2012 Subaru Impreza: Value-priced all-wheel-drive

Less horsepower may seem like a bad thing, but the Subaru Impreza embraces the new frugality with stylish looks, a practical hatchback body style, and an excellent all-wheel-drive system.

2012 Subaru Impreza
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

For the 2012 update, Subaru downsized the engine, losing half a liter and a little power. But mating that smaller engine with a continuously variable transmission results in very good fuel economy, high 20s in our testing.

As an urban runabout and occasional ski weekend car, the new Impreza is a good choice. The all-wheel-drive system gave it excellent grip during our review, dealing with slick, rain-washed roads and gravel surfaces.

Cabin tech has never been Subaru's strong suit, but the company is making efforts in that direction. Standard Bluetooth works for hands-free calling and audio streaming to the stereo. iPod integration is also available through a USB port.

But among the varied trim levels for the Impreza, only the very top, Limited models get either navigation or a new enhanced display for the stereo. CNET's review car, although in Premium trim, was stuck with a standard radio display.

Click here to read the full review of the 2012 Subaru Impreza.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.


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