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First drive: Subaru Impreza RC. Image by Subaru.

First drive: Subaru Impreza RC
Subaru Impreza RC fills a tiny niche for those that need a family hatchback with four-wheel drive.

 



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Subaru Impreza RC

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5

Forget what you once thought of the Impreza, as Subaru has taken it down a more earnest path. No rallying nutters here then, just a well-equipped, four-wheel drive hatchback that'll appeal to a small audience requiring its unique combination of attributes.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Subaru Impreza RC
Price: 17,495
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol 'boxer'
Transmission: four-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 147g/km (Band F, 145 per year)
Combined economy: 44.1mpg
Top Speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 12.3 seconds
Power: 114hp at 5,600rpm
Torque 150Nm at 4,000rpm

What's this?

A departure, at least it is if you were once aware of the Impreza as it used to be it is. Subaru hasn't rallied its Impreza for years, the days of bobble-hatted fans filling wooded car parks with '555'-adorned rally replicas to watch spectacularly talented drivers compete in rallying Imprezas is long gone. The current Impreza, says Subaru, is more suited to a district nurse. Seriously. For those looking for performance Subarus there's still a WRX STI on sale, or the BRZ, but the Impreza as we once knew and loved it is gone. It's now a niche player that's unique in offering four-wheel drive and a four-cylinder boxer engine in a hatchback that's around the same size as a Ford Focus.

How does it drive?

It is, how shall I put this, sedate; Subaru wasn't kidding that it's taken a bit of a change of direction with the Impreza. That district nurse had better not be in a hurry, though the four-wheel drive will be useful if their patch is out in the sticks. So 0-62mph takes 12.3 seconds, though the 1.6-litre boxer engine is smooth when revving, if not what you'd call potent. It needs those revs too, and you'll be fairly busy stirring the five-speed transmission if you hit any inclines, the Impreza RC's lack of torque noticeable at motorway speeds and when overtaking. You'll be brave to do the latter. The steering is crisp enough and that gearbox is fine, while the Impreza rides commendably too, though there's a bit of road noise intrusion in the cabin as the speeds increase (slowly).

It's unremarkable then, but the additional traction of the four-wheel drive system is likely to appeal to some, while space inside is pretty generous, too. The materials are still sub-par regarding tactility, though like every Subaru ever built it feels like it'll outlive you, and your offspring's offspring - it's likely to be around when the last drop of oil is squeezed out of a well somewhere. Economy undoubtedly benefits from Subaru's more sensible direction with this Impreza, but 44.1mpg on the combined cycle isn't too special, and it'll be less in reality.

Verdict

Subaru doesn't expect (nor will it) sell many Impreza 1.6 RCs such is its niche appeal. That said, there's obviously a business case to offer it to countryside buyers wanting a no-nonsense hatchback with good traction for sensible money.

2 2 2 2 2 Exterior Design

2 2 2 2 2 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3 3 3 3 3 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 17 Oct 2014









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2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.



2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 

2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 

2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 

2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 

2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 

2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 

2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 

2014 Subaru Impreza. Image by Subaru.
 






 

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