It’s longer, lower, wider, and yes, more global than before.
Subaru has unveiled the next generation of its perennially popular Impreza, adopting a more contemporary style while placating purists who worried their fun compact could become too beige.
Revealed at the New York Auto Show in sedan and five-door guise, the 2017 Impreza brings tasteful, flowing lines to a body that once delighted in being chunky. There are more subtle curves here than a coastal highway.
Keeping with the trend of steadily expanding compacts, the Indiana-built 2017 Impreza gets a slight stretch in every direction but height. The new model, which is the first to ride atop the Subaru Global Platform, gains an extra inch of wheelbase and 1.6 inches of length, as well as 1.5 inches of width.
About that platform — it’s stiff. Really stiff.
Subaru claims the new architecture gives the Impreza a 70-percent increase in structural rigidity, which is something you want if you’re making spirited use of the brand’s standard symmetrical all-wheel drive. It also absorbs more energy in a collision, which is something you want, but hope to never need.
A revised suspension with a rear stabilizer bar mounted directly to the body is designed to reduce body roll by half. If all this is still too vanilla, the Impreza 2.0i Sport throws in suspension tuning, larger wheels and Active Torque Vectoring.
Under the hood, a Boxer engine remains, much to the relief of enthusiasts worried an engine would show up with its cylinders standing in a neat row. The 2.0-liter flat-four now has direct injection, providing a modest bump in horsepower, from 148 to 152.
In uplevel trim, the continuously variable transmission gets a boredom-reducing seven-speed manual shift mode with paddle shifters.
Technology sees a big upgrade for 2017. The infotainment system adopts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, as well as Near Field Communication (NFC) connectivity, keeping the Impreza competitive in a rapidly modernizing field.
Higher trim lines receive an eight-inch media screen and Starlink multimedia system, keyless access and other convenience goodies. Available safety technology includes automatic emergency braking, reverse automatic braking, and a host of laneholding capabilities.
If Subaru’s goal was to keep the Impreza current, it seems it marked every box on the checklist.
[Images: Subaru of America]