As an American, I am conditioned to think that more is always better. Yes, I have a burger, but I want another one on the same bun. Add some cheese, and bacon as well. I know it comes with it. I want more. If I have more than you, then I win. It's the American way. Except for education and healthcare, this attitude extends into every facet of a typical American's life. Even the cars that we drive must exhibit a sense of superiority, with as many bells and bobbles as possible, to show the rest of the world that we are indeed, very rich. We take beautiful or well-made cars and modify them heavily because it isn't enough to own a Lamborghini or a Civic hatch, it also needs to be exclusive to the owner. It's our birthright.
While this idea of the right to exclusivity might be decidedly American, power is a topic that seems to be universal. Car people from all countries just can't seem to get enough of it. A quick Google of the current small sports car detachment will reveal a near infinite cadre of forced induction fans moaning about how they all need turbos. "More power!" They demand as if yelling louder on the internet will make it so. Of course, they're all wrong. The MX-5 and the BRZ/FRS/GT-86 would be measurably worse with a half-effort turbo system nailed on. Without a major overhaul, and major added costs, they would be terrible to drive as everything that makes them great, would be stripped away.
This leads me to the 2017 Subaru Impreza. This is a machine that manages to do what I think all major car brands strive for; it blends in. It is exactly average. It manages to please its occupants just enough to prevent boredom induced suicide while providing no unnecessary frills to attract potential internet venom. This car elicits no urge to take to the net and demand more power. It's a fantastic car. It's quiet, comfortable, good value, and surprisingly good to drive. It's a bit like Michael Buble then, unoffensive and unsurprising but still better than its peers.
Comparing the Impreza to other cars in its segment is a strange thing, as Impreza used to translate to street-fighting menace, and now has to be compared to Corollas and Civics. However, compared to the rest of its ilk, the Impreza walks away as a thing to drive. The steering has a very pleasant weight to it in that you can sense a reaction to your inputs, unlike the others which provide the feedback of a cold shoulder. It is also really quiet, I've ridden in modern Mercedes' that were noisier, I would expect the same level of sound deadening from cars that cost twice as much. I drove the Premium trim level with the weather package added and, while there are higher trim levels available, this is the one I would get. The smaller 16-inch rim size allows for a taller sidewall which makes it that much more comfortable. It irons out bumps in the road like old Cadillacs used to do, but without the need for seasickness medication.
I very much like this car. The Impreza challenges the adage more is better. It is a car that is boring enough that when you get out of it, you forget how you got to your destination, but not so boring that you are tempted to spice it up a bit. The middle trim level is the best option, and it in no way says that its owner is a wealthy person without labeling them as poor. Or worse, cheap. Nothing about these traits should make me like this as much as I do, but that, I think, is what draws me to it. It's almost like an act of defiance, packaged in a pair of flat-front khakis. I know that if I were to drive one of these around every day, I wouldn't have to defend it all of the time. I wouldn't have to talk to other motorists about its power output and why I haven't supercharged it yet, and that sounds very good, indeed.
2017 Subaru Impreza