2017 Subaru Impreza Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, March 23, 2016
- Bigger, stronger, and safer than previous model
- Debuts new vehicle platform and design theme
- Hatchback and sedan body styles
- Base, Premium, Sport, Limited trim levels
- Direct-injection 4-cylinder engine; hybrid planned
- Upgraded safety and infotainment systems
- First Impreza built in the U.S.
Behold, the redesigned 2017 Subaru Impreza, introduced at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. It looks good, doesn’t it? If you agree, get used to these styling themes, because they’ll characterize future Subarus for the foreseeable future.
Subaru builds the 2017 Impreza on its new global platform architecture, which is engineered to improve safety, ride and handling, and to work with future autonomous driving systems. When the new Impreza goes on sale later in 2016 it will be offered in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback body styles, and in 2.0i Base, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Sport, and 2.0i Limited trim levels.
With the 2017 Impreza, Subaru introduces its new exterior design language. Characterized by a signature hexagonal Subaru grille, prominent wheel arches, sculptured body, and flowing lines, the styling treatments here will extend to other Subaru models in the future.
Larger than the model it replaces, the new Impreza’s wheelbase is stretched 1 inch, the body is 1.6 inches longer, and the car is 1.5 inches wider. Subaru also lowered the Impreza nearly half an inch for improved aerodynamics.
Increased exterior dimensions typically translate into a larger interior, and Subaru says it has taken steps to suppress noise, vibration, and harshness in the new car. The automaker refers to the interior design theme as “outward flow,” saying it is patterned after the exterior styling.
Upgrade from the 2.0i Base to the 2.0i Premium and the Impreza adds 16-in. aluminum wheels, Starlink Safety and Security services, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, heated windshield, and automatic headlights. Combined with this car’s standard all-wheel-drive system, it is ready for winter weather.
The 2.0i Sport adds a sport-tuned suspension, 18-in. machined-finish aluminum wheels, and an active torque-vectoring system. A set of LED running lights identifies this version of the Impreza, along with a blacked-out grille, gloss black liftgate detail (hatchback), rear spoiler (sedan), and turn signal indicators embedded into the side mirrors. Inside, the Impreza Sport features black cloth upholstery with red stitching, red exposed stitching, red-themed sport instrumentation, and aluminum pedals. An upgraded version of the Starlink infotainment system includes an 8-in. display, and this version of the new Impreza is equipped with keyless entry with push-button starting.
Limited trim adds steering-responsive LED headlights, LED running lights, 17-in. aluminum wheels, and shiny chrome trim. Leather upholstery is standard, along with a 6-way power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, and special white gauge illumination.
The 6-way power driver’s seat is new for 2017, and the Impreza can be upgraded with a new Harman/Kardon premium audio system. The optional navigation system now employs maps from TomTom.
Under the Hood
Subaru installs an updated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in the new Impreza, one featuring direct fuel injection. It continues using horizontally opposed cylinder construction (a “flat” or “boxer” style of engine), and now makes 152 horsepower, up from 148 hp.
All-wheel drive continues as standard equipment, power distributed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In upper trim levels, the CVT includes a 7-speed manual-shift mode with paddles mounted to the steering wheel.
Reportedly, a hybrid variant is yet to come, but Subaru announced no details about this model during the Impreza’s debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
Thanks to the Impreza’s new Subaru Global Platform, the car boasts a 70% improvement in structural rigidity. This, combined with a lower center of gravity and revised suspension tuning, is claimed to improve ride, handling, and straight-line stability.
Subaru also says it has engineered this new platform to support future autonomous driving technologies.
In addition to improving the Impreza’s driving dynamics, the rigid new architecture is claimed to upgrade crash-energy absorption by 40% compared with the previous model, which already served as a crash-test rock star.
A reversing camera is standard equipment for 2017, and new driver-assistance technologies arrive in the form of available steering-responsive headlights, automatic high-beam assist, and reverse automatic braking. A 4-wheel tire-pressure monitoring system is also available for the new Impreza.
Subaru’s EyeSight technology continues for 2017, adding an adaptive cruise control system, automatic emergency braking system, and a lane-departure warning system with lane sway and lane-keep assist. Additional safety options include a blind-spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, and Starlink Safety and Security with SOS emergency service, automatic collision notification, remote vehicle-location service, and more.
The standard Starlink infotainment system is equipped with a 6.5-in. touch-screen display, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. It also comes with standard “Near Field Connectivity,” which uses electromagnetic radio fields rather than radio transmissions in order to connect devices. An upgraded version of Starlink is available, featuring an 8-in. touch-screen display.
Premium, Sport, and Limited trims are equipped with Starlink Safety and Security subscription services, which provides remote access to the car’s locks and lights, a stolen-vehicle recovery program, and more.