Subaru Impreza coming back to the UK – Just don’t get too excited

Contain yourselves, Subaru UK is bringing the Impreza name back to these shores. But before you get too carried away, that Impreza name is only applied to a single 1.6 RC hatchback model now.

2014 Subaru Impreza RC 001

It’s not much of a looker.

This fourth-generation Impreza has actually been on sale in Japan, the USA and quite a lot of other places, since late 2011. However, only now has Subaru UK made the decision to bring it over here.

2014 Subaru Impreza RC 002

Rear-end is slightly better, if somewhat anonymous

In Great Britain we’ll only be getting one specification of Impreza, and it’s notgoing to set your underpants on fire. Making use of a petrol 1.6 litre flat-four engine, which the press release is at pains to point out as being non-turbocharged, you’re offered just 112 bhp and 111 lb-ft of torque. A ‘old skool’ Impreza with 276 bhp this is not. As a result, performance is fairly mundane with 0-62 mph in 12.3 seconds and a top speed of 114 mph. This wouldn’t be so bad, were it not for the fact that fuel economy is hardly astounding, with an official EU combined figure of 44.1 mpg whilst  CO2 emissions are an uncompetitive 147g/km.

Starting at £17,495 for the five-speed manual, or a costly £18,995 for the CVT Lineartronic automatic, the Impreza places itself right in the firing line of mainstream competitors such as the Ford Focus, SEAT Leon and even lower-spec Volkswagen Golf models. By way of comparison, for £17,430 you could get yourself behind the wheel of a 1.2 TSI VW Golf that’s both quicker and more economical on fuel, and leaves a little cash left over for winter tyres to negate the Impreza’s key selling point; permanent AWD.

At one point the United Kingdom was one of the biggest markets for hot Imprezas. But then they took away the saloon, leaving performance fans with just the unloved third-generation, hatchback only, WRX. Over time the WRX STI name was reintroduced, latterly as a distinctly separate model from the Impreza, but by then the damage was done.

The Impreza, in happier times.

The Impreza, in happier times.

Not all hope is lost though. In May we will at least get the return of the WRX STI nameplate applied to the, thankfully, booted saloon rump of this car pictured below.

2014 Subaru WRX STI 001

With 305 bhp and 290 lb-ft of torque, the 2.5 litre turbo flat-four engine has the firepower to stick with its predecessors.  Refreshingly, it uses a six-speed manual gearbox, rather than a ‘flappy-paddle’ affair, and has been tested at the Nürburgring to be the ‘pinnacle of Subaru AWD sports performance’ which is a bold claim. We’ve no more details other than a price, at £28,995, so we’ll have to wait and see what exactly arrives come May. In the meantime, just perhaps don’t buy an Impreza 1.6 RC if you’re wanting all out fun.

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