Subaru NZ has gone straight to the heart of the competitive small-medium hatchback market by pricing the new-generation Impreza 2.0 Sport at a hugely attractive $29,990, the same price as the old car.
Managing director Wallis Dumper said “robust discussion” with head office in Japan enabled him to nail down a price he described as “astonishing value” for the 2016 Japan Car of the Year (COTY).
“The stable New Zealand economy and foreign exchange have obviously helped,” he said. “But we wanted to retain our focus on a best value price position and, after some robust discussion, FHI (Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries) in Japan agreed with us.”
Dumper said competitors in the small-medium segment strive for volume by constantly cutting prices. Many have two-wheel drive products with small capacity engines, whereas Impreza comes with Subaru’s signature all-wheel drive platform and a 2.0-litre boxer engine.
It also gets Subaru’s award-winning Eyesight safety system as standard equipment. “Getting an apples-with-apples comparison is really tricky in this segment, so we wanted a price that hopefully avoids all the uncertainty of comparing apples to oranges, or lemons, for that matter,” he said.
Impreza is available worldwide as a hatchback and sedan, but Subaru NZ is bringing in only the five-door 2.0 Sport. Demand for small sedan in NZ is diminishing.
Impreza is the first car to be developed on the company’s new global platform, architecture that will underpin a raft of new models over the next decade.
The 2.0 Sport remains a conservative design but gets a much improved cabin with soft-touching finishing, better infotainment, more room for occupants, better seating and practical storage features.
Its rigid new architecture, stiffer and stronger than before, allied with its mass sitting lower to the ground, revised long-travel suspension and stabiliser bars front and rear, makes it more agile and stable through corners and composed on motorways.
The direct-injection, four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine develops 115kW at 6000rpm and 196Nm at 4000rpm. It’s reasonably quiet and revs smoothly, and the marriage between it and the seven-step continuously variable transmission (CVT) in automatic mode is pretty much seamless, something that Subaru does well throughout its range.
“The new Impreza 2.0 Sport really has achieved a significant shift,” says Dumper. “Its safety, design, styling, road dynamics, infotainment, quality, performance and innovation make it a stand-out small car offering.”
NZ Autocar magazine obviously thinks so too. Editor Kyle Cassidy writes in the current issue that he will confidently name the new Impreza as the winner of the under $30k class in the magazine’s 2017 COTY awards at the end of this year.
The Impreza goes on sale here around the middle of next month, a week or so after the WRX’s 25th birthday at Rod Millen’s Leadfoot Festival on the Coromandel.