took 12.825 gallons. By our calculations, that's 27 mpg combined. The on-board computer optimistically measured 28.5. Perhaps if I'd hyper-miled through the remaining 60 miles indicated on the distance-to-empty meter, I could've got it to 27.5, maybe 28.

That's still below the EPA rating of 30 mpg combined. Our lifetime average with the car is 26 mpg. A little disappointing that the Impreza is 3 or 4 mpg off the pace, but perhaps not a dealbreaker. What do you think? Would you be burned if you'd bought the Impreza and it wasn't delivering the EPA estimate?

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Subaru Impreza: The CVT And Fuel Economy

October 29, 2012


The EPA rates our Impreza's 2.0-liter flat four/CVT combo at 30 mpg combined. As of the end of September, with nearly 7,500 miles on the clock, we were seeing a 26.0 mpg combined average.

But there's another transmission option...

Subaru also offers this car with a 5-speed manual, which is rated at 28 mpg combined. I have a friend who's getting exactly that number with his 5-speed 2012 Impreza. He gets more than 30 mpg on the highway (the EPA rating is 33 mpg).

Given those numbers, the choice is an easy one for me.

Manuals for the win!

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Subaru Impreza: 1,000-Mile Fuel Economy

September 13, 2012

2012 Subaru Impreza

After nearly 1,000 miles (969, specifically) from Orange County to Reno and back in the Impreza, I'd rate it a solid road trip choice. The seats are comfortable, the interior offers plenty of storage cracks and crevices, and it's spacious enough that you could probably haul three sun-drunk and malodorous friends back from Burning Man in fair comfort. On Labor Day on U.S. Highway 395 South, a steady train of bike-carrying cars, all caked with telltale alkali silt, appeared to be doing just that.

An aside: My cousin, who made the Reno family gathering after several days out on the Black Rock Desert playa, exclaimed "I'm human again!" after taking her first real shower. She then says to me, "Come out with us next year. You'll love it."

I consider: Burn out with a few thousand glazed, flame-twirling trippers on a hot, windy salt flat? Or compile a hot list of sin in New Orleans a few months later at Carnival? Sorry, cousin. As parties go, St. Charles beats Black Rock any day.

I neglected to top off the Impreza's tank before setting out, thus the first fuel results mingle with 173 previous miles of combined driving. Still, I managed to nearly match that number when I made the first fuel stop with 331 miles on the trip meter. The tank took 11.69 gallons of 87 octane for an average of 28.3 mpg. Not bad, but still below its EPA rating of 30 mpg combined.

The next tank delivered me to Reno (324 miles), drove me about six miles around Reno on a few errands, then down to Bridgeport, California for a total range of 437.5 miles. The distance-to-empty meter showed 30 miles, but with the next pumps about 25 miles away and a general distrust of DTE estimates, I wasn't prepared to risk it.

After 437.5 miles, the tank took 14.12 gallons. Subaru says the Impreza has a 14.5-gallon tank, so the car's 478.5-mile highway range claim seems a tad enthusiastic. But that tank averaged 31.0 mpg - the best we've averaged so far. Again, that's still below the 36 mpg highway EPA rating and this tank covered almost all highway miles. Bear in mind that this was Mojave Desert and Eastern Sierra highway, characterized by gradual, but significant elevation changes. I kept a quick and steady pace throughout, but regularly got on the throttle to maintain momentum or pass on uphills. I kept the CVT busy and the results probably reflect this.

The final tank, from Bridgeport to Orange County and back to Santa Monica, resembled the former: 425.9 miles consuming 13.76 gallons, nearly all of it over highway miles. That's 30.9 mpg, just a layer of Burning Man dust shy of our best tank average.

The Impreza, meanwhile, claimed an optimistic 32.1 mpg average in its display.

Some final numbers to consider. Impreza owners report "real-world" averages of 29.8 mpg on the EPA's website. Factoring this road trip, we're averaging 25.9 lifetime mpg.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Five Thousand Miles

August 25, 2012

2012 Subaru Impreza2012 Subaru Impreza

Our 2012 Subaru Impreza crossed the 5,000-mile threshold late last week, about three and a half months after joining the fleet.

Over that distance it has averaged 25 mpg, which does not compare favorably to its 30 mpg EPA combined rating. The reason isn't entirely clear -- a lack of long trips hasn't helped -- but we have seen CVT-equipped vehicles fall short of their rated expectations more often than not. This sort of transmission may be one of those technologies that does much better on an EPA test dyno than it does in real life.

On the other hand, the new car smell that had me gagging three months ago is long gone.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,032 miles

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Ekeing Out a Tenth

July 24, 2012


It's hard work pleasing the Impreza's MPG regulator. But I managed. When I started home for the evening, the average MPG meter indicated 27.0 mpg. On the way home, I watched it climb. Slowly. More than halfway home, it seemed to hang at 28.8 mpg. I had to put it over 29, and was running out of time.

I stopped glancing at it for awhile. Refused to acknowledge its existence. I finally looked over and it had jumped to 29.1 with about five miles left in the commute. Victory. Over 48 miles, I averaged two mpg better than my colleagues before me. I have no idea the significance of this claim.

I wasn't done. On the way in today, I was gunning for 30, but could only scratch out was a measly additional three-tenths. On both legs, I kept it around 70 mph and tried to keep the powertrain at around 2,200 rpm, its apparent sweet spot. A few passes required grabbing the paddles for whatever constitutes a downshift in a CVT.

Assuming the average mpg info is optimistic, it's still in the ballpark of what the 2.0-liter/CVT promises for EPA combined mileage (30 mpg). Not bad, although we're observing a combined MPG of just 25.2 since the Impreza joined our fleet. We measured that number at the beginning of the month, however. We've put an additional 600 miles on the Impreza since then.  

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor (@ 3,690 miles)

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2012 Subaru Impreza: Which MPG Gauge Do You Prefer?

June 08, 2012

subaruimpreza 024.jpg

This is the mpg gauge for our 2012 Subaru Impreza. As you can see, exactly how many mpg you get while driving is anybody's guess. At the same time, maybe simpler is better? What say you? Would this be just as effective at getting you to be mindful of your fuel-efficient driving as a gauge with actual numbers?

For comparison's sake, check out how a few of our long-termers did the mpg gauge.

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2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited: Eclipsed City MPG?

May 29, 2012


Our Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited (Wagon) is rated at 27 mpg City, 36 mpg Highway, and 30 mpg Combined. Well, I eclipsed the City rating, but I do have a confession. This self-reported (likely inaccurate) snap shot of fuel economy was the result of about half highway miles and half city miles. As such it should meet or beat the EPA's Combined rating. Drat. At any rate, it's still early in the Subie's time with us, so we'll see if these EPA numbers are truly achievable or if this car will be added to the growing list of "no way in heck" a typical driver can expect to match window sticker claims.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 1,523 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests