Look through any automotive website that mentions the words ‘Subaru and Concept’ and you can almost guarantee the reader feedback. It will be along the lines of, ‘remember the WRX concept and how different the production version looked’ or ‘don’t get your hopes up, the real thing will look rubbish’.
So you can see where this is heading, as Subaru have recently debuted a couple of Impreza concepts in sedan and hatch guise.
Will it be another case of deja vu when the production version appears? Well, going by the latest test mules photographed recently, it appears the gap between fantasy and reality has been narrowed - so let’s take an illustrated closer look at what to expect.
Dynamic and Solid Design:
As with most automotive transitions from concept to production, some of the more noteworthy design aspects have been lost in translation. For example, the Ferrari California-like upper side lines have been dialed back, as has the show-car’s low and wide stance. However, it still exhibits Subaru’s Dynamic and Solid design philosophy; which includes the corporate hexagonal grille, hawk-eye headlights and dynamic surfacing language.
One area where the Impreza has really disappointed previously is with its interior. Previous iterations were known for their uninspiring designs, low-rent materials and general lack of appeal. Whilst we haven’t yet seen the cabin fully uncovered; what we do know is Subaru are making a substantial effort to improve the ambience. Styling will likely remain restrained, but materials should gain a lift in perceived quality.
What Will Power It:
Subaru’s trademark Boxer engine will remain as always. It’s tipped that the 2.0-litre, flat-four with direct injection will offer improved fuel-economy. A plug-in hybrid could also be on the cards for those who want AWD practically, but without the AWD fuel consumption. An outside choice would be the turbocharged 1.6-litre, direct injection unit found in the ‘not-for-USA’ Levorg Wagon. If this were offered, it would serve as a premium alternative to the larger 2.0-litre flat four.
Fuji Heavy Industries will have some pretty strong opponents to battle against in the compact car sector. New entrants like Chevrolet’s Cruze, Honda’s redesigned Civic and Hyundai’s new Elantra are tough acts to beat; however the Subaru has a niche card up its sleeve - AWD and Boxer engines are standard.
Notwithstanding its traditional engineering assets, the upcoming Impreza will also see a shift to an new global modular platform, underpinning a range of new Subaru’s from 2016 onwards.
Expect the all-new Impreza to officially emerge early next year as a 2017 model, with sedan, hatch and XV variants. Unfortunately, for WRX and WRX STI fans, the wait will be a little longer.
Share your thoughts on next Impreza in the discussion area below.
By Josh Byrnes
Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes