2012 Subaru Impreza is a top Insurance Institute safety pick

Subaru Impreza has a longer wheelbase, redesigned door, roof trim and the windshield is more raked.

The 2012 Subaru Impreza is a good choice for consumers looking for a safe and comfortable all-around vehicle. It seats five, has excellent cargo space and was named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

This is the fourth-generation of the Impreza, available in four-door and five-door compact models. It has a bolder, more dynamic design and an all-new more efficient powertrain. There’s a 36 percent improvement in combined fuel economy (automatic transmission), along with more room inside, better handling and more refinement.

Impreza is available in five levels — Base, Premium, Sport Premium, Limited and Sport Limited models – all powered by the 148 hp 2.0-liter Boxer engine that delivers 27/36 mpg. The Premium, Sport and Limited models with the new Lineartronic CVT transmission also have a six-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters, enabling the driver to control the transmission shifting. Subaru claims that the Impreza equipped with Lineartronic CVT is the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive car in the U.S.

The 2012 Impreza has a longer wheelbase, a redesigned door, roof trim and front seats. The windshield is more raked and the A pillar has been moved forward to allow the front door to open about five inches wider for easier entry and exit. Both sedan trunk room and five-door cargo room are increased, and the five-door 65/35 split rear seatbacks fold completely flat for an unobstructed cargo area. On the inside there are richer looking appointments and details, including softtouch materials for the dashboard, door trim and center console armrest. Larger door pockets can hold plastic drink bottles and large maps, and there are several compartments around the center console to accommodate cell phones, USB drives and MP3 players.

New Impreza models weigh up to 165 pounds less (depending on model and equipment), which contributes to better fuel economy. Other fuel-saving technologies include a new electric power steering system and lower rolling resistance tires. Strengthened suspension components in front and rear enhance agility, while new liquid (hydraulic) engine mounts help stop vibration.

Other standard equipment includes Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which combines stability and traction control functions, fourwheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and the Brake Assist safety system. The new Brake Override system ensures that engine power is cut when both the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaneously.

All 2012 Impreza models add a new driver’s knee airbag and the passenger-seat front airbag has a shell-type design with a center groove to lessen the impact force on deployment. All models continue with standard front side pelvis/torso airbags and side curtain airbags that offer front and rear outboard protection.

Base price on the 2012 Subaru Impreza is $17,495.

Grant Miller is the publisher of Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or by addressing email to <grant@communitynewspapers.com>.

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