The Subaru Impreza has returned for a sixth generation to rival the Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic with a purposeful new look and a warmed-up RS range-topper.
Making its global debut at this year’s LA motor show, the reborn Impreza brings significant technological and dynamic improvements over its predecessor – and drops the long-running sedan variant. Essentially a lower-slung alternative to the closely related Subaru Crosstrek crossover, it has been revealed exactly 30 years after the first Impreza took to the Los Angeles show stage, as what Subaru calls the first mass-produced compact car with all-wheel drive.
It will land in US dealerships in early 2023 and has been confirmed for Australia, although local launch timing is yet to be announced.
The redesigned Mk6 Impreza is a more dynamically focused proposition than its forebear, based around the latest version of Subaru’s Global Platform, which is claimed to boost stiffness by 10 per cent and reduce weight for an “improved dynamic performance, smoother ride and quieter cabin”.
True to form, it comes exclusively with two driven axles, with revisions to the company’s trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system claiming to improve response time and cornering agility. Active torque vectoring is a standard feature.
Subaru also highlights a standard-fit dual-pinion steering rack which has been lifted from the rally-honed WRX to boost steering feel.
Entry-level variants use a 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine with 113kW and 197Nm, while a new Impreza RS caps the line-up with a 2.5-litre boxer producing 136kW and 241Nm.
All motors send their reserves to the wheels through a CVT gearbox, but the RS and mid-rung Sport variants are equipped with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel for manual shifting.
The new Impreza RS revives a badge that first appeared in 1998 as a precursor to the full-fat WRX. It is marked out with bespoke badging, grey 18-inch alloy wheels, black trim elements and LED fog lights. Inside, its sporty focus is highlighted by carbon-effect accents, red seat bolsters and rally-style aluminium pedals.