What's Wrong With This Picture: Imprez'd? Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
what s wrong with this picture imprez d edition

The evolution of Subaru’s design (if, indeed evolution is the right word) is one of those topics that never ceases to draw the interest of the auto-obsessed. Unlike most mainstream car brands, Subaru created a hard-core fanbase on the strength of its unique greasy bits, specifically its distinctive commitment to boxer engines and AWD. In Subaru’s formative years on the market, wacky and ever-changing designs were something the fans learned to live with.

Now, however, with Subaru breaking into the mass market’s consciousness, its design is gradually becoming more consistent and more mainstream, a trend that this first shot of the 2012 Impreza seems unlikely to roll back. And with 36 highway MPG reportedly on tap for the next Impreza, Subaru is reeling in its fuel economy disadvantage as well. The only question: does each evolution towards consistency and mass appeal continue to alienate that fanbase? And if so, does it matter?

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  • Mtymsi Mtymsi on Apr 06, 2011

    From this one side profile shot there isn't anything I don't like about the styling but I'm reserving judgement until I can see the front/rear views and the hatchback. Either a FWD version or on demand AWD would get me a whole lot more interested but 36 hwy mpg for the AWD version as long as city is upper 20's makes it a consideration.

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Apr 06, 2011

    I know someone who paid full new retail for a used 2009 Outback wagon to avoid the bloated new one. I've heard other negative opinions about the current Legacy/Outback's size and styling too. The above side view of the new Imprezza has a lot in common with a ten year old Ford Focus sedan. I don't know if that is good or bad. I do think the previous generation Legacy/Outback was a pleasant looking car, but most Subarus are not. I would assume that Subaru buyers could care less, excpept for the guy who bought the used Outback wagon having strong opinions about looks. Or maybe he just thought the new Outback was too big to be 'sustainable.'

    • See 2 previous
    • CJinSD CJinSD on Apr 07, 2011

      Ubermensch, your thinking is as good as your writing. Grahambo, I was with you right up until you said you're thinking about moving to an Infiniti or BMW. I came from decades of BMWs, and their current dung is just that. I wouldn't wish a Nissan product on most of my enemies, and I won't take on another girlfriend that comes with one. There are two surviving car companies with good engineers. Neither of them have been mentioned here. Neither of them seems interested in making cars for enthusiasts at the moment, but I'm willing to wait.

  • DavidB DavidB on Apr 06, 2011

    My 1996 base model Legacy wagon 5-speed (purchased new) had zero problems (at 67K) when I traded it in towards a new leftover 2004 Forester in early '05. We wanted an AT, electric locks, and electric windows (two new kiddos). The '04 Forester has had a transmission problem fixed under warranty; the head gaskets done two months ago for a $200 deductible; speaker in RF door was bad out the door; a common air seal problem on the driver rearview mirror/door gasket area fixed once and is back! It takes lots of short "mom trips" and despite meticulous maintenance at the dealer, short, cold trips are tough on any vehicle. We are just finishing our second consecutive winter in KC with 40+ (that's FORTY PLUS) inches of snow and it makes getting around almost effortless (w/Michelins, anyway). I'd like to know from TTAC readers if this would be considered a horrible car repair history or par for the (automotive) course... (It just ticked over 56K)

    • Gottacook Gottacook on Apr 06, 2011

      Well, it all depends... We have two Subarus, both 5-speeds: an '03 Legacy wagon bought new and an '06 Forester purchased from a sibling who bought it new. As you might know, the Legacy was built in Indiana and the Forester in Japan; they have 80K and 62K miles, respectively. The Forester, kineahora, has needed very little in the way of extraordinary maintenance (a few miscellaneous repairs under warranty, such as a bad connection to the heated-seat switches; brake-rotor resurfacing, once under warranty, once not). By contrast, the Legacy would have needed a major repair a few years ago if the dealer hadn't stretched a point and covered us under the 5-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty - we had exceeded one but not the other - when our engine gasket went (actually the dealer discovered the coolant leak during an oil change and immediately took the initiative to do the gasket repair). Twice we've had to change front brake rotors; a front wheel bearing went after 70K miles. Two different door speakers quit and were replaced with used ones. No problems with window seals, dual sunroof, etc., although exhaust noises and other odd resonances (at specific rpm's in any gear) have accumulated. Still, we're glad to have two Subarus, especially given the way our recent winters have been (Washington DC area). The revisions to the 2.5 motor (when it went from 165 to 173 hp) may mean that the head gasket problem has been licked; at least I've not read about gasket problems with any Subaru newer than '05. (Our 1990 Legacy wagon's gasket went in early '03, and we know people who've required an expensive gasket repair at 90K miles in an '03 Forester - yet one of my in-laws has put well over 160K miles on her '03 Forester with no such problem.)

  • Rudiger Rudiger on Apr 06, 2011

    Considering their humble beginning in the US as the brainchild of con-artist Malcolm Bricklin to import the cheap and dimunitive (but dangerous) 360, and their all too common forays into weirdness (SVX, BRAT, Tribeca, Baja), Subaru has done pretty damn good for themselves, particularly when considering their size in relation to the major Japanese players like Toyota and Honda. I guess that's to be expected when you also build well-packaged, practical designs (as well as the oddballs) that are nearly as reliable as the class leaders.

    • Ubermensch Ubermensch on Apr 07, 2011

      I have always loved the BRAT and have come close to picking one up as a project car on a few occations. I would consider a modern version with a real bed (not like the horrible Baja).