2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited Review
The Subaru brand is known for its multi-purpose all-wheel-drive vehicles, but the small Japanese automaker is making headlines with other features in the new 2015 Impreza like new safety features, upgraded infotainment, new exterior styling and a quieter cabin. This week we’ll be test driving the 2015 Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited in the perfect environment for the compact hatch, the snowy mountains of Colorado.
What's New for 2015?
The 2015 Subaru Impreza gets a rearview camera, a 6.2-inch touchscreen interface with upgraded infotainment features as standard equipment. An advanced safety package is now available on Limited and Sport Limited. All Impreza trims receive new front styling and extra sound-deadening materials.
2.0i Sport Limited options and features
This 2015 Subaru 2.0i Sport Limited tester ($23,295) came with the Option Package 23 ($2,795) that included a power moonroof, keyless access w/pushbutton start navigation and EyeSight safety system (that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking and lane departure and lane-sway warning). Total MSRP including destination, $26,885.
Impreza Sport Limited hatchback comes standard with many features like a rear spoiler, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, USB/iPod integration, HD radio, six-speaker sound system, an auxiliary audio input and smartphone integration with Aha, Pandora and iHeartRadio.
Sport Limited also gets a cargo cover, six-speaker sound system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Other features include automatic headlights, automatic climate control, leather seats, a rear center armrest and a 7-inch touchscreen interface with swipe/scroll capability, satellite radio, voice controls, dual USB ports and text-to-voice messaging functionality.
Outside it comes with roof rails, foglights, body-color rocker panel extensions and a special silver-accented front grille. Other features like 17-inch wheels with a darker "gunmetal gray" finish and chrome exterior trim is also included. The optional All-Weather package comes standard on Sport Limited and adds heated mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer and heated front seats.
Interior design and features
Stepping inside the Impreza Sport Limited reveals a spacious interior that feels bigger than the compact car’s size would suggest. It’s roomy and clean and there are plenty of soft-touch materials on the dash and door sills and the fit and finish is good for this segment. The interior is conservative, but what do you expect for this price point?
The leather-covered front seats are comfortable and they offered enough support as we drove for extended times this week. Taller drivers will feel at home in the Impreza as there is above average head-and legroom. With the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel it’s easy for anyone to find the perfect driving position. The new rearview camera is a welcome addition to the compact car and came in handy when a neighbor walking her dog was directly behind me when backing out of the driveway this week.
In many compacts, the back seat is a place to avoid. In the Impreza, it features one of the roomiest in the segment. The hatchback is ideal for singles who will be taking friends up the mountain to go skiing, or young families loading up the kids to go to the soccer game. The 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks make the Impreza hatchback a great vehicle for hauling cargo. Cargo space measures 22.5 cubic feet in the hatchback's trunk. Folding the hatchback's rear seatbacks down opens up 52.4 cubic feet of cargo-carrying ability. That’s enough to carry all your camping and biking gear on the weekends. The only complaint we had with the cabin is the Impreza's audio system delivered substandard sound quality for this class.
Engine and fuel mileage specs
The 2015 Subaru Impreza is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) coupled with Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system that apportions more power to the front wheels and transfers power to the rear when more traction is needed. EPA estimated fuel economy when equipped with the CVT, is 31 mpg combined, 27/36 city/highway. These are competitive numbers for the class, and we didn’t see these types of numbers, but we were pushing the compact hatch hard all week at altitude.
Any Subaru is fun to drive because the horizontally opposed boxer engine sits low in the chassis and gives the vehicle a low center of gravity. Impreza sits lower to the ground than other models in the Subaru lineup and offers the kind of sporty driving dynamics that you don’t find in many compacts. Like the Subaru BRZ, Impreza makes the most of the naturally aspirated four-cylinder’s potential and had enough power going up I-70 at altitude to pass slower cars on the steepest points. The CVT automatic transmission is eager to respond to inputs and we were impressed with its lack of whining when you mash the pedal down to get it moving. On the open road, we could tell that Subaru added more sound-deadening insulation as the compact car was quieter at highway speeds.
In the tight mountain corners west of Denver, this Impreza hatchback responded well in the curves with very little body lean. It will handle more aggressive driving maneuvers with secure handling, precise steering and confident braking. On the dirt roads leading to my house, Impreza’s suspension offered a smooth ride over the bumps and the compact car feels solid and substantial. This is likely due to Subaru’s past involvement in motorsports with the performance Impreza WRX.
This week we encountered a foot of fresh powder in the mountains west of Denver and the Impreza handled the snow with ease. There was no driver involvement needed when we met with the ice and snowy conditions. The all-wheel-drive system kicks in the rear wheels when it’s needed and we had no issues navigating the slick roads and highways this week. The AWD system gives the driver a feeling of confidence and security in all driving conditions.
Safety is a core value for the Subaru brand and Impreza comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and whiplash-reducing front head restraints. This Sport Limited tester came with the optional EyeSight safety system that included adaptive cruise control, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and lane departure warning. We experienced the lane departure warning and luckily we didn’t need the forward collision with auto braking.
All Subarus, including this Impreza, received five out of five stars in government tests for overall crash protection, with four stars for total frontal-impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded Impreza its highest rating in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Impreza's seat/head restraint design also received the highest IIHS rating for whiplash protection in rear collisions.
The 2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited excels at offering all-weather capability and sporty driving dynamics. With its rear hatch, the Impreza Sport offers buyers with an active lifestyle plenty of extra utility and cargo carrying ability for weekend excursions. Just strap on the snowboard or mountain bikes to the roof rack and you’re ready to haul up the mountain. Its cabin is spacious and comfortable and the rear seat is among the roomiest in the segment. The Impreza hatchback is ideal for urban singles or young families looking for a capable compact commuter or weekend warrior.