What Did We Buy?
Compact sedans are a popular choice for car buyers who want a fuel-efficient car that's easy to drive. Within that class, the Subaru Impreza has long been the offbeat choice because of its quirky styling, horizontally opposed engine, tight cabin and standard all-wheel drive. A full redesign for 2017 has brought the Impreza closer to the mainstream, though. The cabin is roomier, and new exterior styling gives the Impreza a more sophisticated look. It still comes standard with all-wheel drive, but the fuel economy penalty has been significantly reduced thanks to improved engine technology.
There are now four levels of trim for the Impreza. We chose to go with the top-of-the-line Limited trim in order to put the Impreza on the same level as our recently departed Honda Civic sedan. Like all Imprezas for 2017, the Limited comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission comes standard.
What Options Does It Have?
Going with the Limited doesn't leave much on the options list. It's already loaded up with most of the features you would expect in a modern compact sedan, along with plenty of extras. Compared to the trim levels below it, the Limited trim adds leather upholstery, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, automatic climate control and unique 17-inch wheels.
There are still options at this level, however, and we added nearly all of them with the lyrically named "Option Package 35." It bundles Subaru's EyeSight safety system with an upgraded audio setup, moonroof, high-beam assist and navigation. There are a few different versions of this package, so you don't have to pay up for everything in order to get the safety stuff.
Why We Bought It
The Impreza has done well as an alternative to mainstream compact cars, but it hasn't challenged the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla directly in terms of overall sales. Subaru designed the 2017 model to push it one step closer to being a legitimate player in this important segment of the market. The high-performance Impreza WRX models will always have their fans, but it's the standard models like our long-termer that will move the needle on the sales charts.
Over the next year we'll see how it stacks up against the Civic we tested in 2016 since that has become the standard of the segment. If the Impreza can compete with the Civic, it will have a good chance of winning you over, too.
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.