2015 Subaru Impreza Review
One of the company’s best-known vehicles gets an upgrade—with pre-programmed step shifting, EyeSight stereo camera system and STARLINK infotainment software and hardware
The refreshed version of Subaru’s sporty all-wheel drive sedan is fun to drive and excels in the snow.
4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback
9.8 L/100 km city, 3.7 L/100 km hwy
5-speed manual or continuously variable automatic
- Mazda 3
- Ford Focus
- Volkswagen Golf
- Hyundai Elantra
Composed winter driving, with a sporty side
The windy lakeside roads and snow-dusted peaks of Kelowna, B.C. provided the perfect backdrop to test out Subaru’s latest revision of the fourth-generation Impreza.
“It’s more than a mid-cycle refresh,” says Ted Lalka, VP of product planning and marketing at Subaru Canada. From a design perspective, the Impreza—currently offered as both a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback—gets a sportier mesh grille with chrome accents. The fog lights are sleeker, tucked underneath chrome garnishes shaped almost like hockey sticks, and the side mirrors offer great visibility. On the sedans, the rear bumper gets a black diffuser piece that sits above the muffler as well as a lip spoiler atop the trunk.
All Imprezas now come with a backup camera, shown through a 6.2-inch touchscreen display, which increases to seven inches on the higher Limited trim level, coupled with navigation. Also standard is the STARLINK infotainment software and hardware featuring smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity and USB input.
Another addition to the 2015 model is Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle (PZEV) technology on all engines, meaning no evaporative emissions are produced during operation. Also new is the EyeSight stereo camera system, which incorporates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and vehicle lane departure warning.
Subaru continues to offer a manual transmission option across their model range to the delight of enthusiasts. For automatics, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the gearbox choice du jour and it has undergone some tweaking for 2015. Pre-programmed step shifting has been introduced, which mimics the traditional feel of gear changes and mitigates the rubber-band effect, when the engine revs go up before the car actually responds. It makes for a sportier and more responsive feel.
The Impreza particularly shined on a slalom course that had just received a fresh coat of snow the day before. The CVT-equipped car has a refined active torque-split all-wheel drive that appropriately redistributes torque across the four wheels depending on road conditions. Even when negotiating sharp turns on ice, if one of the wheels slips, composure is quickly regained before things get out of control—a feature that, in the dead of winter, we can all certainly appreciate.