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Subaru upgrades US-spec Impreza; EyeSight driver assist technology, 1 mpg boost over 2014 model

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, will debut an upgraded Subaru Impreza compact 4-door and 5-door models on the US market later this year as part of its 2015 lineup. This will be the first Impreza offering Subaru’s proprietary “EyeSight” Driver Assist Technology, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. (Earlier post.) Other Subarus with EyeSight include the Legacy, Outback and Forester lines.

The 2015 Impreza offers improved fuel economy, strengthening its position as offering the highest fuel economy of any gasoline All-Wheel Drive car offered in the US. Its EPA estimated ratings of up to 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined (8.4, 6.4 and 7.6 l/100 km, respectively) for models with the Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) are comparable with front-wheel drive cars.

(As a comparison, the 2014 Impreza with automatic is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined.)

2015 Subaru Impreza. Click to enlarge.

To boost fuel efficiency, Subaru sought to minimize internal engine friction without affecting the driving performance of the Symmetrical AWD (All-Wheel Drive) system.

The Impreza’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine produces 148 hp (110 kW) at 6,200 rpm and 145 lb-ft (197 N·m) of peak torque at 4,200 rpm. The long-stroke configuration (84mm bore and 90mm stroke) emphasizes low and mid-range torque. The camshafts are chain driven, reducing long-term servicing costs. Dual Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing optimizes torque performance and emissions.

The responsive BOXER engine can be matched to a 5-speed manual transmission or the lighter, more compact second-generation version of the Lineartronic CVT that is now also offered in all 2015 Subaru models except the BRZ sports car. All Impreza models (5-speed and CVT) feature Incline Start Assist, which helps prevent the vehicle from rolling back when moving away from a stop on an incline.

Stiffer, redesigned transmission components and a wider gear ratio deliver improved environmental friendliness and drivability. The D range of the transmission has been configured to utilize a continuously variable shifting mode under light acceleration and change to a stepped shifting mode under heavy acceleration.

All Imprezas with the CVT, except the base 2.0i, feature a 6-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters that allow the driver to control the transmission. In the base 2.0 models with the CVT, a driver-selectable Low shift mode can provide additional engine braking when traveling down a grade, to enhance vehicle control.

Liquid (hydraulic) engine mounts on models with the CVT help to dampen vibration. The double-wishbone rear suspension features pillow ball bushings for exemplary ride comfort, straight-line stability and handling agility.

Other technologies that help boost fuel efficiency in the Impreza include electric power assist steering (now with a quicker ratio for 2015), along with low rolling resistance tires. An ECO gauge in the instrument panel encourages economical driving.

A quicker steering-gear ratio delivers nimbler handling, while optimized suspension damping performance provides a flatter, more comfortable ride. The increased use of sound-absorbing materials on various components of the car body helps control vibrations and noise and guarantees a quieter cabin experience.

Subaru offers two different versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive in the 2015 Impreza, each tailored to the type of transmission. In models equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission, the Continuous AWD system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute torque a nominal 50:50 front to rear. Slippage at either the front or rear wheels will cause the system to send more torque to the opposite wheels.

Models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT use Active Torque Split AWD. An electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively controls power distribution in response to driver input, driving conditions and wheel slippage.

The new version of EyeSight represents an evolutionary advance in preventative safety and driver load-reduction features such as Pre-Collision Braking Control and Adaptive Cruise Control. Compared to the previous system, it employs an entirely new stereo camera system with an approximately 40% increase in viewing angle and distance.

Nighttime cornering visibility has been enhanced with Steering Responsive Fog Lights (SRF) that automatically illuminate on one side when cornering. In consideration of oncoming vehicles, the SRF system is capable of automatically illuminating and dimming the fog lights in response to steering angle and car speed.

Safety when backing in reverse has been improved with the use of a superwide-angle rearview camera that provides a wider viewing area behind the vehicle.


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