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30 Minute Review: Subaru Impreza

|Includes: Toyota Motor Corporation (TM)

This article was first published on or about May 26, 2017, on my Seeking Alpha Marketplace site, where subscribers get early access to many of my articles. You can view these articles here: https://seekingalpha.com/author/anton-wahlman/premium-articles

The Subaru Impreza is all-new for the 2017 model year. Production started in Indiana in 2016, as the Impreza was previously manufactured for U.S. consumption in Japan.

The 2017 Impreza marks the beginning of Subaru's all-new modular platform. This is akin to what Volkswagen did with the MQB, which underpins so many vehicles from the VW Golf to the VW Atlas and the Audi A3.

It's hard to recognize the all-new Impreza based on the exterior. It's as bland as always.

However, it's on the interior where all the improvements have arrived. And what improvements they are! These are significant changes.

Subaru shares many of Toyota's ease-of-use sensibilities, without its occasional quirks. It's almost as if Subaru has "cleaned up" those occasional Toyota mistakes. Keep in mind that Toyota owns 16.5% of Subaru, by the way.

For starters, the seating position is now better than in any other Subaru. There is improved space around the left foot, as well as longer distance between the pedals and the steering wheel. For many people with long legs (although not necessarily long arms), that's significant.

In other words, basically the ergonomics are just about perfect.

Equally important, the infotainment system now has Android (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Auto and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CarPlay. Say no more! Here is another item that Toyota should have delivered two years ago already. Hurry up!

One interesting detail: While I usually hate carbon fiber, because it seems either ugly or pointless, at least the Impreza has some good-looking (and good-feeling) carbon fiber. That was a major surprise.

How does it drive? Well, I have never been impressed by Subaru's engines and this one did not stand out in a positive way either. I would need more time with the car, but basically it seemed average at best.

All in all, the all-new Subaru Impreza is the best Subaru I have driven, by the widest of margins. It's the first one I would consider buying. The interior is simply excellent.

I look forward to seeing the platform and details of this (first) new Subaru that I really like a lot, spread to other members of the Subaru model family. In particular, I look forward to the 3-row SUV that is a mere months away from its full introduction.

Disclosure: I am/we are long GM, F, GOOGL.

Additional disclosure: At the time of submitting this article for publication, the author was long GOOGL, GM and F. However, positions can change at any time. The author regularly attends new vehicle launches, press conferences and equivalent, hosted by most major automakers. Subaru provided the car for review.