Refreshing or Revolting: 2017 Subaru Impreza

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We first saw the 2017 Subaru Impreza during the recent New York auto show, in both sedan and hatchback variants. The fifth-gen compact will be underpinned by the new Subaru Global platform that will soon be found in more of the automaker’s lineup. Because the new platform is bigger than the architecture that underpins the current Impreza models, the 2017 Impreza sedan and hatchback’s overall length grows 1.6 inches, while the wheelbase grows by an inch. These exterior changes will make for a roomier interior, but without official dimensions, we can’t say by how much. With its new architecture and more aggressive design, can the 2017 Subaru Impreza take the top seat in the compact segment?

The fifth-gen Impreza offers a new front fascia with a modified lower bumper that features new vertical foglights and updated vents. The bumper itself is more defined than the outgoing model, and the lower grille is slightly smaller, with only one black vertical slat running through it. The headlights have been updated to a more angular appearance, while the hood offers a more sculpted look. At the side, the sedan shows off strong character lines, while the hatch arguably looks more like a crossover than a wagon, thanks to the new dimensions.

The rear fascia has been given a full makeover, and gone are the squared-off taillights in favor of a new rectangular design. The lamps are more stylized, offering up sharp angles that complement the updated lighting hardware within the housings. The rear spoiler on the sedan no longer rests directly on the trunklid, and the trunk itself looks to be larger than the outgoing model. The hatchback features the same updated taillights, and the reflectors have been placed on the rear bumper.

Inside, Subaru has made subtle but noticeable changes. The center stack offers up a different layout, with the air vents moving to the side of the infotainment screen, instead of resting above it. The controls for the infotainment system have been moved below the screen from their position to the sides, while the HVAC controls have been made smaller and rest lower on the stack. The door armrest window and mirror controls now sit at an angle, while the steering wheel-mounted controls have been updated. The instrument cluster features an updated display screen, and the gauges themselves have also been given an update.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza enters is fifth generation, with an updated look and platform. Both the sedan and hatchback feature updated front and rear styling, giving the models a more sculpted, aggressive appearance, but will it be enough to give the new Impreza a shot at standing out in the compact segment?

Last week’s Refreshing or Revolting featured the 2017 Acura MDX, and not many were thrilled with the updated design.

“I like the new grille. The rest… meh!” said Monsterized.

“They’ve somehow managed to make the MDX more bland in the pursuit of undoing the chrome beak look. The first and second-gen MDXs were the best examples of the model from a design standpoint,” said Eff Irsay.

“Still very plain looking, but anything is better than the last awful corporate grille,” said Bill_Kill.

“I’d say neither. It’s less polarizing, with the loss of the chrome beak. The MDX is a great SUV that will continue to sell. The change to a more conventional grille will help though, I do like those massive LED headlights though,” said a.mcgee9-3.