Johannesburg – After skipping a generation, (if you’ll ignore the WRX version that was based on the fourth-gen sedan but didn’t wear an Impreza badge) Subaru has launched its all-new Impreza sedan in South Africa and the importer refers to its new four-door as “a game changer”.

It’s built on the company’s new global platform, which makes extensive use of high-tensile steel, and Subaru says it’s in a “whole new class” when it comes to refinement, safety, interior technology and driving dynamics, also being up to 70 percent more torsionally rigid. Was the previous version not rigid then?

Anyhow, power is provided by a new direct injection, normally aspirated 2-litre petrol engine that produces 115kW at 6000rpm and 196Nm at 4200rpm. As you'd expect, it powers all four wheels through Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

All local models will be fitted with Subaru’s upgraded Lineartronic CVT gearbox that features steering-mounted shifter panels that allow the driver to flick between seven predetermined steps, or virtual gears as one might call them.

There is only one derivative for now and it’s called the 2.0i-S Premium CVT. Though rather well appointed it is technically a mid-range model as Subaru will expand the range with a lower-spec Impreza and a flagship 2.0i ES Premium this coming October.

The 2.0i-S comes with leather seats (heated up front and available in black or ivory) as well as dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, auto wipers, cruise control, high-beam assist, Blind spot monitoring with Lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert among other gizmos.

Also fitted is a 20cm touchscreen infotainment system with reverse camera and satnav, and the system is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The ES flagship model will add a whole suite of additional ‘EyeSight’ driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane sway warning and lead vehicle start alert.

Should all of that not prove sufficient, the Impreza is fitted with seven airbags (across the range) and its structure and safety features have earned it five star ratings in both the EuroNCAP and Aussie NCAP tests.

However, this much-improved model comes at a price. Although Subaru has yet to announce prices for the base and flagship ES models, the midrange 2.0i-S Premium that’s for sale from now comes at R399 000. But besides the satisfaction of owning what certainly looks to be a high-quality product, that price tag will also ensure that buyers enjoy an air of exclusivity on the roads.

Aftersales backup comes in the form of a five-year/150 000km warranty and three-year/75 000km maintenance plan.

IOL Motoring

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