2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Review | Behind the Wheel

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DSC 0153 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Review | Behind the Wheel car reviews  Whip wheels Volkswagen GTI Volkswagen Subaru Impreza 2.0i Subaru Impreza Subaru Sport Premium Sport speed speaker set 205 review car questionable cabin technology Premium paint Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Mazda Marine Blue Pearl iPod iPhone Impreza Ford Focus Ford Fairplay driver Denver car handles Boxer Bluetooth Blue banking artist album 265hp boxer 2012

The ride:

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport

The appeal:

Driving dynamics are superb.  Cornering, banking, washboard roads and nasty weather all handled confidently.

Walkaround:

The 2012 Subabu Impreza 2.0i Sport I tested was a Marine Blue Pearl 5-door hatchback model.  One of the first things you notice about the car are it’s dark grey 17″ alloy wheels which lend to the cars sporty look nicely.  Paired to the wheels are a set of 205/50 R17 88V all-season radials.  The Marine Blue Pearl paint is a definite head turner and looks great on the car.  The car has an aggressive stance without sacrificing clearance so moderate off road use is quite possible.  On top of the vehicle you’ll find a pair of surprisingly stout roof rails.

Interior:

DSC 01441 370x557 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Review | Behind the Wheel car reviews  Whip wheels Volkswagen GTI Volkswagen Subaru Impreza 2.0i Subaru Impreza Subaru Sport Premium Sport speed speaker set 205 review car questionable cabin technology Premium paint Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Mazda Marine Blue Pearl iPod iPhone Impreza Ford Focus Ford Fairplay driver Denver car handles Boxer Bluetooth Blue banking artist album 265hp boxer 2012 My review car came in Sport Premium trim – the upper end of the Impreza range.  Inside the vehicle you’ll find a pair of heated striped black buckets which proved to be very comfortable and offer plenty of support in tight turns.  In the back is a 60/40 flat folding rear seat with plenty of room for taller folks.  The driver gets cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, a tilt/telescope wheel, a center console with plenty of storage, keyless entry and an antitheft security system.

The Impreza sports a USB port in the center console, which will interface with an iPod or iPhone. Unfortunately, using the stereo interface to browse my music library required far more effort than it should. Normally pushing the right-hand tuning dial runs the system through a selection of tone controls – understandable. But, suddenly when the Menu button is depressed that same right-hand dial suddenly allows you to choose library categories such as album and artist.  The system is incredibly confusing and not at all user friendly.

A recent addition for Subaru is the standard Bluetooth phone system. The system uses voice command-operation and features a phone book, but it can’t automatically download all of a paired phone’s contacts. Upon setting up my phone with the system, it gave me the option of either pushing contacts from the phone one at a time or entering them manually.  Bluetooth audio streaming, however, worked flawlessly and was better than most systems I’ve used.

The cars speaker system’s music reproduction was quite good but lacked some depth and clarity which left me yearning for the Harmon Kardon system they offer in some of their other models.  Navigation, with XM Satellite is available in the Sport Premium trim, but was not optioned in my car. Unfortunate, as I am excited to see the new system from Subaru.

The drive:

The Impreza 2.0i Sport is powered by a “boxer” four cylinder power plant.  The horizontally opposed engine offers a low profile which results in a lower center of gravity in the car, making the handling and corning fantastic.  You can confidently whip the car into a turn without the slightest fight.  The driving dynamics are solid, this Subaru is grippy, sticky and firmly planted to terra firma.  The chassis is sporty though not abusively so, and there’s very little roll or lean even when banking.

The Impreza Sports “boxer” engine came paired to a 5 speed manual transmission in my test vehicle.  When you first start the car you can’t help but notice the loud reverberations echoing through the cabin, not obnoxiously loud, but close.  The 5 speed manual’s clutch was a little too light for my taste and had no accurate or readily discernible engagement point.  Shifts, however, are quick and easy to find.  Horsepower is 148 at 6,200 rpm with 145 lb ft of torque which is likely more than enough for flat lands driving, but when you head to the hills the car does begin to struggle.  Driving from Denver to Fairplay I found the car struggled to maintain speed.  Peaking Kenosha Pass at speed required a few drops in to 3rd and even 2nd.  Surprisingly, despite driving the car in high revs for most of my journey it still managed about 29 mpg.  When weather turned sour and blowing wind and snow took over the road the car handled it superbly.  On dirt washboard roads the car handles confidently and road vibration disappears.

The competition:

For a grand or so more you can pick up a Volkswagen GTI, Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 or a Ford Focus which are all more city suited.  If you need some off-road and nasty weather readiness the Impreza definitely warrants a test drive.

Bragging rights:

Driving dynamics are second to none for the segment.

The price:

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport base price is $20,595 add some all-weather floor mats and a destination charge final price of $21,414.

DSC 0171 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Review | Behind the Wheel car reviews  Whip wheels Volkswagen GTI Volkswagen Subaru Impreza 2.0i Subaru Impreza Subaru Sport Premium Sport speed speaker set 205 review car questionable cabin technology Premium paint Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Mazda Marine Blue Pearl iPod iPhone Impreza Ford Focus Ford Fairplay driver Denver car handles Boxer Bluetooth Blue banking artist album 265hp boxer 2012 Windup:

The Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport has a lot going for it with its fantastic driving dynamics sadly the vehicle just doesn’t have enough power on tap – the 265hp boxer would fix this – to match.  Add in questionable cabin technology and a sloppy clutch and you’re left with an enjoyable but not quite there Subaru.

The photos: