It was a welcome change of pace to sit through a new car product presentation and not have to listen to company pitchmen repeat the adjective “best-in-class” over and over again. The simple truth is that the all-new 2012 Subaru Impreza doesn’t really have best-in-class anything – power, fuel economy, cruising range, cargo capacity or even warranty. The major thing that sets the new Impreza apart from its competition is standard all-wheel drive – a Subaru staple (at least, until the rear-wheel-drive BRZ shows up).
By equipping the Impreza with all-wheel drive as standard kit, Subaru is hoping to achieve one best-in-class mention: drivability. With its brand-new 2.0-liter flat-four engine leading the charge, Subaru aims to offer a solid package that proves to be the most engaging steer in its segment. Besides, if this new car will someday form the basis for the hotter WRX and STI models, it had better be at least somewhat engaging in original recipe guise, right? We headed to the hills of New York and Connecticut to find out.
Let’s be honest. Subarus have never really been known for their beauty, and the 2012 Impreza, while an improvement from the previous-generation car, isn’t going to win any design contests anytime soon. We’ll admit to feeling a little let down by the Impreza’s appearance, especially since the Impreza concept car that debuted at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show was such a hot little number.
Still, like we said, this 2012 model is better looking than the car it replaces. The front end adds a bit of aggression with a more angular shape on the headlight surround, and larger fog light housings pushed out to the front corners complement them nicely. The new grille mimics the look that debuted on the 2010 Legacy, and look for it to be Subaru’s new corporate face on future models.
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