The Impreza is that real world car which is not only designed for those who lead an active lifestyle but also for those who live in snow and adverse climates. The car combines quality fuel efficiency and proven AWD. The simplicity and accessibility makes it a safe choice for those who need a reliable car with no performance aspirations.
The 2.0L Port Injected motor barely feels adequate in the heat paired with the CVT. It's a sluggish yet fuel efficient affair. However the exclusion of direct injection makes this a tried and true setup. It throws away many modern complications and the need for intake valve maintenance that many will get stuck with on DI cars. It's an easy to work on platform and something that truly is a long term ownership prospect. This is one model you don't have to worry about trading after the warranty is up.
Despite Subaru trying to re-tune the CVT to behave like a cog based automatic, it's still sluggish and awkward from any performance perspective. The costs are also higher replace/repair than a standard torque converted gear based unit or manual gearbox. But, the reality is the CVT means better fuel economy and if the driver has little interest in sport performance the CVT will be just fine.
The ride is controlled and well dampened. While never feeling sporty or harsh it still handles well and sets without being floaty. It's a good balance of feel vs. comfort. Plenty of suspension travel also helps on bad pavement.
Subaru's weak link in this segment is interior space. Ergonomics and simplicity are here but the over use of cheap plastics and hard surfaces set this car back. The arm rest is like a block of wood and the knee area next to center stack is cheap hard plastics. Subaru has a real opportunity here to study the competition and make some improvements before getting too far behind. That said storage space is well thought out and comfort is good despite the oversights.
The new Starlink/Headunit is quick easy to use despite the lack of physical centralized controller. The NAV and maps are fast, screen looks good and overall usability is a big step up for Subaru.
Subaru is big on safety and the EyeSight system adds radar cruise control, lane keeping, collision mitigation and a host of other items. For 25k it does more than some systems costing 10k extra, and it works very well. Our favorite feature was it's ability to detect when a vehicle moved in traffic. If you are falling asleep at a traffic light and the car in front of you moves the system will alert you that the vehicle had moved. Lane keep worked well and radar cruise control was spot on, almost driver less in a straight line.