2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited Sport First Test Review

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When we drove the 2014 Subaru Impreza during our last compact hatchback comparison, we noted it performed particularly well in terms of cabin space, safety, and cost of ownership. For the 2015 model year, the hatch gains a few more attributes that help it stand out from the pack. Along with updated styling, the Impreza adds a rearview camera as standard across all trim levels. With the new offering, the Impreza joins the Ford Focus, Mazda3, Hyundai Veloster, and Scion iM among the growing list of small hatches that already offer a rearview camera as standard. For 2015, Subaru has also tweaked the Lineartronic CVT so it acts a bit more like a traditional automatic, giving it a more natural stepped shifting rhythm. Interested in seeing a preview of the 2017 Subaru Impreza? Check out the newly revealed Subaru Impreza Sedan concept here, or the Subaru Impreza 5-Door concept here. Pre-collision braking is one of the many features in the newly available EyeSight system, which helps the model earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for 2015. The Impreza is currently the only small non-luxury passenger car, other than the WRX, to receive the highest rating of Superior in front crash prevention technology from the agency. In IIHS tests, it was able to avoid a crash when traveling at speeds of 12 mph and at 25 mph. On the road, we only got so far as testing the lane departure warning system, which gently but accurately lets you know when you’re going beyond the bounds of your lane. But how fast is the car? In our tests, the Impreza hit 60 mph in a languishing 9.9 seconds. That’s quite a bit slower than the 2015 Kia Forte5 we tested at 6.9 seconds, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf at 7.8 seconds, and the 2014 Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra GT, which each hit 8.4 seconds. In braking tests, the Impreza came to a stop from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is farther than the 105 feet it took the Ford Focus to accomplish the task. Meanwhile, the Forte5 managed to stop in 110 feet, and the VW Golf came in at a comparable 117 feet. The Impreza is essentially unchanged from 2015 to 2016 aside from the addition of two newly available Starlink Connected Services packages. In our initial drives, the Impreza produced a laboring noise from its engine during highway speeds. It also didn’t absorb much road noise, so we were curious how would it perform on a sound test. When cruising down a very smooth road at 60 mph, we measured 19.1 sones in the Impreza. To put that in perspective, a representative sone spec for a relatively quiet, non-luxury car on that same road is about 15 sones, based on data from cars we’ve tested. At higher speeds, the Impreza becomes noticeably louder, of course. At wide-open throttle to 70 mph (real highway speeds), the car averages 28.2 sones, which is a whopping 48 percent louder than when traveling at 60 mph. At the higher speed, it emits a particularly gruff, flat engine noise. To its merit, the compact hatch handles and steers well and feels balanced in the city and on the highway. In most driving situations, it’s easy to hear and feel the car follow every sinew of the road. You can also feel noticeable shifting movements in the transmission, giving it a distinctly mechanical appeal. Its 148 hp is just enough to pass other cars on the highway, but don’t expect to perform any acrobatics. Slow and safe, the Impreza might seem like the perfect car for a young driver. But those who want that trusty EyeSight system will have to pay a bit more, as it is only available as an option on the Limited and Sport Limited trims. Other features on our top-of-the-line Sport Limited model include leather-trimmed upholstery, satellite radio, an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen with smartphone swiping and scrolling capabilities, and steering-responsive foglights that improve illumination on curvy roads. Still, we’d see consumers being satisfied with lower-trim Imprezas were it not for the compelling EyeSight system. Considering its below average acceleration, we think the standard all-wheel-drive Impreza best serves drivers in snowy states or those hell-bent on an affordable hatch with automatic braking. Either way, the current model is on its way out, and Subaru will start making room for the next-gen 2017 Impreza. That model will sit on a new platform and feature an upgraded 2.0-liter boxer-four engine. 2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited Sport BASE PRICE $24,090 PRICE AS TESTED $26,885 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback ENGINE 2.0L/148-hp/145-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve flat-4 TRANSMISSION Cont. variable auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,161 lb (60/40%) WHEELBASE 174.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 180.5 x 68.5 x 57.7 in 0-60 MPH 9.9 sec QUARTER MILE 17.5 sec @ 81.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 119 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.82 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.8 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 27/36/31 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 125/94 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.64 lb/mile