When one thinks of compact cars, the name Impreza probably doesn’t leap to the top of the mental list, unless the one doing the thinking is a Subaru loyalist. The small Japanese maker is looking to change that with the updated 2012 Impreza, which is restyled inside and out and features an all-new powerplant.
First things first: Only the relatively mainstream Impreza is changing—the sportier WRX and STi spin-offs aren’t going under the knife just yet. Nor are they going anywhere, they’ll carry on in current form for a while until replacements are ready. So breathe easy, Subaru/rally fan boys and girls.
Now, to the Impreza itself. The new model is definitely more attractive, both inside and out, with a more refined interior package. But the biggest news besides the new design is the all-new 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed “boxer” engine that makes 148 horsepower. Other significant changes include the deletion of the Outback Sport model, and news Subaru will now be able to tout an increase in fuel economy to a maximum of 36 mpg.
The Impreza is going head-to-head with other compacts like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Volkswagen Golf. So not only does Subaru have to compete with those models, but it will have to live up to its reputation for sporty all-wheel-drive performance if it hopes Impreza can become a better-selling model in the company’s portfolio.