We've had lots of rain lately, which has allowed our staff to put our 2012 Subaru Impreza's all-wheel drive to good use. We appreciate how well it works on oil-slicked roads and side streets filled with puddles and the occasional downed tree. Even though we don't get much bad weather in Atlanta, we can still appreciate the Impreza's bad-weather potential.
Not all of us, however, are as enthralled with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). A few drivers have complained about its whine, and we don't find it as refined as CVTs in cars from rival automakers. We're also less than impressed with the Impreza's interior, which looks a little dirty considering its age. While the the extra grime is clearly our fault, we think the Impreza's seats would be a little easier to clean given the active lifestyle we all associate with Subaru cars. Instead, the Impreza's interior looks like the cabin of a much older car with many more miles. Our car is equipped with a light-colored, cloth interior. It's probably the worst choice for a car that changes hands frequently, but we think anyone who plans to use an Impreza as a family car or for frequent ski trips might want to consider the leather seats that come standard in the 2.0i Sport Limited - it's money well-spent.
Still, the interior is ergonomically sound. The seats are comfortable and leg room is excellent in front and (for a small car) in back. The trunk size is ample, and one tester found that with the rear seats folded down, the 2012 Subaru Impreza offered enough room to haul a small entertainment center.
A complaint that nearly every staffer has voiced relates to the Impreza's Bluetooth. One reason is that the system only allows one user at a time. We could live with that, but we're annoyed that Bluetooth doesn't recognize you after you turn off the car. Pairing every time is so frustrating that many of us have simply stopped using the Bluetooth.