Subaru Impreza (Sedan) 1.5R 4Dr Review
The budget Boxer

Story & pictures by Phillip Chan
16 Dec 2008
 

What does a plate of mixed vegetable rice, Arsenal F.C star Cesc Fabregas and a basic Japanese sedan have in common?

Face-off

 

Alright, maybe you’re not a soccer nut or your diet consists of Russian Borsch and potatoes, but surely you know what the basic Japanese sedan is famous for. That’s right, class - the answer to the above question is "value for money".

We’re talking about the 1.5R manual version here, and it’s about to be put to the test.

Now, many Singaporeans have certain stereotypes concerning the various manufacturers. Honda produces powerful performance engines, Toyota produces bulletproof and reliable engines, and Mitsubishi's designs look sporty…you get the drift.

How about Subaru then? Often associated to performance vehicles thanks to the reputation of the WRX variants and the Legacy GT, it has a wider range than one would expect, and caters to the entry-level crowd as well.

Some people say first impressions count, but some say looks grow on you. In this case, I’d have to go with the latter. The basic Impreza does seem a bit sedated and tame as compared to its predecessor, with its flowing grill and headlamps. But the more you gaze steadfastly at it, the more it gets cultured to the eye - and honestly, a black coloured model would not look out of place even at a hotel lobby.

The rear does bear a slight semblance to a certain parallel imported Toyota model, but the usefulness of the boot is not to be questioned. As demonstrated by my trusty camera bag, it has loads of space available for more luggages, maybe a golf club or a guitar even. Opening the boot is a straightforward affair as the lever is located below the driver’s seat on the right hand side. No fancy electronics or buttons, but something simple and fuss free.

Interior-wise, there are no real surprises. The general layout does nothing to change the stereotype that Japanese cars tend to be predictable and stoic, which is actually a good thing. The people who would purchase a bread-and-butter sedan such as this tend to be indifferent to factors such as design, performance and gadgets and view a car as a means of transport and are more concerned with convenience and reliability. The Impreza 1.5 fulfills it all: easy to use air-condition dials, basic sound system, 2 SRS airbags, comfortable seats and good space for the rear passengers.

Now, gripe time. The hand brake is way too close to the driver and I felt myself knocking against it more than once. The gear knob feels a bit tall too, but those are about as far as one can "fault-find" with this surprisingly well built carriage.  



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Engine

Engine Capacity 1498cc
Engine Type Flat 4
Compression Ratio 10.1:1
Bore x Stroke (77.7 x 79)mm
Power 107bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 142Nm @ 3200rpm
Power to Weight 81.7 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 14s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 175 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 5 -speed Manual
Drive Type F4

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4580 x 1740 x 1475) mm
Wheelbase 2620 mm
Turning Circle 5.3 metres
Kerb Weight 1310 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs