SUBARU IMPREZA REVIEW
VEHICLE STYLE: AWD hatchback
PRICE: $27,490 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol flat-four
Outputs: 110kW / 196Nm
Transmission: five-speed manual, constant AWD (viscous centre LSD)
Official fuel efficiency: 8.9 l/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 9.9 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 210g/km
The Subaru Impreza XV is the successor to the Impreza RV. It adds a higher ride height and a brace of more-rugged 'outdoorsy' features to the regular Impreza hatch.
The XV is Subaru's answer to the current crop of budget-priced 2WD compact crossovers, as well as Suzuki's SX4 hatch.
- Quality: Interior plastics and materials are of a high grade and tightly screwed together. The switchgear may be simple in design, but again there's a sense they’re built to last.
- Comfort: The front seats lack support in the squab and can be uncomfortable for long drives. The back seat can easily accommodate two adults, but the centre seat is a little too high and firm for anyone but children.
- Equipment: The Impreza XV is available in only one grade, with cruise control, foglights, roof-rails, trip-computer, power windows, power mirrors, central locking, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker audio system with USB auxiliary input as standard. A sliding sunroof is optional.
- Storage: The hatch area measures 301 litres; 774 litres with the rear seat folded. All four doors have integrated bottle holders, and the boot features a number of baggage hooks and tie-down points.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The XV drives like any other non-turbocharged Impreza, with the 2.0-litre engine delivering adequate power and torque for both around-town commuting and highway driving.
The five-speed manual has a notchy shift-gate, but the ratios are a good match for the engine's output.
- Refinement: The high-profile tyres help suppress some road noise, but the Impreza XV's cabin is fairly noisy at speed. The engine can sound thrashy at high revs, and there's also some driveline whine evident.
- Suspension: The XV gets 30mm more ground clearance than a normal Impreza, as well as a different suspension tune. It's a little too firm to soak up rutted, unpaved tracks and corrugations, but is better on the tarmac - giving a reasonable ride even on secondary roads.
- Braking: Disc brakes are fitted all-round, and can't be faulted, on road or off.
- ANCAP rating: 5-Stars (Impreza five-door hatch)
- Safety features: Standard are six airbags (front, front side and curtain), three-point seatbelts on all seats, ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability control and traction control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: 3 year/unlimited km vehicle warranty.
- Service costs: The Impreza XV costs roughly $550 to maintain in the first year of ownership, $700 in its second year and $500 in its third. The first major (timing belt) service is due at 125,000km, or after 5 years.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Suzuki SX4 AWD S ($25,690) - The SX4 AWD hatch costs nearly $2000 less than the Subaru yet is similarly equipped. The SX4 has more power, but its part-time AWD system is less sophisticated. (see SX4 reviews)
- Nissan Dualis Ti 2WD manual ($26,990) - This model of Dualis may only be front-wheel drive, but it comes well equipped and with handsome lines. (see Dualis reviews)
- Mitsubishi ASX 2WD - ($25,990) - Like the Dualis, the base-grade ASX is 2WD-only. It nearly equals the Impreza for equipment though, despite being $1500 cheaper. (see ASX reviews)
Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Impreza XV in its base form might not be the most value-packed AWD crossover hatch (that award goes to the SX4), but its permanent all-wheel drive system inspires confidence both off road and on.
It doesn’t match the utility of larger-bodied compact SUVs, but if you want a rugged Subaru but don't need the full-sized Forester, then the Impreza XV is good buying.