Insurance Group: 13
0-62 Mph: N/A secs
BHP: 106 BHP
Range: 498 miles
PROS: Good driving experience. Capable engine. Great equipment level. High safety levels. Reliability is assured. Competitive pricing.
CONS: Limited headroom at the front. High running costs. Weak resale value.
Behind the Wheel
The Impreza 1.5 RC 5dr is powered by a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder 16v 1498cc petrol engine, which unfortunately, is not as brisk as the VW Golf. It needs to be worked hard to pick up pace and when it does, it gives a thrilling, sporty driving experience. The engine produces 106bhp and 105 lb-ft of torque, providing enough pull to get through demanding road situations. The four-wheel drive system in the car is aided by a five-speed manual gearbox which is fast and efficient.
Its top speed of 106mph falls way below the class best but it is high enough to guarantee a fast drive on the open road. The Impreza handles great, with tons of grip and great body control. Taking corners is smooth and brisk; thanks to responsive steering and firm suspension that keeps everything in check. The suspension absorbs road imperfections well, but there will be the occasional jolt on the roughest surfaces.
Wind and road noise is persistent in the cabin. The engine growls loudly when revved hard, but quietens once you’ve picked speed.
Nothing hinders visibility, either at the front or rear. All the pillars are thin enough to ensure a good view outside.
Looks & Equipment
The Impreza is a medium family hatchback measuring 4415mm x 1740mm. It has five doors and five seats. A sporty image and modern styling give the car appealing looks.
The cabin is well-designed but not as refined as the best in the class. Where the Audi A3 and VW Golf shine by using exquisite fabrics and chrome panels, the Impreza looks drab with its use of cheap plastics. However, everything else feels firm and durable and the dashboard is well-arranged.
Subaru does very well in standard equipment supply in the Impreza 1.5 RC. The car comes with power steering, central locking, standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability, climate control, cruise control, electric door mirrors, electric front windows, front fog lights, alloy wheels, driver airbag, passenger airbags, front side airbags, alarm immobiliser, MP3 connectivity, USB port, Bluetooth and CD player.
Only metallic paint is available as a cost option, for £460.
Practicality, Safety & Reliability
Driver comfort is assured. There are tons of adjustments for the driver’s seat and steering wheel, both for height and reach, so finding a comfortable driving position will not be hard. The seat is supportive too and provides enough comfort to keep long drives enjoyable.
The sloping windscreen limits space at the front and makes front occupants feel caged in. The rear is a lot more spacious and has adequate amounts of head and legroom. However, only two adults can sit back there comfortably, as the middle seat is too narrow. There is also a transmission tunnel that cuts across the centre, which the middle passenger would have to straddle.
The boot is smaller than the class best, but still falls within an acceptable range. It has a 301 litre capacity with the seats up, but increases to a remarkable 1216 litres with the seats down.
There is plenty of safety kit to keep you and your car safe. Although the car only got a four star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test, Subaru generally makes high quality cars and has a good reputation for reliability. The car comes with a 3-year/60,000 mile warranty that will additionally give you reassurance.
Value for Money
Compared to top rivals, the Subaru Impreza RC is competitively priced. It does not compromise on quality and you get the same high quality ride that more premium brands deliver. Unfortunately, resale values for used Impreza models are not too good.
The Impreza RC returns 37.7mpg, which is way below the class best and poor for a car of this size. Emissions are among the highest in the class. It averages 176g/km and this will cost you £315 in VED in the first year, and £210 a year after that, under band I. Insurance will be a bit of a relief as the car sits in insurance group 13 and should be cheap to insure. A service interval of 12,000 miles is considerable.
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