Managing director for Subaru Australia, Blair Read, told CarExpert the new-gen Impreza hatchback will lob Down Under sometime during the October-December period, though couldn’t go into further details about what the line-up might look like.
“It will definitely be launched in Australia during quarter four of this year,” Mr Read said.
“We haven’t released final spec for Impreza yet… I can’t comment on that at this stage.”
Mr Read noted that while passenger cars are no longer the volume drivers they once were, Subaru’s local division is committed to the Impreza nameplate, which celebrates its 30th birthday next year.
“It’s still important,” he said, “next year is 30 years of Impreza as a nameplate, it’s well known and there’s a very fond following for Impreza.”
“You don’t look at a nameplate like that lightly. So we’re committed to Impreza.
“Yes, passenger cars have been superseded to a degree by the surge for SUVs in the market, but the Impreza still has a place and there’s definitely potential down the track with changes and technologies coming down the track for Impreza to play a really strong role.”
Further to Mr Read’s comments, Chloe Fraser – national corporate affairs and PR manager for Subaru’s distributor Inchcape – said there’s still plenty of demand for small hatchbacks in the face of the SUV boom.
“It’s important to note that while there is a very strong love affair for SUVs in the Australian market, there are still plenty of buyers out there that are looking for something a bit different, and a lot of those buyers look for a hatch,” Ms Fraser said.
“So whilst it is a shrinking market, there are still plenty of buyers out there, and we find it very important to be able to offer something as strong as the Impreza is, and will continue to be with the new generation.”
Neither Mr Read nor Ms Fraser could confirm whether the 2.0-litre e-Boxer Hybrid version of the new Impreza would make it to the Australian market to offer an electrified alternative to the segment-leading Toyota Corolla Hybrid.
Despite the Corolla Hybrid’s well-documented sales success in Australia and high sales mix relative to standard petrol models, few rival manufacturers offer electrified competitors to the Japanese giant’s long-running nameplate.
Honda’s Civic e:HEV is arguably the most direct competitor currently on sale, but at $55,000 drive-away it’s nearly $10,000 dearer than the most expensive Corolla ZR Hybrid.
The Hyundai i30 Sedan Hybrid will land in the latter stages of 2023, though pricing and specifications are still to be confirmed.
Beyond those two Asian competitors, there are no other vehicles in the small passenger segment that offer conventional hybrid powertrains in Australia – Audi has the 48V mild-hybrid A3 35 TFSI, while more expensive plug-in hybrids are offered in the Cupra Leon, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and Peugeot 308 line-ups.
The Subaru Impreza e-Boxer Hybrid runs the same powertrain as the related Crosstrek, which teams a 110kW/196Nm 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed petrol engine with a 12.3kW/66Nm electric motor and small lithium-ion battery.
Should it make it to Australia, expect a slight improvement in combined fuel economy compared to the Crosstrek, which quotes 6.5L per 100km on the combined cycle – a 0.8L advantage compared to the standard petrol version.
However, while the difference in combined-cycle economy doesn’t seem all that advantageous, the Crosstrek Hybrid claims to use 2.0L/100km less on the urban cycle.
It would mark the first time an Impreza Hybrid is offered in Australia, despite being available in previous generations in overseas markets like Japan.
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