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10 Apr 2017 | Text by Nigel Yong, Photos by Low Fai Ming

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Sedan Strife

The new Subaru Impreza is highly refined, more upmarket than before and is a stronger competitor than ever. We find out how it fares against two other Asian sedans.


Buyers considering an affordable family sedan today are spoiled for choice. From hot favourites such as the Toyota Corolla Altis and value-for-money up-and-comers like the Kia Cerato K3, there's a sedan for just about everyone's tastes and budgets.

The latest contender to rejoin the fraternity is the new 2017 Subaru Impreza. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, the new Impreza boasts enhanced driving dynamics, new styling and much higher levels of refinement.

This isn't a nip-and-tuck sort of 'new', the Impreza has undergone a complete reinvention and it's shaped up superbly

This month, we pit the Impreza against its abovementioned Asian rivals to find out just where it stands.

Considering design is subjective and not usually the first order of business for these sensible sedans, we're going to ignore that in this group test and focus on four other criteria that might keep the discerning buyer awake at night.

Driving

Despite the K3's naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine producing 127bhp and 157Nm of torque, which makes it the most powerful of the three, the quickest car in terms of acceleration in this test is the Altis.

The K3's paddle shifters provide an additional element of control for the driver, allowing for more driving fun

The K3 uses a conventional six-speed auto and you can work the gears manually using the paddle shifters. That, though, is not to say that the K3 is meant for enthusiastic driving. Its steering is too light for our liking and while it knows how to handle a corner, isn't as planted as the Impreza.

The Altis has the strongest sense of urgency in a straight line despite its uninspiring continuously-variable transmission and lower power and torque output of 121bhp and 154Nm. However, there is a complete absence of steering feedback and if you're the sort who craves the occasional spirited driving, you might find the Altis rather boring.

Like the Altis, the Impreza also runs a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine and continuously-variable transmission pairing. It's not as sprightly, but the powertrain in the latter is noticeably more refined.

The Impreza does have a straight-line disadvantage due to its lower power output (112bhp and 150Nm of torque) and all-wheel drive layout, but is the most capable one around tight and twisting corners.

The K3 (left) has the most power torque at 127bhp and 157Nm, followed by the Altis' (right) 121bhp and 154Nm and Impreza's (centre) 112bhp and 150Nm

Its weighted steering may be a problem for older drivers around carparks, but translates into concised, confident-inspiring handling at highway speeds. Over uneven surfaces, it's also the most forgiving and comfortable one in this test.

Efficiency

The K3 and Altis both returned close to 13km/L during our test drive, which is quite impressive. Of course, that said, you may be able to achieve better, depending on your driving habits.
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Car Information

spacer

Price

: $103,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC Dual CVVT

Engine Cap

:

1591cc

Horsepower

:

95kW (127 bhp) / 6300 rpm

Torque

:

157 Nm / 4850 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

12.1sec

Top Speed

:

195km/h

Fuel consumption

:

14.7 km/L

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Price

: $107,800

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder Horizontallyopposed 16-valve DOHC Boxer

Engine Cap

:

1600cc

Horsepower

:

84kW (113 bhp)

Torque

:

150 Nm

Transmission

:

Lineartronic CVT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

12.4sec

Top Speed

:

185km/h

Fuel consumption

:

15.6 km/L

spacer

Price

: $104,988

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC Dual VVT-i

Engine Cap

:

1598cc

Horsepower

:

90kW (121 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

154 Nm / 5200 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) Super CVT-i with Sequential

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

11.1sec

Top Speed

:

185km/h

Fuel consumption

:

15.4 km/L

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