Die-hard Subaru enthusiasts are saying pretty much the same thing. It looks like a Corolla/Mazda 3/Proton/whatever. Wagon guys bemoan the loss of the trunk space. Sedan guys cry over the sedan version that looks like an afterthought (and will only be available in the US and Australia). They are complaining that it doesn’t have any more power over the previous model. It’s wider but has no fender flares. It doesn’t look aggressive enough.
While some appreciate the stepping back from the ricer-ready lines, most feel it looks flabby and uninspired. I’ll say again that considering the awful, only-a-mother-could-love-it, face the '06 model got, it could have been worse.
The hood scoop is so wide and further forward on the hood because of the new (to this model) intercooler. They have standardised around the engine from the Legacy GT which has a wide, narrow plastic intercooler instead of the square alloy one the old WRX had. It’s claimed to be more efficient. Too bad the WRX only gets 227ps instead of the 250ps in the Legacy. Most likely they are trying to protect STi sales by maintaining a gap in power outputs. Speculation is that the new STi will not have significantly more power than the current model at 300ps. :shrug:
Subaru has announced it’s intention to become the Audi of the Japanese brands to move into line with the aging demographic in developed countries. They started pushing retail prices up in the US market with the launch of the (superb) Legacy GT and then the (flop) Tribeca. IMO Subaru mistimed or misjudged the market badly with the Tribeca launch, imagining that traditional SUV shoppers could be tempted into a crossover vehicle while in reality it was priced too close to similar vehicles with much more brand cachet. They have made a second blunder this year by dropping the Legacy wagons from the range when this model used to be their bread and butter. Now if you want a Subaru station wagon you will have to buy an Outback or Forester and put up with the silly plastic body cladding and high ride height. IMO they are going to lose the younger buyers to other brands with cheaper, more aggressive looking cars that are catching up in terms of performance, especially if they don’t value AWD. Anyone wanting a spacious touring wagon with road-oriented suspension and/or AWD is going to move toward Audi/VW. The luxury-sports buyer is still not convinced Subaru has enough brand status for him and will go on buying Lexus or Audi sedans. They are trying to please too many people with the new Impreza.
Anyway, you can read some of the argument that is raging back and forth here.
Here are a couple of photochops that have been done to try and rescue the poor WRX from terminal blandness. Note that some of them are ideas about what the STi version 10 should look like.
In defence of the current design, I can say that the first versions of the GC body (classic) Impreza had rather boring and stodgy looks. It wasn’t until the first facelift in 1994 that it started to take on that aggressive rally face. I’m predicting a return to the rally-bred looks very quickly after disappointing sales in 2008.