Subaru Impreza hatchback (2014-2017)
"The Subaru Impreza is in a niche of its own – but high running costs and an uninspiring drive count against it"
- Plenty of standard equipment
- Four-wheel-drive grip
- Five-year warranty
- No diesel engine
- Cheap-feeling interior
- Relatively high running costs
The Subaru Impreza is a niche alternative to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. However, thanks to the inclusion of standard four-wheel drive, it also rivals cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Toyota RAV4. Don’t expect any rough and tough off-roading though – the normal-height suspension restricts it to the tarmac or perhaps the odd not-too-muddy field, so you won’t go taking this family hatchback too far off the beaten track.
Don’t be fooled by the Impreza name, either. While models from the nineties and early 2000s conjure images of superb performance and fire-spitting rally cars, this Impreza couldn't be more different. Although there's plenty of grip, the Impreza hatchback is uninspiring to drive and it feels very slow – keeping up with fast-moving traffic on motorways and A-roads is best left to its rivals.
There’s only one engine – a 1.6-litre petrol – but there's a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. There's only one trim level too, the RC. That is at least relatively well equipped, with electric windows, a Bluetooth phone connection, automatic rain-sensing wipers and alloy wheels. A leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated seats, dual-zone climate control and cruise control are also included as standard, but you’ll need to pay extra for leather seats and sat nav.