By on November 9, 2016

2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i

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.

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29 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i...”


  • avatar

    In 2002, my Protege ES was fwd, and it’s 2.0 generated 130/135 hp/tq. It only had 2 airbags. The steering wheel only when up and down. No backup camera. The only advantage (other than baby audi looks) were 16 inch alloys, which quickly delaminated. It cost over 17k grand, over 22k in today money. I bought it used 3 years later, but that’s beside the point. Progress.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    The Impreza gets a lot of points for being the only econobox with the crankshaft pointing in the right direction; and available MT and hatchback bodies don’t hurt either.

    I also like that they stick with 16″ wheels instead of the ridiculous low-profile baller rims that many other OEMs put on their cheap cars.

    AWD adds some weight and fuel mileage penalty, Subaru interiors aren’t great, and their head gaskets are a demonstrated weak point with an inherent 2x failure risk vs any other 4-cylinder; but the Impreza mitigates a lot of this by being the cheapest and most efficient Subaru available.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      My only complaint about the base Impreza is the stickshift in base models is a 5-speed, and not only that, but a 5-speed with widely spaced lower gears, which cuts into low-speed fun, and narrowly spaced upper gears, which provides virtually no overdrive and kills the highway mileage.

  • avatar

    Kinda looking at the 2017 hatchy-wagon myself assuming there’s a WRX version. Our 2013 Crosstrek has been a great vehicle. And my only complaint is that it’s slow. And not even in the ‘needs more power’ vein but that the engine, clutch, and throttle tuning PUNISH you for trying to drive in any style that doesn’t return good gas mileage. That being said I can try my best but I cannot get less than 25mpg per tank.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      My friend’s brother just bought a 2015 Crosstrek earlier this year with the CVT. We went on a trip that involved some highway travel. With 4 passengers aboard and the A/C on during a hot 90 degree day the 2.0 was seriously lacking in power and reminded me of the 80’s cars that took an eternity to pass another vehicle or struggled up any hills. it was also rather agricultural sounding when the ‘go’ pedal was down. Subaru needs to revamp and update it’s engines into the new Millennium.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This thing is the size that a Legacy was just a generation or two ago – right?

    Still wishing for one more gear in the manual, but praise to Subaru for keeping the manual when all the print rags were sure it would be dropped for this newly minted Impreza.

    Personally I’d want the Sport trim with a stick but the base is a heck of a deal – 5 door hatch/wagon even better for the cargo capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Okay, we’ll compare the 2017 Impreza to a Legacy from two generations ago (fourth gen, 2008).

      2017 Impreza sedan / 2008 Legacy sedan:
      OAL: 182.1″ / 185″
      WB: 105.1″ / 105.1″
      W: 70″ / 68.1″
      H: 57.3″ / 56.1″

      Yep, pretty much the same. Taller and wider, not quite as long, same WB.

      EDIT: But for what it’s worth, the 2008 Impreza was 180.3/103.1/68.5/58.1. There just wasn’t much size difference between a Legacy and an Impreza anyway then.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        And though they were the same size, that 08 Legacy just looked so much more upmarket. The Impreza these days looks seriously cheapo.

        But I guess that’s what you get at this money, and you’re getting AWD and an adventure badge for a Corolla price.

        Considering it, how often do you see the sedan version these days? I bet 80% of the examples I see are the hatch.

        • 0 avatar
          stuntmonkey

          > Considering it, how often do you see the sedan version these days? I bet 80% of the examples I see are the hatch.

          I wish more cars were like the Impreza hatch.

          – The Fit is too small and buzzy, but you know, magic seats.

          – The Golf is perfectly fine…but you know, VW.

          – The Civic and Mazda 3 hatches don’t have proper upright rear glass like a hatch should.

          So for the price and packaging, I keep looking at the Impreza despite the boring… I just hope the 2017 is better driving wise. The power level is the same as a Civic, but the Civic CVT makes the power more engaging.

      • 0 avatar
        DearS

        70% more rigid body now = better than Legacy? 2008 Impreza’s felt like they were made of foil.

  • avatar
    kogashiwa

    These look so much better than the last generation. I’m planning to get something in this class next year, and while the Mazda 3 is fairly comfortably at the top of the list I will seriously consider an Impreza also.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Another great buy is the base Forester. 170hp 2.5L engine. Six speed manual, 17″ steelies (painted, no hubcaps), tons of space. I actually found one of these unicorns on a dealer’s lot yesterday. They apparently added a lot of sound deadening for 2017 because I was really surprised by how quietly it drove. Apparently, the head unit is different than the Impreza’s so no Apple or Android car-play software. But Bluetooth audio streaming and Pandora app is there. MSRP was around $23.5k with destination. Invoice around $22k or so. “Around here, one is hard pressed to even find a used Forester for that money and few of the missing features really matter much to me. Biggest obvious missing options are alloys and the panoramic sunroof from the premium model, but that’s $3k more.

  • avatar
    koreancowboy

    The Impreza ticks off every single box for my next DD, I need to go and check it out…then resist the temptation to take one home LOL

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I would welcome a non-black interior. It is very difficult to find with actual exterior colors and upper trim levels. It seems any fancy trim gives you all black leather (which is easier to keep clean with kids)with black trim.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Even on lower trim levels, finding actual color isn’t easy. Many manufactures show “ivory” or “neutral” interiors to go with the coal black on the configurators but try find one on a dealer lot.

    • 0 avatar
      focus-ed

      I’d never buy a black car but black interior is different story. Just about the worst thing about Golf was light colored headliner. It’d show every touch (finders on/around visor, bike tire in the back etc) and hindered normal use of the car (too new to mess up). Black interior of GTI seems to be much easier to maintain (maybe with exception to plaid seats that can’t be cleaned as easily as “leather” in Golf).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        One time I was in the GS I used to have, with my family. It had the light grey interior with same color soft fabric headliner. A mosquito appeared, and landed near my mom up front, on the a-pillar.

        Mom: “Oh there’s a mosquito, I’ll smash it.”

        Me: “LIKE HELL you will! Don’t touch anything.”

        *Windows open*

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Does the 2017 still have a cardboard headliner and an interior that looks like it all came out of a single mold?

  • avatar

    This car is absolutely dreadful to drive. It might look good on paper but the reality is much worse. 2/10 – Would Not Drive.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      Drove a 2016 Impreza with the CVT. It was pretty bad. Just no power at all, and I was driving it alone.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Dreadful how? It’s no hooner, but that’s not what this car is about. I drove one on a 60 mile road trip with four passengers. Was it fast? No. But fast enough, and even with 5 adults it was reasonably comfortable. For the money, it’s a heck of a car, especially if AWD is important to you.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        That’s the problem with interweb auto enthusiasts; everything needs 200 moar powers in order to be ‘drivable’.

        Some folks grow up enough to realize that it can be OK to use a car to affordably transport one’s self, and even a hatch full of posessions.

        • 0 avatar
          SP

          So he didn’t like driving it. Isn’t it OK to have a preference? That’s why they sell more than one kind of shoe.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenn

            He didn’t simply say he “didn’t like driving it.” He said it was “absolutely dreadful” and “2/10.” That seems suspiciously over-the-top to describe just a typically mundane economy car.

  • avatar
    make_light

    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.

  • avatar
    rea98d

    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.

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