Subaru Impreza

The bling spoiler has been binned, the flashy alloys have gone - the Subaru Impreza is returning to its roots!

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

While the subtle looks will score with some drivers, there's no escaping the fact that the Impreza is getting old. Despite the interior upgrades, the car can't match its rivals' luxury. Yet it re-mains incredibly exciting to drive - and in that respect is still without peer.

Subaru has built a special-edition model called the Spec D - that's D for discreet. Inside, black leather replaces the blue suede seat covers, the blue carpet has also been ditched in favour of black and there's extra sound deadening. On the outside, the grey metallic paint is classy, and while the current Impreza will never be handsome, it no longer draws as much attention to itself.

Sadly, the cabin is a disappointment. The stereo has been upgraded, but it looks and behaves like an aftermarket unit, and while an Apple iPod adaptor is included, this takes the form of a loose wire in the dash with a connector that plugs into your player. Similarly, the Smartnav satellite navigation - bolted on as an afterthought - is too tacky for a car with a price that puts it in competition with VWs and BMWs.

The Spec D uses the same 2.5-litre turbo engine as the WRX STi, so there's plenty of urge higher in the rev range, although the lack of low-down grunt means the driving experience is far from relaxing. What's more, the racing-style Bridgestone tyres generate too much road noise and make the ride too hard. But if you're wanting entertainment, this Impreza will still provide it, and the six-speed manual box is a delight, with a beautifully positive shift and short gate.

Sadly, the driving dynamics are let down by overly light steering. Yet even so, the newcomer is sure to be a hit with those who don't want their car to shout about its performance.

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New Bowler Defender Challenge review
Bowler Defender Challenge - front
Land Rover Defender

New Bowler Defender Challenge review

The new Defender Challenge is the first Bowler under JLR ownership, and it’s a cracker
28 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021