Subaru's stalwart model, the Impreza, is being shown for the first time at the New York Motor Show, and fans may be pleased to note that this cult model has moved upmarket quite considerably.
Dare we say it, based on images alone, the new Impreza range actually appears almost attractive. Though incorporating a five-door hatchback into the model range for the first time, with a distinctive rear end to rival that of Honda's Civic hatchback, Impreza manages to retain its inherently sporty image.
Losing the box-like proportions and employing a fair amount of creases on its outside panels, new Impreza looks a lot more modern. The hatchback is practical, too, with rear seats that split 60/40 and can be configured to suit different load requirements.
Designers have steered clear of the not-so-handsome face seen on the Tribeca (its facelift is also being shown in New York), though this SUV's inspired interior seems to have had an influence.
The new cabin space is leaps ahead, dumping its previously dark and frumpy appearance in favour of a dark and modern facia that, like Tribeca, uses swooping lines that extend across to the door panels. Aluminium-look inserts are used extensively throughout the cabin.
The next Impreza is new from the ground up, with its chassis and drivetrain being redesigned for better overall performance, while integrating advanced safety features.
New Impreza uses a redesigned double wishbone rear suspension and has a lower centre of gravity with its Boxer engine now being mounted lower in the chassis. The existing 2.5 SOHC engine has been revised to provide improved low- to mid-range torque, while reducing emissions levels and fuel consumption figures.
A new intake manifold, intercooler and turbocharger have been added to the 2.5 DOHC, also for better torque in the lower ranges.
Subaru claims both manual and automatic transmissions have been improved for quicker shifts.
Vehicle Dynamics Control will be offered on several models, while passive safety features include dual front, side and curtain airbags and collapsible pedals.
Local Subaru fans will be pleased to know that South Africa will be one of the first markets to receive this important model in the second half of this year.
It is rumoured that there will be some interesting engine options, including the possibility of a turbodiesel model, but details will be released closer to the time.
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Subaru Impreza 2.5