On Thursday, Subaru officially unveiled the third generation Impreza here at the New York International Auto Show. There are two trims so far, the 2.5i and the WRX. The new design has Subaru fans like myself puzzled. We've got questions. Is this a new design direction for Subaru, or does this new face belong to the Impreza only? Does Subaru not care about a lack of uniformity in its sheet metal and grill design across its model range? Is this all part of Subaru's charm? Or will eventual ownership by Toyota wash away that charm?
When I think about it, I'm all for charm. The SVX had a unique shape, face, and interior (thanks to Giugiaro), and it was considered to be all-Subaru. So why not this new ugly duckling? It is sure to grow on me.
A couple things about the exterior design. First, the high, round rear section looks a lot like the BMW X3, which is also a favorite of mine (and also considered to be BMW's ugly duckling).
Second, it features a contradiction. Despite being taller than its predecessor, this Impreza has a lower center of gravity.
The interior is gorgeous. Word from the auto show floor is that the materials inside the car are every bit as good as the Legacy and Outback, which received an upscale cabin in 2004 (and they arrived here in 2005). I even like the light-colored steering wheel in the 2.5i model. Can't wait to drive one.