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Subaru Impreza: Test Drive Review

Date: 21 May 2010   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £21,500
Key rival: Renault Megane Sport Tourer &

Subaru 'soft-launched' the diesel version of its lower medium Impreza last summer, but the brand now feels in more of a position to shout about its most fleet-friendly product to date as it starts winding up to some sort of assault on the business car market.

The diesel Impreza is fitted with the same 150hp diesel engine as its Legacy big brother, but as it's a smaller car it doesn't suffer the Legacy's failing of coming in at 1g/km over the 160g/km point that's increasingly becoming a cut-off for corporate lists.

The Impreza emits 155g/km, which doesn't compare well with equivalently powered rivals such as the Renault Megane Sport Tourer and Volvo's V50, both of which have a figure of 134g/km, putting them five benefit-in-kind bands below the Subaru. That's at least partly down to the Impreza's four-wheel drive system that adds weight but may be a clincher for some fleets; there isn't a more efficient all-wheel drive car at this price, and Subaru is pinning its hopes on there being a few companies where more all-weather ability will be appealing.

To drive, the decent diesel feels more like a petrol, thanks to the 'Boxer' technology employed by Subaru. It provides a much flatter power delivery than the normal diesel punch, which isn't necessarily better or worse than its rivals, just different. Also different is the amount of engine noise, much more than where the same engine is used in the larger Legacy, while there's also plenty of road noise.

The interior is where it really shows up that the Impreza isn't at the level of its rivals. The cabin's darker, and put together using cheaper materials than other cars at this price point, although Subaru is considering whether there's an opportunity to cut the price. That's difficult due to exchange rates, but correctly deemed vital to make the car a success in the UK.

The boot is also smaller than rival estates, with depth being the big issue, but the higher-than-average floor does make loading and unloading heavy objects easier.

There's no lower medium car to touch the Impreza if muddy tracks or adverse weather conditions are a buying consideration, but despite the brand appeal that could be attached to a historically performance-orientated marque, it's currently either too expensive or not of good enough quality to match similarly priced rivals.

Subaru Impreza 2.0D RC
P11D price£21,500
Model price range£13,620-£32,290
Fuel consumption47.9mpg
CO2 (tax) 155g/km (23%)
BIK 20/40% per month£84/£165
Service interval12,000mls
Insurance (1-50)group 24
Boot space (min/max)301/1216 litres
Engine size/power1998cc/150hp
Top speed/0-62mph127mph/9.0secs
On sale Summer 2009
VerdictAppealing, but not as
polished or efficient
as rivals


Appealing, but not as polished or efficient as rivals