2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring Road Test Review

By : Trevor Hofmann
  Subaru’s Impreza is hardly the newest kid on the compact block, but it’s still very competitive thanks to a new standard infotainment system along with a design that’s managed to stay fresh looking. Today on CarCostCanada we review a 5-door model that comes standard with a 148-hp four, AWD, Bluetooth, voice activation, a 6.2-inch colour touchscreen, a rearview camera, satellite radio, A/C and more, while just-above-base Touring trim adds suspension upgrades, auto headlights, 16-inch alloys, heated seats, etc. Keep reading for all the details.......

Subaru holds a unique position within the car industry. It has maintained steadfast core values centered on reliability, practicality,
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
safety, and environmental leadership on one hand and extreme performance on the other; it makes its trademark Symmetrical all-wheel drive system standard on almost all of its models; and it's stayed 100 percent loyal to a horizontally opposed "boxer" engine design only otherwise used by Porsche (and occasionally Ferrari) that reduces a vehicle's centre of gravity to improve handling; but strangest of all Subaru seems to limit the availability of its vehicles so that resale values remain incredibly high.

Most Subaru dealers I've spoken with say they could sell twice as many vehicles if they could get their hands on them, and on top of this most Subaru owners hold onto their cars longer than average, all contributing to strong residual values, but this also makes for niche like sales volumes.

2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
is especially true in Canada where, despite more than doubling its sales since 2009 and almost tripling them since 2005, Subaru only ranked 14th out of 20 mainstream "volume" brands with just 46,609 total unit sales last year, which was 18,341 fewer brand-wide sales than Honda's Civic line alone. Tell that to Subaru Impreza buyers and they'll smile, happy they've purchased something you won't see on every corner and more importantly a car that ideally suits their personal image and lifestyle. If you ask me, I think a lot of consumers are missing out.

Just the same Subaru has been using its sales growth and the resultant economies of scale to its advantage, by creating cars that are more premium in refinement and features yet priced closer to the volume sellers. Take the Impreza, redesigned for its fourth-generation in 2011 and only receiving minor revisions since, but still looking good thanks to an inspired original design featuring muscular
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
yet classy four-door sedan and five-door hatchback profiles, a bold hexagonal grille and even more eye-catching lower front fascia, attractive chrome detailing from front to back, and more, while the interior gets a premium-grade soft touch dash top, the same pliable synthetic for the door uppers in front and the rear (the latter very rare), sharp looking metallic trim on the steering wheel spokes, instrument panel, centre stack, lower console, and door panels, plus some impressively upscale electronic interfaces, and the 2.0i 5-door Touring model I'm describing was merely just above base at $22,595 plus freight and dealer fees with a five-speed manual or $23,895 with one of the industry's best continuously variable automatics (CVT), with paddle shifters no less.

Now that I've mentioned the word "standard" I'd better let you know what comes with
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
the $19,995 entry-level sedan and $20,895 base 5-door, starting with a 16-valve, DOHC, 2.0-litre four-cylinder with active valve control that's capable of 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, AWD, a fully independent suspension, auto-off multi-reflector halogen headlamps, body-colour mirror caps and door handles, a rooftop spoiler, remote entry, power-adjustable mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, a tilt and telescopic steering column, illuminated steering wheel controls, a 3.5-inch colour multi-information display, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, voice activation, a 6.2-inch high-resolution colour touchscreen infotainment display, a rearview camera, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with aux, USB and iPod integration plus satellite radio, filtered air conditioning, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, cargo tie-down hooks, a hill holder, all the usual active and passive safety features including an airbag for the driver's knees, and much more.

2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
base infotainment system is very good, incidentally, with access to news, food, weather, music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other multimedia content via its own apps or Aha and Pandora, plus there's a "Settings" section for personalization and tweaking the car's various functions, while the audio interface incorporates a built-in automated graphic equalizer that lets you quickly switch from bass- and treble-centric settings to a flat sound that's better for talk radio.

Touring trim takes things further upscale with re-bound front springs, a rear stabilizer bar, full auto on/off headlights, 16-inch alloys on 205/55R16 Yokohama tires, a windshield wiper de-icer, welcome lighting, chrome inner door handles, two-way heatable front seats, two additional stereo speakers, a rear centre armrest with cupholders, a retractable cargo cover, and more.

2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
than body styles (the 5-door is $900 more) and the CVT ($1,300) the only options available with the Touring package are six no cost exterior paint colours and the choice of black or ivory cloth upholstery. That's it, but of course you can opt for Sport or Limited packages too.

Without going into too much detail the $23,895 Sport adds 17-inch alloys on 205/50R17 tires, fog lamps, aero ground effects, a larger rooftop spoiler, a larger more sophisticated 4.3-inch colour multi-function display, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, aluminum pedals, automatic climate control, a powered glass sunroof, etcetera, while $26,995 top-line Limited trim includes unique 17-inch alloys, HID headlamps with auto-leveling, LED side mirror turn signals, chromed door handles, dual-zone auto
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
HVAC, a larger 7.0-inch infotainment system with a capacitive touchscreen, navigation, SMS text messaging, SiriusXM Traffic, Travel Link and advanced audio services, leather upholstery, and more.

Sport and Limited models can also be upgraded with a $2,500 Technology package that makes the CVT standard before adding steering responsive fog lamps, NVH reducing liquid-filled rubber engine mounts, proximity access with pushbutton ignition, a shifter boot, and most importantly Subaru's EyeSight technologies that include adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure warning, lane sway warning, and lead vehicle start alert, the EyeSight gear earning the Impreza an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating over and above the five-star
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
NHTSA crash test rating all Impreza trims achieve. A fully loaded 5-door Limited with the Technology package will set you back $30,395 plus freight and fees.

Now that we're talking practicalities, the Impreza's emissions are very clean evidenced by Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) status, just another reason its followers are so loyal, while the fuel economy is also good at 9.5 L/100km city and 7.0 highway with the manual or 8.5 city and 6.4 highway with the CVT.

Subaru is also the highest rated volume brand on Consumer Report's coveted 2016 report card on reliability; the only brand to beat it was Audi. It didn't fare so well on J.D. Power's latest 2016 Initial Quality Study (IQS) and Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), however, placing below average in the former albeit still
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
ahead of Honda, Mazda and others, and still below average in the latter yet better than Volkswagen, Nissan, Ford, and the list goes on.
As far as compact models go, the Impreza does a nice balancing act between sport and comfort. As most will know this little car is the basis for both the rally-bred WRX road rocket and the rugged little Crosstrek soft-roader, so the seats are inherently comfortable as well as amply supportive, my tester's featuring nice woven black cloth bolsters with soft velour inserts, and while the steering wheel is merely polyurethane its design looks sporty and feels comfortable, plus the shift paddles fall naturally to fingertips.

The CVT features shift points to feel more like a conventional automatic, and it does
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
a pretty convincing job, while I found the paddles best for downshifting to hold a given gear during aggressive cornering, a situation the Impreza takes to naturally thanks to a rigid body shell, a wonderfully sorted suspension and reasonably sized wheels and tires. The Touring's 16s are also a bit more comforting over rough road surfaces than the 17s, not to mention cheaper to replace or buy snows for when needed, whereas the Impreza Touring's ride quality is generally very compliant no matter the size of wheels chosen. Braking is also very strong.

Of course a comforting ride matters when passengers are on board, as does a lot of room to stretch out. Nobody is likely to complain about front seat spaciousness in the Impreza, while I had plenty of leg and foot room in back too. I always position the front seat for my own five-foot-eight frame as a reference, and then climb in back to see how I fit in. Granted I'm not a large person, but I had plenty of
2016 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Touring
Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
room to spare in all directions, while I was especially impressed with the rear seats' lower back support.

Those seatbacks fold 60/40 for a large, flat loading floor, the process expanding a 637-litre (22.5 cubic-foot) cargo hold to a maximum of 1,486 litres (52.5 cubic feet). A well-made aluminum cross-member houses a retractable cargo cover, and while it was stiffly held into place and therefore a bit difficult to remove, it didn't rattle around either.

That last point sort of sums up the entire Impreza, actually. Everything about Subaru's compact feels above average. From its solid body structure, robust powertrain, go anywhere AWD, great handling, comfortable ride, impressively finished interior, top-tier electronics, and overall usability, plus its excellent predicted reliability and resale value, it's a car that's truly worth its asking price. I can't say that for everything on today's market. No wonder the Impreza has some of the best customer loyalty in its class.

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