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New Subaru to drive into the spotlight.

Byline: Ian Johnson

MENTION the Subaru Impreza and most people think of the rapid WRX high performance turbo rally-bred cars, but this range is making a name for itself with an attractive diesel option which provides a fine mix of Subaru driving qualities and diesel economy.

Under the bonnet is the widely-acclaimed 2.0-litre Boxer diesel - a flat engine with cylinders either side.

Subaru has been one of the best exponents of the horizontal engine in recent years and has now moved into the important world of diesel power.

The Subaru diesel develops 150ps and provides a hefty 258ft/lb of torque, or pulling power.

It is a refined engine featuring those all-important qualities in a diesel ... flexibility allied to rapid throttle response.

As with all Subarus the performance is high on the agenda and this model provides a top speed of 127mph plus a 0-62mph sprint factor of nine seconds.

Not in the league of the WRX STI, certainly, but very generous when you consider that you get a combined economy result of 47.9mpg and an emissions figure of 155g/km CO2.

But this hatchback has an ace up its sleeve because of a low centre of gravity coupled with symmetrical all-wheel-drive providing superb handling and traction safely in the hands of the latest Subaru vehicle dynamics control system.

This is a highly individual car with a specification that is just as outstanding as its driving qualities.

Standard fitments include 17in alloys, HID headlamps with pop-up washers, electrically-folding door mirrors, front projector fog lamps, a six-CD player with MP3 facility, cruise control, windscreen wiper de-icer, climate control and heated sports seats - not to mention front, side and curtain airbags.

There are two diesel models in the range, the 2.0D RC and 2.0D RX . They complement 1.5 and 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol models, the limited edition 2.5 WRX turbo, plus range-topping WRX STI Type UK and 330S.

The engine has already been proven in the Legacy, Outback and Forester models and now forms part of this interesting take on the small family car.

With a potential range of 670 miles on a full tank this has to be an important option for those who drive long distances and enjoy their driving.

As soon as you get on the road it communicates its handling qualities in no uncertain terms.

The engine, being flat, sits nearer the road providing a low centre of gravity for sporty handling, great grip, reduced body roll and agile steering.

Turbocharged and punchy, the engine provides a relatively silent, vibration-free power flow.

And because of the handling technology lavished on this car, owners can drive safe in the knowledge that their Impreza will instantly divert power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip - providing the security and reassurance of active safety at all times.

This car was the RC version which is priced at pounds 20,000.

If you want more equipment, then the RX at pounds 22,255 gains keyless smart entry, an electric sunroof, rear privacy glass, full leather trim and electric adjustment of the driver's seat.

Importantly, it also looks good, with the bonnet air-scoop and the car's overall low stance speaking volumes for its capability.

Instrumentation is illuminated with ambient blue lighting for improved visibility.

Switching on the ignition prompts the instrument needles to sweep around their dials before returning to their rest position.

This is probably one of the most important Subaru models ever. It provides a refreshing change to some of the better-known names and I have a feeling that once word gets around in the diesel market, Subaru dealers will be very busy.

FAST FACTS Model: Subaru Impreza 2.0 RC diesel Price: pounds 20,000 Mechanical: 150ps, 1,998cc, four-cylinder diesel engine driving four wheels via six-speed manual gearbox Max speed: 127mph 0-62mph: 9 seconds Combined mpg: 47.9 Insurance group: 11 CO2 emissions: 155g/km BIK rating: 16% Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles.

CAPTION(S):

REFRESHING CHANGE Subaru Impreza 2.0 RC diesel has outstanding specification.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2010
Words:678
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