Subaru’s 2012 Impreza to Show in New York

2012 Subaru Impreza

We talk a lot about design on this blog, and most of us have strong opinions on it. But the new Impreza, to debut at the New York Auto Show later this month, is one of those cars that makes no real design statement.

It borrows heavily from the Legacy and is the epitome of corporate committee styling: not bad, but surely not exciting. Still, this car is never going to appeal to masses of people—the Camry crowd, for instance. See what the Impreza could have been after the break.

Subaru buyers want reliability, all-wheel drive and great fuel economy. All the company is saying about this car is that it will achieve 36 mpg, have AWD, and come in 4- and 5-door body styles.

Subaru Impreza conceptNow, why couldn’t they have built this really sharp Impreza concept (right) that showed in Los Angeles last year? Why do such companies always take the path of least resistance?

We know that Subaru can (and does) make high-performing cars like the WRX STi and the possibly forthcoming FT-86/Boxer (which evoked some skepticism from our tgriffith). Latest news on that car and some details are here.

The new Impreza will be the company’s bread-and-butter car, and one hopes it will improve on the flaws of the older model—namely, a weak 4-speed, cheesy interior and dowdy styling. The 2011 version was rated 20 out of 33 affordable small cars by U.S. News. We like its “tenacious traction” but steer the performance crowd to the WRX trims, which unfortunately cost a lot more.

Yours truly is certainly no boy racer (the very concept is hilarious), and I never have liked the way Subaru dolls up its cars with scoops, spoilers, and other doodads. But there’s no denying that the WRX STi is fast and sticky around the bends. Prices start around $35,000; the Impreza sedan is about half that.

Do you think Subaru’s 2012 Impreza is a step in the right direction? How will it fare against the competition?

—jgoods

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