New York motor show 2011: new Impreza
Is this really worthy of the Impreza name? We’re not sure...
Line up the Impreza range chronologically and it's like Darwin's Evolution of Man, only backwards. First there were the proud, booted, upright Subarectus saloons, moulding modern techonology in the cause of accessible driving thrills. But now, there's this rather hunched-over little monkey, launched at the 2011 New York motor show yesterday.
And what is Subaru's key message around the latest American version of its traditionally hypersonic four-wheel drive mentalist? That the interior plastics are better.
In fairness, they are. The dashboard no longer feels like it's made entirely out of egg boxes.
It will also be the most economical four-wheel drive in America. But it certainly won't win on economy in our market, and do people buy an Impreza because it's good at the pumps?
We always thought people bought Imprezas because they were fast. Which the British one also won't be. Details around European plans are still limited, but what we do know is that the UK will only get a 1.6-litre petrol to start with, and a choice between a five-speed manual and one of those funny CVT gearboxes, like DAFs had in the Sixties.
Don't expect a WRX STi version in the near future, either. Subaru's keeping the exciting stuff on the current European generation for the foreseeable future. Us Brits won't even be able to bolt a spoiler on the boot, because we're only going to get the five-door.
So, not the greatest time to be an Impreza fan. Thoughts, TopGearers?