2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium PZEV - The Go-Anywhere Fuel Sipper

2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium PZEV

The Suburu Impreza Premium partial zero emissions vehicle (PZEV) is an all-wheel-drive sedan with impressive interior room for a compact. It sports good fuel economy and has all of the goat-like off-track power Subaru is known for.

The manufacturer says

Its clever engineering combines trademark Subaru control and reliability with added safety, technology and interior space, all while going easier on your wallet, thanks to an impressive 36 miles per gallon.


  • Manufacturer: Subaru
  • Year, Model: 2012 Impreza 2.0i Premium PZEV
  • Class, Type: Compact Coupe
  • Propulsion system: Gasoline engine
  • Fuel(s): Gasoline
  • Base Price: $18,795
  • MSRP as tested: $23,914
  • Availability:
  • In dealerships now.


Also available as a hatchback, the Impreza is a deceptive vehicle on first glance. It appears to be very compact with little trunk space and a cramped interior. Climbing inside and opening the deck lid, however, reveals a car that is much more roomy than anticipated. The trunk is very large, capable of holding a Saturday picnic with all the accessories for a family of four including a double-stroller for the toddlers. The interior is pleasantly laid out and easy accommodates two infant car seats, two adults, and has thoughtful cubbies and storage compartments for water bottles, sunglasses, and so on.

The Impreza 2.0i Premium PZEV is a partial zero emissions vehicle meeting California's standards for that designation. This means it meets federal guidelines for Super-Ultra Low Emissions and has a 15 year warranty on its emissions controls. California, Oregon, Colorado and a few other states recognize PZEVs and give tax breaks or other incentives for purchasing one.

The Impreza, as tested, is capable of 36 miles to the gallon on the highway and 27mpg in the city. While not as impressive as some other compacts getting 40+ on the highway, these numbers are very good when considering that the Subaru is an all-wheel-drive (AWD) car that is as comfortable on gravel and dirt as it is on pavement.

The engine is a good performer, though the emissions choking for PZEV does hold it back. For a compact not expected to be a race car, though, the Impreza does well in acceleration and exeedingly well in handling. It's tiny 2.0-liter DOHC engine and available 6-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) do a good job of getting the car around. The optional 6-speed manual mode can be engaged with paddle shifts on the steering wheel and the premium sound system and accessories in our test model were well-fitted for this segment.

What we like

Great go-anywhere car with just enough room for a small family or active lifestyle singles, the Impreza has the capability of being not only a daily driver, but also the weekend getaway machine.

Very roomy for such a small compact, with a Jersey "2 body" trunk and plenty of head and shoulder room, even for someone of large stature.

What we don't

Fuel economy could be better in a car this size, though much of the loss is due to the AWD, which is a good tradeoff if you are active outdoors, but don't want the inefficiency of an SUV.

Boring looks are dated and uninspired with the 2012 model. Subaru has been revamping their designs, but seems to have skipped adding anything interesting to the Impreza. It's worth noting that the hatchback is a little more sporty-looking than the coupe.


For those who are active outdoors and like to get around in good comfort without sacrificing economy, the Impreza is a great choice. It's four-wheel independent suspension, vehicle dynamics control (VDC), and Subaru's excellent symmetrical AWD will get you through rain, sleet, snow, or over that dirt road to the lake.

Test Period Length and Limitations
We had our test car for about a week, putting over 700 miles on it in many conditions. The car was taken on the freeway for a 3-hour trip (each way), over a long dirt road and around a lake on dirt paths at Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming, as well as on both country highways and graveled county roads.

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