2017 Subaru Impreza

Subaru is really hoping the public likes the way the all-new 2017 Impreza looks, handles and drives because this year’s Impreza debuts the new Subaru Global Platform that will be the foundation of a number of upcoming Subaru vehicles.

Subaru customers are a loyal bunch, and my hunch is they’re going to like the new Impreza.

I sure did.

Available in base, premium, sport and limited trims, the Impreza is a safe, comfortable and reliable ride that is larger and tighter than the previous model. Subaru has long been a company with a reputation for building safe, reliable cars that last a long time. The new Impreza, available in 4-door or 5-door styles, should do nothing but bolster that reputation.

The 2017 Impreza wins a Top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, garnering the top score of “good” in every tested category. Primarily because of its sophisticated EyeSight driver assistance technology, the Impreza also scores a “superior” rating from the IIHS in crash avoidance and mitigation. It also gets top marks for its headlights and ease of child seat anchors. It’s one of the very few times I’ve seen the IIHS unable to find anything wrong with a car during safety testing.

EyeSight driver assistance technology includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking and lane departure warning with a lane-keeping function. Also available are blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and reverse automatic braking that will apply the brakes if the system determines you are about to back into something. Adaptive headlights and automatic high beams are also options.

Another Impreza feature I really like is the audible warning when the car in front of you has moved. It’s great for stop-and-go traffic. And when you’re at a red light the driver behind you won’t have to lay on his horn if you’re looking at your phone when the cars ahead start moving.

With a revised version of the 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer engine, the Impreza has the power it needs on the highway. It’s certainly not overpowered, but has what it takes for two-lane passing chores. The horizontally opposed engine develops 152 horsepower (up 4 hp from the previous engine) and 145 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a CVT with a 7-speed manual shifting mode. Paddle shifters are included with the upper trims.

Subaru says the new Impreza platform increases the sedan’s rigidity by 70 percent. That helps with straight line stability, agility and ride comfort. During my test week, the Impreza soaked up Baton Rouge’s potholed roads with ease and delivered a ride that was firm but smooth.

Every Impreza gets standard all-wheel drive. In fact, every Subaru except the rear-drive BRZ has the company’s patented Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system. It’s a great safety feature that enhances traction in all weather conditions.

Inside the cabin, the Impreza is nicely appointed with an 8-inch touchscreen atop the center stack. New multimedia features include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And for the first time in an Impreza, harman/kardon premium audio is available.

Our test car had durable cloth seats, good headroom and average trunk space. The steering wheel is a complicated thing with numerous functions and controls. There is a 12v outlet in the cove at the bottom of the center stack and another one in the console. Also in the console are USB and AUX ports.

Even with AWD, the Impreza manages to get up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway and up to 28 mpg in the city. The base Impreza 4-door starts at $18,395 plus freight, and the top end Limited trim sedan starts at $24,095 plus freight.

2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Sedan

Engine:

2.0-liter 4-cylinder Boxer

Horsepower/Torque:

152/145 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

CVT

Price:

$26,560 including options & freight

EPA mileage estimates:

27 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

475 miles