2017 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru brand continues to grow and grow with rising sales in each of the last 10-years. The reasons for that are many, but it really comes down to building highly reliable cars and utilities, most with standard all-wheel drive. So let’s see if their newest offering, the 2017 Impreza, can keep that hot streak going.
This 2017 Subaru Impreza compact not only rides on the brand’s new global architecture; but it’s also the first Impreza built here in the U.S., at their assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana.
Both sedan and 5-door hatchback Imprezas are once again available; we opted for the sportier 5-door. No word on when the STI variants will get the new chassis.
So, there’s still only a normally aspirated 2.0-liter boxer-4 providing Impreza power. But, a host of new parts, as well as direct-injection, result in a small increase in power from 148 to 152-horsepower along with 145 lb-ft. of torque.
A 5-speed manual transmission remains standard, but most will come equipped with a CVT. And while it’s been one of the better CVTs for a while now, others are improving and this one is no longer a standout. All but base trim get manual shift mode with paddle shifters. And, yes, all-wheel-drive is standard.
Exterior styling has certainly been updated; but with such a familiar face, things don’t appear radically different. And most Subaru owners will agree that’s actually a really good thing.
The 5-door hatch is noticeably sleeker than before, and the tail lights take up more real estate.
Space is even more noticeably increased inside, and Subaru trademarks of easy ingress and great visibility are still here.
Seating position is fairly high, while front seats remain on the firm side.
The infotainment system makes a huge jump in usability and that is very much appreciated. The screen itself is bigger, with larger virtual buttons. Traditional control knobs have grown in size as well.
The familiar upper dash display is still present, and there always seems to be something happening on it. It does provide lots of information, although it’s just outside of your normal line of sight.
Over in the driver’s I.P., there’s plenty of data as well, presented in a very clear fashion.
With more space for rear seat passengers, cargo volume falls a bit to 20.8 cubic-ft., but max capacity is “max-er” at 55.3 cubic-ft.
Without a doubt, the Impreza’s new chassis feels much more solid on the road compared to previous generations. Just about every aspect of performance has gotten tighter, throttle response is certainly crisper, and it’s an overall more enjoyable experience behind the wheel.
Yet that tighter demeanor is contrasted with additional sound deadening, leaving you feel a little more isolated in the cabin, due to its now very quiet nature.
And without a doubt, at our test track, the Impreza was much less of a snoozer, and more stimulating than it’s ever been before. It barnstormed through our slalom course with great balance and a “glued to the pavement” feel. Steering feedback is less artificial, and turn-ins were so quick it felt like Subaru also added 4-wheel steering.
It’s not quite Mazda3 or VW Golf fun, but certainly a drastic improvement.
With times of 9.6-seconds to 60, and 17.4 in the ¼-mile at 81 miles-per-hour, it’s not a rocket off the line, but the engine is very responsive which helps it feel better in real world use.
By the way, those times are exactly the same as the last Impreza we tested back in 2012.
Subaru’s available EyeSight includes Pre-Collision braking, and it worked flawlessly as always in our crash barrier test; even in some light rain. This year it adds Reverse Automatic Braking as well.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our CVT hatchback are 28-City, 37-Highway, and 31-Combined; though our average was a bit disappointing at 28.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Still, the Energy Impact Score is a good one, with use of just 10.6-barrels of oil per year with C02 emissions of 4.7-tons.
Base pricing is up just $100 over last year and remains very competitive considering standard all-wheel-drive. Sedans start at $19,215, hatchbacks at just $500 more.
The 2017 Subaru Impreza, may not be as big of a leap forward as last generation; but truth be told, it didn’t have as far to go to be highly competitive among a host of really great cars in the compact segment. And by offering both more room and comfort, as well as way more handling fun; it has become an even better option than it was before. Consider us Imprezed.
- Engine: 2.0-liter boxer-4
- Horsepower: 152
- Torque: 145 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 9.6 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 17.4 seconds @ 81 mph
- EPA: 28 mpg city / 37 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 10.6 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 4.7 tons/yr
2023 GMC Canyon
Canyon Goes Bigger
Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!
Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.
Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.
The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.
At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.
And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.
But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.
Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.
The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.
Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.
So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!
- Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 310
- 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed auto
- Torque: 430 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
- EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined