Unlike its gutsier WRX sibling, the standard Impreza has never garnered much attention from its sedate styling and inoffensive road manners. Yet thanks to a leap in refinement and fuel economy, the fifth generation is the best-selling Impreza to date, and Subaru hopes to infuse more sporting character with the all-new model, which debuted at the New York Auto Show.
In person you’ll immediately notice the flame-surfaced panels oddly reminiscent of Mazda5’s Kodo design language, in a profile that can otherwise be mistaken for its predecessor. The more noteworthy change is its bigger external dimensions—the Impreza is about 1.5 inches longer and wider and almost half an inch shorter.
To take on the competitors like the significantly improved Honda Civic, Subaru claims a 70 percent more rigid chassis, and 50 percent less body roll for the new sedan and hatchback, which is part of the company’s new Global Platform. The 2.0-liter direct-injected Boxer engine makes a return with a modest four-horsepower improvement, up to 152, and is paired to a CVT with a seven-speed manual mode. The Sport trim features active torque-vectoring and a retuned MacPherson/Double wishbone suspension setup, as well as upsized 18-inch wheels.
As with other Impreza unveils, it’s more of a prelude to the main event–here’s hoping for a five-door Rex.