If for you, the idea of a 'Subaru Impreza' conjures up images of World Rally Championships, Sonic Blue paint, gold wheels and big spoilers, then you're probably no longer target market for this car. What does remain here though, are two genuine Impreza reliables, namely all-wheel drive and the flat-four 'Boxer' powerplants that I'll start by telling you about. In this case, given that there are no diesels this time round, we're talking of a 114PS 1.6-litre petrol unit or a 156PS 2.0-litre powerplant. Subaru's Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission is now a conditional part of ownership.
Onto this car's other more important unique attribute, its 'Symmetrical AWD system' a package the brand has been perfecting since 1972. No other family hatchback in this class offers 4x4 traction and it's even a very rare feature to find in affordable compact Crossover models. Even better, this is a 'proper' four-wheel drive layout - by which I mean a set-up that constantly shunts power to each wheel, rather than, as with cheaper systems, simply reacting when the front wheels slip. As for handling, well Subaru claims the new chassis increases body rigidity by as much as 70% in comparison to the previous model. The centre of gravity has been lowered by 5mm, too, which the brand claims will boost handling, steering and responsiveness.