Subaru’s 2017 Impreza lineup is all-new and has grown in stature, quality and efficiency. The 2017 Impreza comes in two body configurations: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatch.

Both body forms represent the debut of Subaru’s Global Platform architecture, featuring unitized body construction which will underpin a variety of future Subaru vehicles, including hybrids.

Four trim levels are available: the base 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Sport and the top-of-the-line 2.0i Limited. Pricing starts at $18,395 for the sedan and $18,895 for the hatch.

All are powered by a 2.0-liter, 16-valve Boxer four-cylinder engine delivering more horsepower than earlier versions — 152 versus 148 — while the torque produced remains the same — 145 at 4,000 rpm — thanks in part to the implementation of direct injection. EPA estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.

Motive force is geared through a Lineartronic CVT with low shift mode for 2.0i base or a seven-speed manual shift mode CVT with paddle shift control switches for Premium, Sport and Limited models and is delivered to all four wheels via Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive — an active AWD system with an electronically controlled variable transfer clutch.

Visually, this fifth-generation Impreza debuts Subaru’s new design language, featuring signature hexagonal grille and “hawk-eye” headlamps up front and a sculpturally more elegant body form. The greenhouse features a blacked-out “B” pillar for a coupe-like effect, and the integrated deck-lid spoiler finishes off the rear with a no-nonsense hint of sportiness.

The low center of gravity and revised suspension systems combine to provide a vast improvement in the car’s performance and hazard-avoidance capability.

  

Richer interior appointments and details abound, including soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and center-console arm rest. Compartments in and around the center console can hold personal items. Controls and switchgear are positioned for optimum user-friendliness (such as the back-to-basics round knobs for channel selection and volume).

I was able to experience both a 2017 Subaru Impreza four-door sedan in Limited trim and the five-door wagon-like Impreza in Premium trim. The five-door happens to be my personal favorite.

The sedan and hatch are mechanically the same and provide increased interior room, greater handling agility and a higher level of refinement. The new engine is more responsive, especially when equipped with the new, seven-speed Lineartronic CVT.

Acceleration is admirable; handling characteristics are sporty and responsive, while ride quality is compliant and comfortable.

All Impreza 2017 models are equipped with standard Vehicle Dynamics Control, which combines stability and traction-control functions. Likewise, all 2017 Impreza models are equipped with standard four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist safety system. A brake override system ensures that engine power will be cut when the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaneously.