impreza impresses motorists on road

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

When Subaru launched the new Impreza range a few months back, die-hard fans of the brand cried foul.

They claimed the designers had sold out the Subaru dream by producing a vehicle more suitable for mom's dropping off kids at afternoon karate practice than taking on the German manufacturers in a Saturday night dice.

Well I can't really comment on that because I've never driven the powerful Impreza STI, nor the WRX, but what I can say is that the Impreza 2,0R Road Rave I had on test is certainly a great car to get around in.

Though not as flashy as some of its siblings, the Subaru badge obviously carries a lot of clout, with envious glances the order of the day.

Stop at a robot and in no time a youngster - normally driving a Golf and who looks like he should still be in Grade 11 - is challenging you to a dice.

The Impreza has plenty of oomph but it is not as quick out of the starting blocks as I expected.

It has a claimed top speed of 193kmh and turns out an acceptable 110kW.

Our test car was a lovely blue with colour-coded handles, giving it an up-market finish.

The five-speed gearbox was responsive and gear changes as smooth as a hot knife through butter.

The usual range of features are standard - MP3, 6-CD shuttle, ABS brakes and so on.

Renowned for their safety features, Subaru's Impreza is no different. Dual front, side and curtain airbags come standard as well.

Visibility within the vehicle is good and unlike some hatches, there is no blind spot in the rear corners.

On the downside though, you will have to fork out extra cash for air conditioning in some of the models.

A multi-functional steering wheel houses controls for the sound system plus cruise-control.

The cloth seats were comfortable with the rear seats seating two adults comfortably and three at a slight push.

So, who will buy the Impreza? Not your everyday "boy-racer", but a motorist who appreciates a car that has a solid reputation and who is looking outside of the box when it comes to everyday commuting.

Impreza is priced from R169000 for the 1,5R to R299000 for the 2,5 WRX.

It comes with a 3-year/100000 km warranty and a 3-year maintenance plan.