Vijay Pattni20 March 2014

The Subaru Impreza has returned!

After news that we’re getting the hot WRX, more news that we’re getting the not-so-hot 1.6

There was Good News for fans of reasonably-priced, all-wheel-drive beige Japanese hatchbacks today, as Subaru confirmed the standard Impreza hatch will be offered in the UK.

Yep, just months after we found out Subaru would be bringing the looney-tunes WRX STI back over to Blighty - itself an announcement just months after cancelling it and the standard Impreza completely over here - the company has confirmed that "a more favourable exchange rate and persistent customer demand" has led to a small UK allocation of hatchbacks.

And, apparently, this is what that ‘persistent customer demand' has translated into: one non-turbo engine, one trim level and two gearboxes. The engine is a 1.6-litre boxer producing 112bhp and 110lb ft of torque, running through either a five-speed manual or CVT auto ‘box, and Subaru's permanent all-wheel-drive. We're not entirely sure this is the Impreza you demanded.

With the manual box selected, you're looking at a 0-60mph time of 12.3 seconds and a top speed of 114mph, while economy of 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 147g/km are promised. These are not good figures - most rivals are a couple of seconds faster to 60mph and way, way cleaner.

The 4WD system is a 50/50 front rear torque split, though models with the auto ‘box get an electronically controlled transfer clutch with a 60/40 front rear split. There's independent suspension all-round, a wide anti-roll bar and a highly rigid cross member (no sniggering, please). Power steering is electric, and the car comes with brake assist via the VDC programme (Subaru's version of ESP).

As mentioned, the UK gets one spec, called ‘RC', which features automatic on/off headlights, rain-sensing wipers, fog lights, 16in wheels, dual zone air-con, rear passenger heating and a leather wrapped steering wheel, amongst other things. You can also spec it in white, silver or blue. It's yours for £17,495 (£18,995 for the auto Impreza), and goes on sale from May 1.

Alternatively, you could just wait until the WRX STI hits our shores sometime in the summer. That car will cost you £28,995, and as we found out, is rather bloody good.

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