What is it?According to Subaru managing director, Colin Christie, it's the most important model launch in the brand's history. The fifth generation of Subaru's iconic Impreza sedan and hatch is officially on sale and if the above statement is anything to go by, it's got to be good. Really good. The Impreza is Subaru's 'bread and butter' car – the volume seller in its range.
What are its rivals?The Impreza competes in the small car class against popular models such as the Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, all-new Holden Astra, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato and Honda Civic.
While sales in this segment are declining as buyers flock to SUVs, the small car market is still a high volume area.
Subaru is changing tack for this model?Yes – females account for almost 60 per cent of small car buyers yet purchase comparatively few Imprezas, so Subaru's advertising, social media and purchasing strategies are heavily focused on women and younger buyers.
In a bid to further tap into the youth market, Subaru has decided to sell the Impreza via a 'click and collect' style option. Like the BRZ, the Impreza can be built and paid for online and the buyer goes to the dealer of their choice to pick the car up when it's ready. Subaru says about 20 per cent of buyers opted to purchase their BRZ online.
While many of us can't fathom buying a car without driving it, Subaru says 700 people have already placed their orders for the new model without test driving one.
How much is it?
Pricing starts from $22,490 plus on road costs for the base 2.0i sedan ($22,600 for the hatch). The sedan is the same price as the equivalent Mazda3 Neo sedan and $350 cheaper than the entry level Golf, despite the Impreza featuring all-wheel-drive standard across the range.
How different is it from the old model?According to Subaru, the new Impreza is 95 per cent new and built on the all-new Subaru Global Platform. This Impreza is 10mm lower and 35mm wider than the superseded car and the wheelbase has increased by 25mm.
Improvements have been made throughout the car to reduce noise and vibrations, such as more insulation, different sound-absorbing materials and stronger components.
The Impreza features a newly developed engine that is more aerodynamic, lighter, lower and more efficient. The continuously variable transmission is lighter, feels sportier and has less vibration and noise.
The new model has improved front, side and rear collision safety, improved pedestrian protection, reduced low speed collision repair costs and improved blind spot visibility.
While it may not look that different to the previous model, the new car has had a number of styling changes, including a redesigned grille, headlights, dynamic style lines that run the length of the doors for a more sculptured profile, differently positioned rear lights and new fog light inserts.