LA JOLLA, Calif. -- To find out what Subaru did with all the money it saved by putting the 2017 Impreza on a modular platform, just get inside -- and close the door.
Like nearly every manufacturer with shareholders to please, Subaru has ventured down the road of modular. The redesigned Impreza is the first of its vehicles to use the new flexible underpinnings, known as the Subaru Global Platform.
Eventually, everything Subaru makes -- short of the rear-wheel-drive BRZ sports car -- will use this architecture, including plug-in hybrid and EV versions. That means future iterations of the WRX, WRX STI, Outback, Legacy, Forester and whatever Subaru ends up naming its forthcoming seven-passenger large crossover all will ride on the same underpinnings.
It doesn't take an MBA to know all this sharing saves considerable cash. And when Subaru was looking to reinvest some of these savings back into the 2017 Impreza -- now in its fifth generation -- the first place it looked was the interior.
The new platform allowed Subaru to build an Impreza that's 70 percent stiffer, larger in every dimension and safer. It's also more refined, addressing a weakness that Subaru acknowledges.
The improvement is noticeable. Hard plastics largely have been banished; the doors close with a satisfying thunk; there's little wind, road or engine noise to speak of; there's tasteful stitching across the dashboard; and the various buttons, switches and knobs feel satisfyingly substantial. Even the door handles are new for the first time in 17 years.