Ace of Base: 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — might just be the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s an example.

A few weeks ago, Ace of Base looked at a base model truck from The General. The thing is, at an instant ramen price point, the compact truck is a rear-drive-only affair. Let’s now imagine a base-model shopper who doesn’t care about payload or bringing home grandfather clocks from estate sales but does want their power shuttled to all four wheels. What to do?

The folks selling Exploding Galaxy cars have been peddling offbeat all-wheel-drive cars for decades, carving out a good niche for themselves. Long-time fans will surely point out that current offerings bearing the Pleiades badge are, absent of bizarre controls and odd windows, getting too mainstream. Other shoppers will simply see an interesting alternative to the other compact cars taking up space at competing dealers.

All Impreza trims are motivated by Subaru’s 2.0-liter DOHC four-pot, flinging 152 horsepower to all four wheels. A five-speed manual is standard equipment and is the transmission of choice, natch. Sixteen-inch steelies keep a lid on the cost of replacement tires; pop off the wheel covers for a more butch appearance when running spiky winter rubber. Poverty-spec black plastic covers the side mirrors (the only Impreza trim equipped as such), meaning eagle-eyed shoppers will be able to pick out base models on dealer lots with ease.

Once again proving economies of scale are a benefit to bargain-hunters, the base 2.0i sedan is graced with power windows and mirrors. The three-spoke steering wheel is peppered with cruise control and adjusts for reach and rake. Air conditioning is manually adjustable and makes a welcome appearance at the base price of $18,395. Standard mounting points for roof crossbars punctuate Subaru’s appeal to outdoorsy types.

An extra $500 nets buyers the five-door hatch and its 20.8 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to a 55.3 cubic foot yawning chasm when the rear seats are folded. Mind-bendingly, the hatch is a full half-foot shorter than its sedan brother but boasts more passenger volume in addition to its extra cargo capacity. It is also twelve pounds heavier, much like this author during his first year of university.

Speaking of college, any parent sending their offspring to higher education in a base Impreza will be appreciate the presence of a standard backup camera and a raft of airbags. Students themselves will appreciate Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Bluetooth audio streaming.

Subaru eschews a disappointing trend by other mainstream automakers of charging extra for certain hues of paint. Island Blue and Venetian Red will please the extroverts, while Carbide Gray and Ice Silver will ensure hotshoes blend into traffic like a ninja. Sadly, choosing the pretty red color forces buyers into a beige Ivory Cloth interior.

All-wheel drive, decent digital technology, power options, and air conditioning for under twenty grand? That’s a pretty good Ace of Base.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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3 of 29 comments
  • Make_light Make_light on Nov 09, 2016

    Has anyone driven this thing yet? Interested to see how it stacks up to the other new cars in this class. It always baffled me that auto press never seemed to fully capture how DREADFUL the 08-11 Impreza (and 09-13 Forester) interiors were. They were utter junk, far worse than just about any other product out there at the time. With that being said, I also don't think the brand got enough credit for just how improved the 2012 model interiors were. Hopefully this continues that trend.

    • Bikegoesbaa Bikegoesbaa on Nov 09, 2016

      The 08-11 Impreza interiors don't look or feel fancy, but they are functional and comfortable and generally hold up well.

  • Rea98d Rea98d on Nov 28, 2016

    I came very, very close to buying one of these last year. My brother and his wife both have Subarus, and love them, and the horizontally opposed 4-cylinder is the kind of gearhead cool I go for. However, I live in south Texas where we get snow maybe once a decade, so AWD really isn't a necessity down here, and I was wanting a car with the simplest mechanical bits I could find, so I ended up buying a FWD Mazda 3 instead. If I lived up north where snow was an issue, I'd probably have gotten a Subaru. They really impressed me. The Corolla and Focus did nothing to impress me, the Civic was ugly, and the Cruze and Dart just looked like crap. Plus, I wanted something without a turbo, which is harder to find than you would think. If you want a small, AWD sedan, the Impreza is just the ticket.

  • GregLocock Not interested at all. Apparently I've got Apple car play but I've never used it in 3 years. The built in nav is ok.
  • Corey Lewis Probably worth about what they're asking, given its condition. The color combo isn't a desirable one, they look sharper in non-beige shades. Like two-tone green, maroon, navy, or gray. The end of the time when MB built its cars properly. No shame in turning up in a clean W126, they'll always command respect.
  • Lou_BC Another way to look at this is the upgrading of hardware and software. ...............The average length of car ownership is 10 - 12 years ....................The average lifetime ownership of a cell phone is 2.5 years. ................................................................... My phone will remain up to date, my vehicle won't. Especially if you buy a new "end of run" model.
  • TheEndlessEnigma "...we could be seeing a foundational shift in how Americans and car buyers see Stellantis products." yeah, I view Stellantis products as being off the cross-shop list. Stellantis is doing an excellent job of killing the Chrysler and Dodge brands and turning Jeep into something it isn't.
  • 2manyvettes 495 hp in a base C8 is more than enough. 800+ hp in a ZR1 is not worth the extra $60k (plus dealer markups). Unless the buyer is going for bragging rights. I remember when the C7 Grand Sport came out, and a reviewer got his hands on one and put it on the track at Lime Rock. His conclusion? Save yourself $15k and skip the Z06 and get a Grand Sport.