Subaru Impreza 2.0i-SL Sedan 2012 Review

Subaru Impreza 2.0i-SL Sedan 2012 Review

In the last few years Subaru has managed to turn around the ugliness of Imprezas of yore and fortunately they no longer make you want to stab your eyes with chopsticks like the bug-eyed version 7 did back in 2000. On the whole, this new Impreza 2.0i-SLsedan is not a bad looking car, except that from some angles the chunky arches look out of proportion with the rest of the dimensions.

On this top-of-the-line SL those arches are filled with 17-inch wheels wrapped in 205/50 R17 tyres. These are driven by Subaru’s excellent Symmetrical All-wheel Drive which features active torque splitting to make sure the right amount of power is going to all wheels. In the WRX STI this is useful in any conditions, but with the Impreza SL’s

non-turbo 1995cc engine only liberating 110kW and 196Nm of torque this is only going to be useful on snow and gravel.

The CVT gearing is set to give you a decent overtaking burst. It doesn’t make a rapid getaway from a standing start but picks up at around 50kph to give you the urge where it matters on the open road. This is about the speed you’ll be doing as the revs climb up towards maximum torque at 4200rpm. Paddle shift gears are available if you want to liven up the action yourself.

Keeping the power and torque sensible leads to some fairly sensible fuel economy figures, too. The quoted combined fuel consumption is 6.8l/100km. I managed 7.1l/100km. With the 55-litre tank you should be able to get 800-900km in open road driving between stops.

As is expected from a Subaru, the suspension setup is excellent. McPherson strut-type independent suspension at the front and double wishbone-type independent suspension at the rear struck the perfect balance between comfortable on-road cruising and being able to flick it through the tight bends. Predictable understeer was the result of too much exuberance, deftly reined in by the electronic driver aids when pushing hard.

The full list of electronic assistance includes Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, Traction Control System (TCS) and the TCS Limited Slip Device. This combines into one system Subaru calls Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC). This is supported by seven airbags (front, side, curtain and the driver’s knee bag), whiplash reduction seats and pretensioning seatbelts.

Additionally, the Subaru comes with Automatic Stop Start which turns the car off when you are stationary, for example, at traffic lights. You need to drive around the foibles in these systems because until you find the right way to pull up to the lights and the right brake pressure to apply the engine will probably stop when you don’t want it to and keep going when you want it to stop.

There is Bluetooth connectivity for your phone, but it wouldn’t connect to my older Nokia N95. The specifications say that you can stream audio over Bluetooth, too, meaning your iPhone or Android phone could be your music source without having to plug it in. You can also plug your iPod or MP3 player in. The sound quality through the six-speaker system was adequate. The radio is controlled through the 4.3-inch touchscreen where you can have a list of favourites or you can browse through all available stations easily.

This touchscreen also displays the images for the reversing camera as well as various vehicle options.

The Australian navigation system is voiced by an efficient sounding lady. She makes for some unusual pronunciations of Maori place names (Whangaparaoa was never in her vocabulary, and stringing together syllables just doesn’t cut it). It also has some glaring problems: St Lukes Rd became Street Lukes Road, for example. But the main problem was that it occasionally lost the signal and was often behind where I was, telling me to turn when I was already turning. This was a shame because the overall operation of the unit was extremely good – using the touch screen with easy data entry and plenty of extra features within the navigation such as locating the nearest petrol station was simple.

The only other thing that irked me in this $46,990 car was a lack of automatic headlights or window wipers – something I would have preferred over the sunroof, mainly because the included dual climate control air conditioning is far more convenient than a sunroof will ever be. Driver comfort and the driving position was excellent, though. There are leather seats (the driver’s is 8-way power operated), and the steering wheel is leather, too. All controls are within easy reach.

It’s a standard car so you won’t be off-roading , but with its four-wheel drive capabilities the Impreza will suit those who might regularly travel on icy or otherwise slippery roads. The sedan has more distinct styling from the hatchback version, too. The hatchback looks very generic; the sedan less so, and while it’s still not quite pretty in the conventional sense, the new Impreza makes a step in the right visual direction, backing it up with a competent on-road performance .

Price: Manual $44,990, automatic $46,990.


  • Four-wheel drive flexibility
  • Rides well
  • Comfortable


  • Issues with the sat nav
  • No auto lights or wipers



Front and side demisters

Anti-dust filter

Air-conditioning – dual zone climate control

Rear windscreen demister (electric with timer)

Available Colours

Ice Silver Metallic

Camellia red pearl

Dark grey metallic

Marine blue pearl

Obsidian black pearl

Deep CherryPearl

Satin white pearl

Chassis and Mechanism

Front and rear stabiliser

Child Safety

Child seat anchor points (x3)

Rear door child locks

Collision Avoidance

4-wheel disc brakes

Vehicle Dynamics Control system (VDC) featuring:

Electronic Throttle Control system (ETC)

Height and angle adjustable front seat headrests

Rear reversing camera

SymmetricalAll Wheel Drive

Vehicle Dynamics Control system (VDC) featuring:

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)

Brake Assist

Traction Control System (TCS)

TCS Limited Slip Device

Intelligent Driving Dynamics

Automatic Stop Start (ASS)

Collision Protection

Ring-shaped passenger safety cell

Rear seat headrests for 3 seating positions

Height adjustable seat belt anchors – driver and front passenger

Height adjustable rear seat headrests

Safety pedals – brake / footrest

Whiplash reduction seats

SRS airbags – knee airbag (driver only)

SRS airbags – dual front, dual front side and curtain

Seat belt warning lights – all seats

3 point A/ELR rear seat belts

Front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters


Power mirrors and windows

Boot/tailgate auto unlock on remote central locking keys

Power steering

Driver’s footrest

Intermittent variable speed front windscreen wipers

Interior fuel lid lock release

Rear seat centre armrest

Sunvisor with vanity mirrors – driver and front passenger

Remote central locking

Rear view mirror

Remote central locking keys (x2)

12v/120W power jacks (x2)

Interior Trim

Leather steering wheel/gear shift (resin handbrake)

Door panel finish – Black

Door handle finish – Chrome

Instrument panel finish – Matt Silver

Seat trim colour – black

Seat trim – leather/

Carpet trim – black

Instrumentation and Controls

Adjustable steering wheel – height and telescopic

Multi-Function Display unit (MFD) featuring:

Sports pedals

Hazard warning indicators

Instrument cluster (White illumination/ negative LCD)

Steering wheel audio controls

Steering wheel Bluetooth® controls

Manual Mode (SLT)

Twin trip meter (switchable)

Steering wheel cruise controls

Paddle gear shift (SLT)

Steering wheel MFD controls

Multi-Function Display unit (MFD) featuring:

Eco-gauge information

Fuel economy and journey information

Outside temperature and clock display

Rear view reverse camera

Auto Stop Start information

VDC operating information display

4.3″ LCD screen

Air-conditioning, seat belt and airbag display

Warning display

Vehicle condition/maintenance self-check


Multi-information in-dash satellite navigation system featuring:

Bluetooth® wireless technology with:

Auxiliary jack – front centre console

USB connection – front centre console

Multi-information in-dash satellite navigation system featuring:

AM/FM radio

MP3/WMA/iPod compatible

6 speakers

Bluetooth wireless technology with:

Handsfree mobile communication

Audio streaming

Voice command recognition


Temporary 16″ spare wheel (steel)

17″ alloy wheels

Body coloured mirrors

Door mirrors with indicators

Electric sunroof

Chrome coloured inserts door handles

Rear door, rear quarter and rear windscreen glass – privacy glass

Rear roof mounted antenna

Front windscreen and front door glass – UV green

Fuel cap – tethered

Side spoiler

Tail pipe covers

Lighting – Exterior

Rear combination lights

Headlights – Halogen with auto off

Front fog lights

Rear stoplight

Lighting – Interior

Map lights (x2)

Cabin and cargo area lights

Illuminated ignition ring

Seating Extras

60/40 split folding rear seats

8-way power seat – driver


Immobiliser security system

Vehicle pre-wired for alarm system installation


Centre console box (with sliding armrest)

Cupholders – rear

Cupholders – centre console

Door pockets with integrated bottle holder – front and rear

Front centre tray

Tool kit

Seat back pocket – front passenger side


6-speed manual

Subaru Lineartronic™ Transmission (SLT)


3 year/unlimited km warranty

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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