Automotive

Subaru stops the teasing and launches new Impreza in New York

Subaru stops the teasing and l...
The new Subaru Impreza is built around the brand's new modular platform
The new Subaru Impreza is built around the brand's new modular platform
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The new Impreza on the floor at the New York Auto Show
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The new Impreza on the floor at the New York Auto Show
Subaru says the cabin quality has lifted on the new car
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Subaru says the cabin quality has lifted on the new car
Up front, the new design has far more flair about it than the current car
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Up front, the new design has far more flair about it than the current car
Subaru's touchscreen now support Car Play and Android Auto
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Subaru's touchscreen now support Car Play and Android Auto
Subaru has put more effort into the car's styling than the last model, but we're still a bit disappointed
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Subaru has put more effort into the car's styling than the last model, but we're still a bit disappointed
The new Subaru Impreza on the ground in New York
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The new Subaru Impreza on the ground in New York
Subaru teased us with plenty of concepts in the lead up to this car being launched, but the production version has been heavily toned down
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Subaru teased us with plenty of concepts in the lead up to this car being launched, but the production version has been heavily toned down
The Impreza looks a lot like the new Subaru Liberty, which isn't surprising
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The Impreza looks a lot like the new Subaru Liberty, which isn't surprising
The sedan pairs up with the Impreza hatch
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The sedan pairs up with the Impreza hatch
The car's wheels look too small for its body
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The car's wheels look too small for its body
Subaru is claiming the new Impreza is a sharper drive than the current one
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Subaru is claiming the new Impreza is a sharper drive than the current one
As nice as it is to see someone worried about ride comfort, we think the car needs some bigger wheels
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As nice as it is to see someone worried about ride comfort, we think the car needs some bigger wheels
The new hatch is built on Subaru's modular platform
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The new hatch is built on Subaru's modular platform
Considering how successful the current Subaru lineup is, the new Impreza should sell like hotcakes
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Considering how successful the current Subaru lineup is, the new Impreza should sell like hotcakes
Hawkish headlamps are one little bit of excitement on the new Impreza's design
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Hawkish headlamps are one little bit of excitement on the new Impreza's design
The trend for neatly shaped daytime running lights shows no signs of abating
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The trend for neatly shaped daytime running lights shows no signs of abating
The car's center of gravity is 5mm lower than the Impreza it replaces
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The car's center of gravity is 5mm lower than the Impreza it replaces
A new suspension setup should cut down on body roll
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A new suspension setup should cut down on body roll
Subaru is promising a more refined experience from its new Impreza
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Subaru is promising a more refined experience from its new Impreza
Subaru has always built its brand around safety, and the new Impreza has all-wheel drive and a full range of active safety features
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Subaru has always built its brand around safety, and the new Impreza has all-wheel drive and a full range of active safety features
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The new Subaru Impreza is built around the brand's new modular platform
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The new Subaru Impreza is built around the brand's new modular platform
Subaru teased us for months leading up to this car, but the reality is slightly underwhelming
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Subaru teased us for months leading up to this car, but the reality is slightly underwhelming
The rear is possibly the Impreza's best angle
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The rear is possibly the Impreza's best angle
It's inside where Subaru's stylists have made their money
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It's inside where Subaru's stylists have made their money
Rear seat passengers should get some extra room in the new car
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Rear seat passengers should get some extra room in the new car
Subaru sales have been going gangbusters recently, and we expect the new Impreza to continue that trend
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Subaru sales have been going gangbusters recently, and we expect the new Impreza to continue that trend
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Subaru has stopped the strip tease and finally whipped the covers off its new production Impreza in New York. Built around Fuji Heavy Industries' new modular platform, the new Impreza promises to combine high levels of active safety with a sharp new chassis that will hopefully return Subaru to its World Rally Championship winning best.

At the core of the new Impreza is Fuji Heavy Industries' new Subaru Global Platform (SGP), which increases rigidity through the body and chassis by between 70 and 100 percent. Thanks to the new structure, which has stronger joins between its individual parts, drivers should feel less vibration through the steering wheel, floor and seats.

Because the new platform also includes stiffer suspension mounts than its predecessor, the new car's suspension setup can absorb bigger hits without transmitting refinement-ruining vibrations into the cabin. The new suspension setup also has its rear stabilizer attached directly to the body, which is claimed to reduce body roll by 50 percent compared to previous models.

The new Impreza on the floor at the New York Auto Show
The new Impreza on the floor at the New York Auto Show

Combine tighter body control with a center of gravity that's been dropped by 5 mm, and Subaru could just have the perfect base to bring the aging WRX and WRX STI formula into the 21st century, where they're currently outgunned compared to hot hatch heroes like the Ford Focus RS and Mercedes A45 AMG.

As is standard for anything with a Subaru badge on the bonnet, power comes from a horizontally opposed engine. Compared to the 2.0-liter boxer in the current car, 80 percent of the parts in the new Impreza's 152 hp (113 kW) motor are new - a changes Subaru claims have made the engine lighter, more powerful and fuel efficient.

Also tweaked is the Lineartronic CVT gearbox, which is lighter and should deliver better pickup for drivers desperate to win the traffic-light grand prix. There's also a revised manual mode which tunes the constantly variable transmission to mimic a seven-speed auto gearbox, allowing drivers to take control using the paddles behind the wheel.

Subaru sales have been going gangbusters recently, and we expect the new Impreza to continue that trend
Subaru sales have been going gangbusters recently, and we expect the new Impreza to continue that trend

While Subarus have always traded on the active safety benefits of all-wheel drive, buyers expect a raft of safety features that will save their bacon if they get distracted, too. Just like the Outback, the Impreza will be fitted with Subaru's excellent EyeSight system, which uses two stereo cameras mounted up near the rearview mirror to control adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking and lane keeping assist.

Having used the system on an Outback we can confirm Subaru's EyeSight is one of the best active safety setups out there, which should act as a big drawcard in the showroom. If, for some reason, you and the systems can't avoid a bingle, the car's new platform is 40 percent more effective at absorbing impact energy.

While the active safety setup is one drawcard, the car's totally redesigned interior is another. Gone is the basic, blocky design of past Imprezas, and in its place is a sharp new dashboard that houses a CarPlay and Android Auto compatible touchscreen. Subaru also says it has ramped up the quality of its materials, something it desperately needed to do if the new car is to compete with the Volkswagen Golf and Mazda 3.

It's inside where Subaru's stylists have made their money
It's inside where Subaru's stylists have made their money

As for the exterior styling, well, we'll let you be the judge. It's definitely a better looking car than its predecessor, but we can't help being a bit disappointed in Subaru for not sticking more closely to the edgy look previewed on the Impreza Sedan and Hatch concepts we saw last year. Or, as our man on the ground put it, the car is "not very imprezzing..."

The first Imprezas will roll off the production line in late 2016, so for now you'll have to get to the New York Motor Show for a look. Failing that, you can check out our gallery.

Source: Subaru

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