Last post on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:22 PM
You are in the Subaru Impreza
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Subaru Impreza, Subaru, Sedan, Wagon
#361 of 1605 Test drive left me...cold...:-(
Jan 17, 2012 (6:43 pm)
I test drove a 5 door stick Sport Premium and 5 door CVT Limited or Sport Limited (Not sure...It had Nav). The weather was cloudy and cold (probably in the low 30s), a little breeze. I have not driven a Subaru for any appreciable length of time--ever. All new to me. I currently drive an 8th gen Civic 5-speed coupe, prior to that I had an Integra hatchback for 13 years and 255K (best...car...ever (for me)).
My test drive route was about 3 miles up a highway, 3 miles backroads, then back.
- There was a problem with steering in this vehicle. At moderate speed (30-35), the more I turned the wheel in a corner, the tighter it got, as if the power steering was failing or there was a flat tire up front (there wasn't). I hope it's a one-off in this specific vehicle.
- Clutch has no feel. My Honda Civic actually has "some" feel of a friction point (stop laughing---it does!...kinda...). The Impreza has next to no "feel" the entire length of the pedal. I couldn't start the thing off right, and shifts were miserable with lots of jerking as I took my foot off the clutch. I don't know if this breaks in after a while, or if I have to "learn how to drive it", or if I have to burn out two clutches before I get it right...but this put me off.
- Yep, as someone said, you'd be "rowing" the gears. The power on this thing is a little too low for the stick. It'll get the job done, but you'll be hunting 4th-5th on the highway. My Civic will coast happily at 35mph on a flat road in 5th. The Impreza kinda wanted 4th for that. (Hypermiling technique)
- I stopped at one point on a hill in some ice and snow. No problem getting out of it. Heh heh. AWD rules. The Civic would have spun a little and likely gotten out...but I wouldn't have parked there, too afraid I'd get stuck. Score for the Subaru!
- I would like a stick, but I get the impression that this car would tire me out, especially if in moderate highway traffic for long periods of time. I have taken the Civic on a nearly 500 mile run several times, and it's never made me tired.
- The steering was a bit better in this car, with the "bog down" on the moderate corners about 1/5 the other car, but still head scratching to me. My Civic has never done that and is a blast to throw around. I put Michelin Harmony tires on it last summer, and...wow...sticks like glue.
- The CVT seems much better matched to the engine than the stick. It's smooooooooth. I could drive that car all day long. Very nice.
- This car had Nav. MotoWeek pointed out that it has fiddly buttons. I used the radio for the most part, and, yes, it's fiddly and hard to hit the right place on the screen. I prefer knobs when trying to drive a car, not hunting and pecking on a screen, thank you. Driving distraction.
- I didn't notice too much engine noise, but I drive a Civic. You do the math.
- The radio's sound is lacking. No stereo spread, not much kick. I didn't muck with it too much.
- The on board MPG computer is nice. It does A-B and gives you MPG for each, average speed, and so on. Score.
- It was not hard to get a comfortable driving position. The outside mirrors are HUGE, but they don't look huge as part of the car's styling. How did Subaru do that!?!!?!?!? Score.
- The hatch isn't a hatch. It's a cavern for such an otherwise small car. Ku-freakin'-dos, Subaru.
- Small? No, it doesn't "feel" small, btw. But I like small cars.
- No remote hatch release. I found that odd. No biggie, as the hatch is very easy to open. I didn't check to see if there's a hatch release on the key fob...duh.
- No "maintenance reminder" like in the Honda. I like that feature. Wahhh. It tells me when the dealership wants some of my money.
- The central LCD screen is hard to read. I didn't even realize there was a CRUISE indicator on it 'til I looked very closely. It's like they cheaped out on it big time.
- The knobs to select the screen read-outs are these tiny pins in the dashboard. You have to reach around the steering wheel to get to them. Dumb.
- Rear seating didn't seem too bad. My head didn't hit (I'm 6'1")...Score!
- I wasn't too big on looking at materials, etc, but I did notice the short and cheapy visors. Fit and finish overall seemed good.
- You expect a car like this to be a "tin can". Nope. It's tight, it doesn't "feel" cavernous inside. It doesn't rock going around corners. Nice.
In my short loop, I did a mile or so better MPG in the stick (30 or 31 vs. about 29, according to the on-board computer). The 12-mile loops weren't identical, though, but very similar. You can't tell much from a short run, but it was nice to see 30mpg on a cold day with an idiot behind the wheel who can't drive the damn things, doing 50% back roads. Score for the Impreza. For the record, my Civic's lifetime MPG after almost 4 years is 40.39, something that's hard to trade away unless you really really want a hatch for your stuff. As someone else posted, 4WD is a "nice to have".
The sales guy said that he delivers cars and gets 33-34mpg regularly along the highway per the trip computer...not necessarily watching his speed...ahem...
My bottom line: I want a stick, but with the possible larger number of gear changes I think the Impreza would be a bit of work on longer trips (am I getting OLD or what!!?!!?). I also really don't like the clutch. The radio could be better, the visors longer, the shift knob more palm-friendly---not deal breakers. The hatch space couldn't be any better unless you had a black hole and some space distortion riding around with you. But, in the end, it may not be the "right" car for me. I hopped back into the Civic to head home and realized how easy--and downright FUN--it is for me to drive, plus the good mpg. Maybe I don't need AWD. But, jeez...that cavernous hatch would be really good. Have you ever tried to get a bicycle, a pile of musical instruments, or camping gear in and out of a Civic coupe? Yeah, annoying.
Oh, the dealer I went to was great, and there was zero pressure. I'm going to think about this some more, and if I decide to go for it (despite my concerns), I will go back.
Well, there's my long-winded, semi-grumpy, semi-disappointing (to me...I wanted to instantly *love* this car in a big way and have NO questions in my head!) review of a 2012 Impreza by a Honda guy who's never really driven a Subaru. Yes, Your Mileage May Vary. And maybe I just don't "get" this car...but if I did, I'm sure it'd grow on me...especially since I could probably sleep in the back next to about half the contents of my house...while NOT getting stuck in the snow...ever.
#362 of 1605 Re: Test drive left me...cold...:-( [kltron]
Jan 17, 2012 (7:29 pm)
...and people wonder why I only buy hatchbacks?
#363 of 1605 Re: Test drive left me...cold...:-( [kltron]
Jan 17, 2012 (7:36 pm)
I also have driven both the 5-speed and CVT, and I think I agree with you in that the CVT seems to be the better choice.
Now my daily driver is a '09 WRX 5-door Premium, so when I drove the the '12 Impreza 5-speed, my first thought was the clutch was disconnected as it was sooooooo light. When I got back in my WRX, my clutch felt heavy!
Speaking of the WRX: sounds like you should consider this car. Yeah, you'll give up some mpg, but it always puts a smile on your face when behind the wheel.
#364 of 1605 Re: Test drive left me...cold...:-( [rsholland]
Jan 17, 2012 (7:37 pm)
Any word on how long before the WRedsign?
#365 of 1605 Re: Test drive left me...cold...:-( [bpizzuti]
Jan 17, 2012 (7:43 pm)
No, not yet.
Rumor has it that it will be a 2.0 turbo, either based off the BRZ's FA20 (I hope so) engine, or off the Impreza's FB20 (I hope not) engine; putting out ~ 270 hp.
#366 of 1605 Re: Test drive left me...cold...:-( [kltron]
Jan 17, 2012 (7:42 pm)
Nice review, kl; I enjoyed reading it.
#367 of 1605 Re: Test drive left me...cold...:-( [rsholland]
Jan 17, 2012 (7:53 pm)
THat could have decent FE too. Have to see what they do for trannies though: I can't put up with a third pedal.
#368 of 1605 Test drive and MPG follow up
Jan 18, 2012 (5:20 am)
The Limited 5-door we ordered back in October arrived this week, a week earlier than the last Subaru estimate, which forced my MPG hand. Monday we received the call, and I shot over to the dealer to see if any vehicles were through PDI and available for test drive. They had a non-claimed CVT sedan on the lot available for demo, so my wife, daughter, and I took it for a little drive to check MPG for ourselves. We used both computers, one to average the whole drive and one to average only highway.
The car had 4 miles on the odo. Conditions were cold, 24 degrees F, no wind, and cruising about 67 MPH on I-15 with slight changes in elevation around overpasses. We drove 10 miles one way, exited, waited at a light, and then re-entered for same highway trip back. The car was initially very cold, so we drove around town first until the light went out, and at that point reset the first computer. The second computer was reset after hitting our cruising speed.
For the freeway portion, the computer averaged out to 37.8 MPG (US gallons). The highest was 41 when decelerating for our turnaround point, and it averaged out to nearly that again when decelerating to exit for the dealership. The average for the whole trip was at 35 MPG. That included some additional in-town driving prior to and after our freeway jaunt.
I was more than pleased to see those numbers, even if the computer is slightly exaggerated. The handling is everything people have previously claimed, the CVT is the best I've encountered, though a little noisy at full throttle, and overall we were pleased enough to give our sales rep the thumbs up. We picked it up yesterday and now it's in an independent shop getting clear film protection placed on the hood, fenders, bumper, lamps, mirrors, and underneath the splash guards. That last location is a custom one I asked for after seeing how flexible the splash guards are, which could cause paint damage when they flex with grit caught between the guard and panel. I want the guards to prevent stone chips on the rocker panels, wheel well, and doors, but don't want those protective guards to cause damage to other areas.
I'll let the film dry in our garage tomorrow and install our accessories (thanks Subaru for the $500 pre-order incentive!), and Friday we'll start putting some miles on.
#369 of 1605 Incentives
Jan 18, 2012 (7:28 am)
I wish Subaru could give us new Subie owners an incentive of some kind, even if we orderd the car after the $500 incentive program was over. I ordered mine in November
#370 of 1605 Ordering Time
Jan 18, 2012 (7:38 am)
must be dependent on the dealership....I ordered my 5DR limited the middle of Nov and picked it up the middle of Dec.....about 3 and half weeks from order to delivery...not sure why others are waiting so long.....Oct-Jan???? I ordered a fully loaded limited with accessories and Nav and got it very quickly from my dealer in MD.......this was the second Subie we have purchased from the dealer but the first ordered....I simply emailed my sales rep..told him what I wanted and he ordered it for me without any deposit or sales contract.......