- At home on the rally track? Not only: In this country, Subaru stands above all for practical, robust everyday cars.
- The boxer goes to the next round
- Traditional and modern
- Over the average
- First step
At home on the rally track? Not only: In this country, Subaru stands above all for practical, robust everyday cars.
The boxer goes to the next round
Subaru renewed the Impreza – and donated it a hybrid drive. An essential step for the future of the brand.
Philip Aeberli 02/19/2020, 10:42 a.m
Almost everywhere in the world Subaru is associated with fast, robust and above all successful 4×4 cars for the rally tracks.
In this country, Subaru does not only stand for rallying, but above all for practical, robust everyday cars that are particularly popular in mountain regions. And that’s no coincidence: there’s almost no way around Subaru, especially where there’s sometimes hill and dale or snow and ice. Durable engines, permanent four-wheel drive with symmetrical power distribution and good space gave the Japanese a large and loyal fan base. So it hardly bothers that the boxer engine, another Subaru feature, tends to treat itself to more fuel than others.
The followers of the brand would probably not be bothered by that; it is much more important for them that the Subaru retains the permanent four-wheel drive and retains its legendary robustness; more than 96% of the Subarus registered in the last 10 years are still on the road today!
But that’s exactly where the big sticking point for the traditional Japanese brand lies: on the one hand, you can’t and don’t want to scare away the loyal regular customers, on the other hand, like all other manufacturers, you have to come to terms with the new C02 guidelines.
Traditional and modern
Even with the new edition of the Impreza, Subaru remains true to itself as much as possible. The compact with 4×4 has been available in Switzerland since 1993 and has sold around 46,000 since then. Although the SUV models Forester and XV are now selling significantly better, the Impreza remains a fixture in the Subaru program. And it should continue to be so. That’s why the fifth generation, which has been built since 2017, is now getting a facelift. This gives the Japanese five-door a visual refreshment, which can be seen in the subtly revised add-on parts, new wheels and new LED daytime running lights. Above all, there is a big innovation under the hood. “We remain true to the boxer engine and permanent all-wheel drive. But we also want to bring to Europe what it takes to stay in Europe,” said David Dello Stritto, Subaru’s European PR Manager.
In concrete terms, this means that the hybrid drive known as the “e-Boxer“, which is already used in the Forester and XV models, is now also being used in the Impreza. It will even be the only engine variant for Switzerland. The four-cylinder petrol engine draws 150 hp from a displacement of two liters; In addition, an electric motor, housed in the housing of the continuously variable automatic, contributes 16.7 hp. Of course, this does not turn the Impreza into a racing machine for the rally track. However, in the first test drives on ice and snow in Finland, it scored points with very safe and predictable handling, strong traction and problem-free handling. The continuously variable automatic makes the engine howl unattractively at full acceleration, but it works well in combination with the new hybrid module. The electric motor switches on unobtrusively and makes the drive appear more alert, spontaneous and powerful. When braking, coasting or when driving at a constant speed, the petrol engine can switch off completely; up to 1.6 kilometers can be covered purely electrically. Subaru cannot yet provide precise fuel consumption figures for the hybrid Impreza, but a fuel saving of around 10% should be expected. That would mean: almost 7 l/100 km and around 150 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
Over the average
This brings the Impreza closer to the required fleet average of 95 g/km, which is required for 2020, but is still well above the target value; although it is anything but an unreasonable car. Offering individual models with above-average CO2 emissions is not a problem in itself, as long as you can compensate for this with particularly economical models. Unfortunately, Subaru still lacks these completely. Penalties and thus price increases for customers seem inevitable. With the revised Impreza this is already noticeable. It starts in May at 34150 francs. 8475 francs more than before. However, the Impreza now comes with a significantly more powerful drive (previously 1.6 liters, 114 hp) and more modern technology.
“We’re not the fastest on the market when it comes to electrified models,” admits Dello Stritto. But Subaru wants to catch up. By 2030, 40% of all Subarus sold globally should be electrified; So equipped with hybrid technology, or even completely electric. By 2025 at the latest, the brand’s first purely electric model, which is based on a platform developed with Toyota, should be expected. This is the only way Subaru will be able to continue to stick to the boxer engine.
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