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?
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.
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.'
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)
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.