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Hands On With the 2012 Subaru Impreza Premium PZEV

2012 Subaru Impreza Premium PZEV (Aaron photo)

In brief: The 2012 Subaru Impreza Premium PZEV is a compact AWD car that will suit many new families.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: 2012 Impreza Premium PZEV
Manufacturer: Subaru

The word

2012 Subaru Impreza Premium PZEV, photo by author

The Impreza Premium is a solid entry into the compact segment. It begins retail at around $19,000, about the price point most compacts of this type do, but brings the quality and all-wheel-drive (AWD) Subaru is known for. As tested, with the premium All-Weather Package (heated front seats, heated side mirrors, windshield de-icer), alloy wheels, navigation system, and power moon roof, this car retails at $23,914 - still a respectable price point for so many great options.

The car is capable of 36mpg on the highway and 27mpg in the city, which came through on our test drive at about 30mpg average for a week's driving.

The PZEV means Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle which is a designation recognized in California and a few other states. It means the car is certified to be a Super-Ultra Low Emissions with below-requirement emissions of carbon and nitrogen (CO2 and NOx) for its class. States that recognize PZEV certification often have lower taxes or rebates for purchase of these cars.

The interior of the Impreza is comfortable, though small (it is a compact). The back seat seats two comfortably and three if required and easily fits two child safety seats. The included tether anchors are a nice touch. The seats fold down nearly flat to allow for full trunk access for extra cargo.

The trunk on this car is deceptive - it looks very small from the outside, but once opened, it's revealed to be huge. It will easily accommodate a bicycle with the front tire removed or a double stroller. The hatchback has an even larger rear cargo area (we tested the sedan).

The ride is relatively comfortable for this segment and while this car isn't as fuel efficient as some, the AWD really comes into use when on dirt or gravel roads and in weather. We drove it on dirt roads to a nearby lake (photograph is at Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming) and it performed very well. By comparison, the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry are unsteady on these roads.

And so ...

All in all, a good entry into the family car segment of compacts, the Subaru Impreza Premium is a good option for those who have a small family that likes the outdoors. Commuters will likely find better options in this price range.

Photo credits: Aaron Turpen

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