A quick glance at the current compact cars available on the market, and it isn’t hard to see how far this segment has come in the last several years. With cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf/Jetta and Ford Focus commanding the lion’s share of sales each year, competitors have had to up their game to stand out from the crowd, and that’s exactly Subaru has done with its all-new 2017 Subaru Impreza.
Redesigned from the ground up, the sixth-generation Impreza carries over all the loveable traditions of Subaru’s compact car with key improvements to comfort, technology and ride quality. Perhaps the biggest change for the new Impreza, though, was to its assembly location (which moved from Japan to Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana assembly plant) and now allows the Impreza to boast that it is Made in America.
2017 Subaru Impreza Sport 5-Door Exterior:
As has been the case with the preceding five generations on Subaru Impreza, the overall design of the 2017 Subaru Impreza is very evolutionary, which means that casual observers might not even notice the difference between this all-new Impreza and its predecessor. The understated design is certainly not as flashy as the Mazda3 or Honda Civic, but Subaru has definitely upped its game in terms of design with a body that is sleeker and sportier than previous Impreza models. The new body is longer, wider and lower than the previous Impreza, and it looks less chunky and more upscale. Living up to its name, the Impreza Sport gets a racier appearance with LED daytime running lights in the lower fascia, 18-inch wheels with a two-tone finish and a rear spoiler. Of course, the flashy Lithium Red Pearl paint job found on this tester doesn’t hurt the car’s image either.
2017 Subaru Impreza Sport 5-Door Interior:
After some brief seat time in the 2017 Subaru Impreza, it wasn’t hard to see that this car has one of the best interiors in its class, but, more importantly, after a full week behind the wheel, it is easy to say that this is the best cabin that Subaru has ever created in terms of layout, refinement and overall quality. Like the exterior, the look of the Impreza’s cabin isn’t a stark departure from previous models, but it does add more than enough style and technology to keep up with its key rivals. While the look isn’t as flashy as some other compacts, the user experience is where the 2017 Subaru Impreza truly stands out including excellent visibility, a very quiet cabin and the easy-to-use trio of digital screens – in the cluster for basic vehicle info, a small screen at the top of the dash with nine scrollable pages and, of course, the large touch-screen display for the infotainment system. The higher trim levels upgrade from a 6.5-inch screen to an eight-inch screen, but all trim levels feature the latest Subaru STARLINK infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth hands-free; this system can be taken a step further by upgrading to the harman/kardon premium audio system.
Upgrading to the Impreza Sport brings an added dash of style such as the red accent stitching, simulated carbon fiber trim and aluminum-alloy pedals, but if you demand leather seating, you’re going to have to step up to the top Limited trim level. The front sport bucket seats are both comfortable and supportive, while the rear bench seat easily accommodates three adult passengers. In terms of cargo space, the Impreza 5-door offers up 20.8 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 55.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.
2017 Subaru Impreza Sport 5-Door Powertrain:
The Impreza has always stood out from its compact rivals with a unique powertrain that combines a horizontally opposed Boxer engine with Subaru’s signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and the 2017 Subaru Impreza gets even better in this regard. New for 2017, the Impreza’s 2.0-liter flat-four engine benefits from direct injection for improved performance and efficiency, but while the power ratings of 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque might seem underwhelming, but at no point did this car feel sluggish. Although a manual transmission comes standard, the optional CVT works incredibly well with the Boxer engine and still feels plenty sporty with a seven-speed manual shift mode and steering wheel shift paddles.
When it comes to driving the 2017 Subaru Impreza, this car benefits from the new Subaru Global Architecture, which debuted on the Impreza and will be used on future Subaru products. This platform offers improved chassis rigidity and a lower center of gravity for a ride quality that is both comfortable and nimble. Adding to this is an electric power steering system that has a quicker ratio than the previous Impreza giving this car an even sportier feel. Finally, with Sport in its name, the 2017 Subaru Impreza Sport also adds key upgrades for improvement performance such as the Active Torque Vectoring and a sport-tuned suspension.
Being a compact car, one of the most important factors for buyers in this segment is fuel economy, and the new chassis and engine help the 2017 Subaru Impreza 5-door receive EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway**. After a full week of driving in mixed conditions, this tester showed an average of 32 mpg.
2017 Subaru Impreza Sport 5-Door Safety:
Subaru has established itself as one of the safest automakers in recent years, and the 2017 Subaru Impreza Sport follows in line. As expected, this car received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2017 Impreza comes standard with plenty of safety features, but this tester added in the more advanced goodies such as Blind Spot Detection with Lane Keep Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as well as the Subaru EyeSight safety technology, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management and Lane Departure and Sway Warning.
2017 Subaru Impreza Sport 5-Door Overall:
The entire 2017 Subaru Impreza lineup shows that Subaru is fully capable of going toe-to-toe with any other compact car on the market, and the Impreza Sport offers a nice tweener model for buyers not wanting to step up to a WRX or STI model. While Subaru already has a loyal fan base of buyers who live in mountainous and snowy areas (specifically the Northeast and Colorado), the all-new 2017 Subaru Impreza brings this compact in from the fringes of this segment as an excellent choice for mainstream buyers.
Even with all of its improvements and class-leading standard all-wheel drive, the 2017 Subaru Impreza is still a great value in its class with a starting price of just $18,395* ($500 more for the 5-door hatchback), and $22,495 Impreza Sport 5-door. Fully loaded with all of the optional advanced technology and safety features, this 2017 Impreza had an as-tested price of $27,060.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Subaru dealership and test drive the all-new 2017 Subaru Impreza today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.