As I got ready for a solo road trip into the mountains of North Carolina, I picked up the keys to the 2012 Subaru Impreza from AutoTrader.com's long term test fleet. Being an SUV-loving girl, I was curious as to how this little compact car would feel during the four hour drive to the mountains. I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised and I learned a very important lesson along the way.

There is certainly more good than bad in this car, and I'll start off with what left me wanting more:

Technology

I currently drive a sparsely appointed 2005 Toyota RAV4, but after driving our Long-Term 2013 Mazda CX-5, I have come to expect a little more from brand new cars. And so I was a little disappointed with the technology in the Impreza. It was a little more difficult than I expected to sync my iPhone through the Bluetooth connection, and the overall experience of using it was not nearly as seamless as in other cars. Each time I got in the car, I had to reconnect the Bluetooth to get my music playing, and with several stops along the drive, this was more work than I had hoped.

In fairness to our 2012 Subaru Impreza, it's priced at about $24,000 and our 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring is closer to $30,000. Also, you can get the Impreza with navigation and satellite radio, but we opted not to get that on our car to help keep the price below $25,000

MPGs

Overall, I got a respectable 32 miles per gallon. For such a small car, I was hoping for something closer to 35 or more, but considering that a decent portion of the drive was heading up mountain roads and that all Imprezas have all-wheel drive, 32 mpg seems reasonable.

Although the Impreza's tech failed to wow me, there is certainly plenty to love about this little car. Our next update will highlight the Impreza wagon's stronger points.

author photo

Julie Shipp is a public relations manager at AutoTrader.com. She loves writing, photography, technology and driving new cars. She may drive a crossover now, but she feels most at home behind the wheel of a convertible.

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