Saturday, May 10, 2014

Compact? The 2014 Subaru Impreza Feels Bigger than it Is.

Even those who normally scoff at compact cars and wonder why anyone would own one let alone give awards for cars in this category need to take notice of the 2014 Subaru Impreza.  This car has already been noticed and awarded by some of the industry leaders when it comes to cars, having earned the Consumer Reports Award for Best Compact Car as well as the 2014 Best Resale Value Award Winner from Kelley Blue Book.

The Impreza is the best choice for anyone who lives in a climate that experiences all four seasons of weather change and better handling and traction is needed.  This is easily achieved through the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) which is not available on many other vehicles in this class.  In the case of the shopper who doesn’t actually need the AWD performance, the Impreza might not be the best choice as some of the other models in the class offer better fuel economy, but why give up the peace of mind of the AWD for a few miles per gallon?

The power plant for the Impreza starts with a 2.0 liter flat four cylinder engine giving the driver 148 horsepower and 145 lb.-ft. of torque.  As far as fuel economy, this is the best engine in the lineup and when paired with the five speed manual transmission comes in at 25 city/34 hwy mpg for the sedan and 25 city/33 hwy mpg for the wagon.  When the transmission is changed to the automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) the fuel efficiency is better with 27 city/36 hwy mpg.

Moving up to the WRX model and the engine is a 2.5 liter turbocharged flat four cylinder bringing in 265 horsepower and 244 lb.-ft. of torque.  This powerful engine allows the car to get up to speed much faster than the smaller 2.0 and provides nice power for the driver.  The WRX model engine is partnered up with a five speed manual transmission allowing a fuel mileage of 19 city/25 hwy for this model.

On the top of the list is the STI model of Impreza with a 2.5 liter turbocharged flat four cylinder engine that really brings it at 305 horsepower and 290 lb.-ft. of torque.  This engine gets to spend time with a six speed transmission offering only a 17 city/23 hwy mpg for fuel mileage, but is by far the quickest and most powerful engine in the Impreza lineup.

The interior of the Impreza does leave a bit to be desired, but can be upgraded to leather and have plenty of features added.  Overall the interior is easy to use with all controls in proper locations allowing the driver to focus on the road ahead, but the interior is not going to win any awards on its own or impress the masses.

On the outside, the Impreza is a nice, graceful vehicle made to be a great choice for the compact car owners, there aren’t a lot of frills or additives that tend to drive prices up.  With “hawk-eye” styled headlights and a sloping roof on the five door hatchback model, the car is appealing to the eye.  If upgraded to the WRX and STI models, which are made for agility and quickness, the exterior features include a hood-mounted air intake, deep side sills, trunk mounted wings and four exhaust pipes.

The list of standard features for the 2014 Subaru Impreza begins with air conditioning, power windows and door locks, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry, and a four speaker audio system with auxiliary and USB inputs and Bluetooth connectivity.  Moving into higher trim models than the base 2.0i and leather seating, larger wheels, heated front seats, automatic climate controls and a six speaker audio system with HD Radio are added as standard features.  The two wagon version offer 17-inch wheels and fog lights as standard features while the WRX and STI models offer stiffer suspensions, needed for the power and handling of these models.  The STI model is also equipped with the Brembo brakes to bring the compact beast to a safe stop.

Optional equipment for the Impreza include the CVT for models where this is not offered as a standard feature,  a power moon roof, a voice-activated navigation system with a 6.1-inche touch screen, a cold weather package with de-icer and heated seats.  The WRX and STI models can be equipped with satellite radio, a short-throw shifter and a turbo-boost gauge; a sweet list of options to really make this car a fully loaded monster on the blacktop.

The base price for the Impreza is just under $19,000, a great price for a car especially one equipped with AWD.  By adding a few extra the car can reach around the $25,000 range; still reasonable and affordable for most pocketbooks.  The WRX model starts at $27,000 and the STI begins around $35,000 but when fully loaded can reach up to $40,000, which is still a good price for all the power and function of the fully loaded Impreza.

The 2014 Subaru Impreza offers any owner a great deal of fantastic options and features to choose from and with this being one of the only cars in its class that comes standard with AWD is a great choice when shopping for a new compact car.  Add a few bells and maybe even a couple whistles and the Impreza reaches out in WRX fashion and touches the driver with quickness and handling that makes compact cars fun to drive.  At the top of the list with the STI the mild mannered Impreza turns into a monster to be dealt with on the pavement, fun to drive and full of angry power to please even the stodgiest of drivers.

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