2018 Subaru Impreza Sport | Better than Civic?| Complete Review | TestDriveNow

Month after month, Subaru’s sales continue
to rise; remarkable when you consider they don’t sell a traditional crossover or 3-row
SUV. But Americans have bought into their all-wheel
drive, dog-loving ways, attracted to their mix sedans, hatchbacks and wagons. This is the all-new, 2018 Impreza. After a truncated run of 2017 models, this
next generation Impreza is really hitting its stride. It’s the only Subaru “car” to see sales
gains this year, up over 40%.  For the first time, production has moved from
Japan to the United States, riding upon a new platform designed to deliver significantly
higher levels of driving pleasure, agility, crash protection and ride comfort.  The size hasn’t grown that much though there’s
enough additional passenger volume to garner a midsize classification, maturing from its
compact dimensions.  And it feels that way, too; whether from behind
the wheel or from behind the front seats, there’s ample room in here.  It sits lower, improving aesthetics, aerodynamics
and handling.  Though with 5.1” of ground clearance, this
is one Subaru you’re going to want to keep primarily on-road.  It still comes in sedan and hatchback bodystyles
and motors with familiar powertrains.  This here is the new Impreza Sport, with 18”
wheels, a sport-tuned independent suspension with Active Torque Vectoring, LED daytime
running lights, black grille, body-color rocker panels and rear spoiler.  Upgrades over the Premium trim include the
8” touchscreen multimedia system, keyless access with push button start, aluminum pedals
and leather wrapped driver controls.  The look is stellar, particularly so in this
Lithium Red Pearl paint, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that before about any Subaru.  Never a Subaru strong suit, interior design
also speaks to higher quality and greater visual appeal.  Touchpoints feel more premium, doors shut
with a reassuring thud and overall it seems quieter.  The manually adjusted driver’s seat is firm
but comfortable and the low cowl provides a wide field of vision. Now, if you REALLY want a sporty Impreza you
buy a WRX, so it’s important to understand the Impreza Sport’s positioning. It’s powered by a 152 horsepower 4-cylinder
engine paired here to the optional continuously variable transmission.  You’ve likely heard bad things about the
CVT but Subaru has gone to great lengths to assuage the criticisms.  This one is interesting in that it has a manual
mode function that authentically mimics 7 shift points to provide the feeling of a traditional
automatic.  And if you’re looking to extract any fun
from this car paddle shifting is a must.  With the gear shifter kicked to the left,
gear changes occur rapidly enough to feel more like a dual clutch transmission.  Leave the CVT to its own devices and it’s
as smooth and quiet as any such gearbox on the market, but with tepid acceleration and
a dead spot around 2,000 RPM where your foot is saying go but the engine’s saying no.  90% of buyers will likely find the drive acceptable
but the rest will want something with more zip.  Stellar fuel economy is virtually unchanged
at 27mpg city/36mpg highway. Driven normally, the Impreza’s balance of
ride and handling is impressive. The steering is quick and precise, the car
dutifully goes where you point it and the suspension soaks up a rough road.  Push it harder though and there’s a good
deal of understeer – that’s the effect you get when the front end plows through a
curve. The torque vectoring helps tuck the car into
a tight turn, but hampered by the lack of oomph, the Sport’s happier with mild exercise. Concerning the Starlink system, this is an
easy to use interface with some very clever apps, such as the a propos eBird app, designed
for birdwatchers, advising them of local sightings and locations. There’s no embedded navigation but the Magellan
Navi app is free for 3 years or you can just use your phone’s mapping software through
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  2 USB ports are included.  There’s lots of good stuff in here and it’s
worth noting how great the audio system sounds, with volume, clarity and deep bass and that’s
without either of the 2 available upgrades. Other relevant information can be displayed
up here, controlled via a steering wheel switch. Without the EyeSight system, this car lacks
the important side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and the like.  MSRP is $23,755.  All-wheel drive entries in the compact segment
are rare so that alone gives the Impreza a leg up and even though it can’t match the
Civic’s excitement it’s a solid effort worthy of consideration.

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