Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Used Car Review - Subaru Impreza (2008-2012)

Another car whose new generation exists gets the spotlight, courtesy of Myk Belmonte in which he shells out details of this car.

2008-2012 Subaru Impreza

Mention the name Subaru and you'll get images of a car of blue and white livery and driving at dirt tracks at blistering speeds. The vehicle that was described in our very first sentence for this article is the Impreza, both available in pedestrian and special (WRX and WRX-STI models) flavors.

Oddly enough, the vehicle, synonymous in sedan form back then, was first introduced in hatchback form in 2007, while the 4 door counterpart was released a year later. There is a weird reason for introducing the hatch first, but they said that it was due to the rather dismal performance in the World Rally Championship in the mid-2000s. What ever they said, there is a cult following for this vehicle, whether picking the high performance versions or the basic one.

Motor Image Pilipinas introduced the non-turbo versions of the Impreza for the first time in late 2007. Same with the world, trunkless versions came first while the one with a trunk arrived in 2009. Sales ceased in July 2012 with the fourth generation model being launched at that time. Let's recall the models available at that time: the normally aspirated RS both available in sedan (only AT) and hatchback (both MT and AT), the turbo flavored WRX and WRX-STI (these versions would be covered in a separate article).

Value and Costs
2.0 compacts, or basically any sedan with that displacement contemplated with a gas engine, get low residuals due to their gas guzzling nature. With that consequence, RS Imprezas can be purchased between P600,000-P900,000 and those wanting to be different can jump for joy. Good luck in unit hunting since this vehicle rarely pops out the classified block.

With the normal versions, cost of owning one is the same with other 2.0 compacts, but a tad higher due to the standard all-wheel drive. Google "Subaru Impreza problems" and searches are related to the 2.5 models (both non-turbo and turbo) but there is nothing to worry about since we do have the 2.0 as a sole option.

Exterior and Interior
This review covers both sedan and hatchback versions and let's deal first on their similarities. The snout appears that it is approaching inward that creates a front end that was chiseled. Widen lines in the side profile are present that reaches the rear portion. But this sentence would end their similarities, let's go on with their differences. They are different in their C-pillar to the back and an additional six inches for the sedan. While the rear of the hatch is nice to look at, the sedan is bland since we thought that Subaru designers were rushed with this model.

Inside, both of them are identical to one another when it comes to the control layout and dashboard design. There are some changes to remember, prior to the hatch's release, dark grey with a touch of scratch prone silver was the motif before the sedan's launch. An update in 2009 saw a change in interior color design, with black being the dominant color and a painted trim contemplating it. Quality is topnotch, and materials that were used are excellent and it is focused towards the driver. Knee room is impressive thanks to the low seat mounts and the dashboard design. Four is great but five is a crowd but when it comes to cargo carrying, the hatchback is easy to deal with while the sedan has a shallow trunk that limits carrying capacity.

Philippine market Imprezas get a normally aspirated 2.0 and a turbo 2.5 but lets focus on the former engine. If you want your engine normal, then you have only the EJ20 1,994cc 150hp at 6,400rpm and 196Nm at 3,200rpm as your only choice. With the cylinders arranged in a horizontal manner, it feels balanced at any speed with the cabin devoid of outside noises due to the high levels of sound insulation. To fully utilize the given horsepower rating, you must reach 6,400rpm to feel the rush of the engine. However, it does not like to be raced (there is a reason why the upper performance models exist) since it likes to cruise. The apparent weakness is the outdated four-speed automatic, with competitors making do with 5 speeds.

Driving Impressions
High or low speeds in a corner, the Impreza is fun to drive. Thanks to the suspension tandem and the standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, this one is less twitchy to drive. If you plan to remain in the city, the suspension has the capability of handling the worst roads without transmitting them to the occupants. Just remember the all-wheel drive set-up can give you a somewhat dismal fuel economy.

For sheer driving fun at a lower price, or in a practical package, the Impreza is hard to beat. The suspension and drivetrain combination is hard to beat, plus the rally pedigree comes as a bonus. Rarity is evident especially in the limited advertisements in the classified sections of the Sunday editions of the dailies, but that what makes hunting a challenge.

The Good:
  • Available sedan and hatchback configurations
  • Unique all-wheel drive
  • Available WRX and WRX-STI variants (covered on a separate article)
The Bad:
  • Outdated 4-speed automatic
  • Bland looks compared to the WRX and WRX-STI
  • All wheel drive means disastrous fuel economy
The Pick: A well maintained stock unit will do the job

Engine: 1,994 EJ20 H4 gasoline
Power: 150hp @ 6,400rpm
Torque: 196Nm @ 3,200rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-8km/L (city), 10-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent double wishbone

Price (New): P1,128,000-P1,328,000
Price (Now): P600,000-P900,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus sedan, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte sedan, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla Altis (sedan rivals); Ford Focus hatchback, Hyundai i30, Volvo C30 (hatchback rivals).
On Sale: Late 2007-2012

Subaru Greenhills - (02) 727-3687
Subaru Global City - (02) 822-4389
Subaru Alabang - (02) 519-7123

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