Vehicle Type: Sedan or five-door hatch

History / Description: When it comes to all-season confidence, proven safety, a reputation for reliability, and some of the best resale values in the industry, the Subaru Impreza is tough to beat. Choice and selection are key aspects of the used Impreza shopping experience, with two body styles, two transmissions, and no fewer than eight mainstream model trim-grades available throughout its life. Also available were the sporty WRX and high-performance WRX STI variants, which have been reviewed separately.

This generation of Impreza came with the latest driver assist systems, including advanced anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, brake force distribution and traction control. Look for advanced airbags, pre-tensioner-equipped seatbelts and automatic lights across the entire model line too. The Impreza is an IIHS Top Safety Pick winner, and later models in this generation were available equipped with the award-winning EyeSight safety system, which used a camera system to detect hazards up the road.

Available feature content included 17-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector, upgraded gauges, automatic climate control, aerodynamic side ground effects, front fog lights and a rear spoiler. A Vehicle Dynamics Control monitor can be fitted to show drivers what the Impreza’s standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is up to in real time. Xenon lighting, satellite radio and leather seating were also available.

Engines / Trims: A new boxer four-cylinder engine was specified for this generation Impreza. The 2.0L flat-four generated 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. Subaru’s Dual Active Valve Control System (Dual AVCS) controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves to optimize performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions. Look for CVT or five-speed manual transmissions, depending on the model you’re considering.  All units shipped with all-wheel Drive, and a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback were available, as were Touring, Sport or Limited packages.

What Owners Like: Handling and driving dynamics, all-season traction, and flexibility, are all highly rated by many in the Subaru Impreza owner community. Many owners say they enjoy a fun-to-drive car that’s stylish, surprisingly roomy and nicely balanced. Ride comfort and overall value complete the list of common owner-stated positives. A scan of your correspondent’s notes from a test drive of a 2015 unit also indicate a powerful and effective xenon lighting system, and fantastic rough-road ride quality.

What Owners Dislike: A low-budget and plasticky interior feel, road noise and a less-than-adequate factory stereo system are among the most common complaints. Your writer also griped about a noisy engine that could have used a touch more power, awkward-to-use seat-heater switches, and an EyeSight camera system that won’t work unless the windshield is totally defrosted, which takes a while when it’s 20 below.

Here are some Subaru Impreza Owner Reviews. Note that this links to a page covering all years of Subaru Impreza, not just the 2012-2016 model featured in this used review.

The Test Drive: First up? Be aware that certain Impreza models (and other Subaru models) from this generation, may be affected by a well-documented and lawsuit-initiating issue with oil consumption. Typical story here: numerous owners take to the internet, ticked off that their Impreza is rapidly burning engine oil. A class-action lawsuit is launched against Subaru, and eventually, as reported in this story, Subaru makes good by reimbursing owners for out-of-pocket costs for oil, engine repair, and more. The warranty on affected units was extended, too. The cause? Faulty piston rings, apparently.

New Generation: 2017 Subaru Impreza Preview

What you’ve got to know: first, note that the oil consumption problem didn’t affect all models. Second, talk to a service manager at your local Subaru dealership about whether or not the model you’re considering may be affected. You’ll need the VIN number to check. Third? Note that from 2014 and on, the issue appears to have been resolved in production. And finally, and importantly, check your oil weekly, and report any oil-level issues you detect to your local Subaru service centre immediately, confirming that they’re documented, especially if the model is still under warranty.

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