Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan launched the Subaru Impreza, a compact vehicle in 1993. It was launched as a replacement vehicle for the renowned Subaru Leone/Loyale. The new EJ series engine already used in Subaru Legacy was introduced in the Impreza. Considering the Japanese government vehicle dimensions regulations, Impreza exceeds in sales over the larger Subaru Legacy because of its smaller exterior dimensions offering lessened tax liabilities.
The Impreza is the only vehicle in compact size class among Mazda Protegé/Mazda Axela, Mitsubishi Lancer (including Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution), Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic and Suzuki SX4 that offers a 4-wheel drive configuration. The all-wheel drive setup is offered as standard in the entire trim range of Impreza. However, the rival Mitsubishi Lancer offers this feature in Ralliart and other Evolution trims. Compared to other competitor vehicles, Impreza has a fewer amount of upmarket, top of the line models.
Like many other Subaru models, for Imperza too Subaru opted to go for their venerable and long running boxer engine. The Subaru explains that they use the design which is inline with the transmission, eventually lowers the body roll because of lower center of gravity in contrast to other offset engines used in competitor vehicles.
First Generation (GC, GF, GM; 1992-200)
The first generation Impreza was launched as a 4-door sedan/saloon or a 5-door station wagon/state in November 1993. It was available both as front-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive. In its early years, it was launched with engine options including a 1.6-L, 1.8-L and 2.0-L naturally aspirated engines. The 2.0-L turbocharged and intercooled engines were also available. The Japanese market Impreza delivered from 244 PS (179 kW; 241 bhp) to 286 PS (210 kW; 282 bhp) with basic EJ20 turbocharged motor. However, in the export market, the turbocharged version delivered 211 PS (155 kW; 208 bhp). In the UK, the turbocharged version was marketed as Turbo 2000 AWD, while in other markets it was sold as the 2.0 WRX, 2.0 GT, 2.0 Turbo and 2.0 GT Turbo. Three trim levels were offered including LX, GL and Sport.
Second Generation (GD, GG; 2001-2007)
In 2001, the second generation Subaru Impreza was launched by Subaru. Compared to previous generation, it was larger, stronger, powerful and more polished. The basic 2.0-L turbocharged Impreza, the WRX rated at 230 PS (169 kW; 227 bhp) was launched in US market as 2002 model year followed by Impreza WRX STi in 2004.
Second generation Impreza was launched with a range of exterior. So, many nicknames were devised by owners using the shape of the headlamps. For instance, the models produced 2002 to 2003 were called bug eyes; models from 2003 to 2004 were referred to as crocodile eyes or blob eyes; models from 2006 to 2007 were called hawk eyes; and the models produced between 2008 and 2011 are referred to as shark eyes.
Third Generation (GE, GH, GR; 2007-2011)
The third generation Impreza was appeared on April 2, 2007. It was revealed at the New York International Auto Show.
The Japanese spec Impreza comes with the engine choices of 1.5-L 15S EL15 series engine, 2.0-L 20S and 2.0-L turbocharged S-GT EJ20 engines. The Australian versions receive R, RX and RS versions with 2.0-L engine, while 2.5-L turbocharged WRX is also available.
The US market including Canada receives 2.5-L, 2.5i and Outback Sport and the turbocharged WRX models.
Fourth Generation (2011-present)
Recently on April 20, 2011, the fourth generation Impreza has revealed by Subaru at New York International Auto Show. The production model is scheduled to debut in autumn 2011. This new model is supposed to launch with several refinements and improvements. Both interior and exterior of the fourth generation Impreza will receive some radical treatment.