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Meet Subaru's stiffer, safer, all-new Impreza

Attention agriculturalists! Your new all-wheel-drive hatchback is here

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This, fans of niche all-wheel-drive saloons and hatchbacks (aka farmers), is the new Subaru Impreza. And no, it doesn’t look a whole heap different to the one it replaces. There are some new, sculptured creases down the side, and some squintier headlights, but it’s otherwise business as usual from Subaru’s designers.

The interesting stuff, though, lies beneath; it’s our first taste of Subaru’s all new platform, one which will form the basis of all manner of hatchbacks, saloons, estates and SUVs. If its maker is to be believed, it offers the best of all worlds: tidier handling, higher comfort levels and less noise and vibration. Helpful if the track up to your barn has seen better days.

And while it can house all manner of modern powertrains, hybrids included, this latest-gen Impreza sticks initially with Subaru’s tried-and-tested combination of a four-cylinder boxer petrol engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive.

It’s longer and wider than before, though at 10mm lower, it has a better drag coefficient than its predecessor. And Subaru is claiming a dropped centre of gravity and revised suspension contribute to its “biggest ever leap forward” in dynamic ability.

Safety is high up the agenda too, with Subaru’s Eyesight technology suite on board. As well as the predictable bunch of lane assist and blind spot detection gubbins, its automatic braking system will function while reversing, as well as travelling forwards. Handy when one of your sheep erroneously steps in the way as you park.

And to the delight of anyone who’s used a Subaru interior well, ever, there’s a new infotainment system that sweeps the dashboard of most of its buttons, and whose appearance resembles most smartphones. It looks a big step on.

You’ve likely spotted the Impreza saloon, something we’ve not seen in the UK for a fair while. And that’s not changing: the New York show reveal is apt, as this is a US market car.

The slightly more staid five-door is something we might see in the UK, however. But can a new platform and the potential of more forward-thinking engine options make the Impreza relevant again outside of the rural farming community?


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