In-depth reviews

Subaru Impreza review - Interior, design and technology

The Impreza’s interior lacks a wow factor but is built to last, while there’s a generous level of standard equipment

Although this fifth-generation Impreza looks more stylish than its drab and dowdy predecessor, the styling is a tad generic, falling somewhere between a Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308 and Ford Focus.

It’s an inoffensive look, but thanks to its niche position within the five-door hatchback segment, some exclusivity is guaranteed. Colour options are limited, with only six hues to choose from, although automatic LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels and a roof spoiler are standard across the range.

On the inside, the Impreza is leagues ahead of Subaru models of old, with a higher quality finish and a nicer range of materials than before. European rivals remain just ahead, but there’s an overriding feeling that the cabin is built to last and designed to cope with the demands of a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Everything feels reassuringly solid, while the conventional layout is a breath of fresh air in an industry where form can often overrule function. Thanks to the six-way adjustable driver’s seat, finding a comfortable driving position isn’t a problem, while heated seats are fitted as standard.

Indeed, Subaru has adopted a ‘kitchen sink’ approach to equipment, fitting the Impreza with just about everything as standard. This includes dual-zone climate control, steering wheel controls, a reversing camera and cruise control, with the only difference between the 1.6 and 2.0 models being the addition of paddle-shifters on the larger engined model.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

It’s a shame, then, that Subaru has chosen to omit sat-nav from the list of equipment. The company argues that many drivers would prefer to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for navigation. And while this might be true, it would have been better to give customers a choice.

The eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system looks the part, but is too laggy and unresponsive to match the best units on the market. At least the Impreza offers DAB radio, Bluetooth and two USB ports.

There’s also an additional high-mounted display that shows additional driving information, climate control settings, the outside temperature and a clock.

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