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Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS

Broadcast dates : 17th October  2004
21st October 2004

Subaru has pulled something of a masterstroke with its new entry-level model, the Impreza 2,5 RS.

It comes into the marketplace priced at just under R200 000, which means it goes head-to-head with competitors from Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen and Renault.

The Non-turbo, or naturally-aspirated Impreza 2.5 replaces the previous 2-litre model, and itís available here in both wagon and sedan variants, and in automatic or five-speed manual form.

The previous model suffered from a kind of poor-cousin image problem, being seen as very unremarkable compared to the turbocharged versions of the Impreza.

The new 2.5 RS has borrowed many of the agro body mannerisms from the Impreza WRX. These include wider wheel arches, a deeper nose spoiler with gaping air intakes, faired-in driving lamps, larger-diameter alloy wheels and a larger boot spoiler.

Itís much more a kind of spring-board model into Subaru performance mystique, and the new engine goes some way to justifying its new looks.

Although not producing a high peak power figure Ė at 112 kiloWatts itís quite modest for a 2.5-litre motor, the new car is endowed with an excellent spread of torque.

It boasts 223 Newton Metres from low down in the rev range, and coupled with well-chosen ratios in the five-speed manual we drove, itís an eminently drivable car.
Subaru claim a zero-to-100 km/h time of under eight seconds at the coast and a top speed of over 200 km/h.

Behind the wheel of the Impreza, one is still conscious that Subaru is not noted for its brilliant interior design.

The boxy dash layout is rather old fashioned, and simple, although itís fairly solid in build quality and materials.

Subaru have freshened the interior, though, with new door panels covered in woven cloth, as are the new sports seats.

The centre console has also been redesigned, and now includes the cup holders.

The fresh air vents are now larger, and the steering wheel is of a sportier design, with a leather rim. Leather touches also include the handbrake lever and gear knob.

The audio quality has been improved, thanks to relocation of the speakers.

On the safety front there are dual airbags only, not competitive with the likes of Volkswagen and Renault. But in terms of active safety, the Impreza RS is good because of its fantastic driveline.

This is the famous Subaru symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, and mechanically this car feels in a different league to its price competitors.

One may be disappointed with the lightweight quality of, say, the boot lid, but in the way the Impreza rides on both dirt and tar, it feels like a thoroughbred costing hundreds of thousands of rand more.

Although the all-wheel-drive system is not designed for off-road, it imparts amazing stability and traction on smooth dirt roads.

The new 16-inch wheels with 205-60 tyres impart lots of grip, particularly when accelerating out of a corner.

Included in the price of R198 000 is a three year-60000-kilometre maintenance plan and a three-year 100 000-kilometre warranty.

All in all the Subaru RS 2.5 has a feel-good quality about it. Itís certain to make many more friends for Subaru.

Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS
  • Engine: Four-cylinder boxer, 2 457 cc
  • Power: 112 kW @ 5 600 rpm
  • Torque: 223 Nm @ 3 600 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 7,9 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 205 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 10,8 litres/ 100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R198 000

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