Subaru’s new generation Impreza was the big winner at the Automobile Association (AA) Motoring Excellence Awards, New Zealand’s premier motoring awards.
The Impreza WRX STI spec.R also won the overall Supreme Car of the Year award in Auckland.
Impreza was judged the safest car on New Zealand roads too, with its independent five-star ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) crashworthiness rating for occupant safety and its top four-star pedestrian protection rating.
To be eligible for the awards, all models in a range had to have the same safety specification, which the Impreza meets, from the entry-level 2.0R to the range-topping WRX STI spec.R.
Safety features alone don’t guarantee safety said the AA, “hence the decision to make this award based on crash test results which measure and allow direct comparison of each car on a level playing field.”
All models in the Impreza range come with Vehicle Dynamics Control (electronic stability and traction control), six air bags, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, and a body with ring shaped reinforcements, as well as front and rear impact crumple zones. All-Wheel Drive is also standard on all models.
In winning the overall award, the Impreza WRX STI also won the Performance Car class, heading off vehicles that cost over NZ$100,000 more than the Subaru.
The Impreza WRX STI was described as “a proper supercar” by the judges. “The grip of this vehicle on the road and track was like a four pawed – five clawed feline clinging to hallway carpet.”
The AA said the latest WRX STI “has softened the rock hard suspension of old without becoming soft. Its range of adjustment offered a practical hatch friendly enough to take the family away for the weekend at one end and an intoxicatingly involving plaything at the other.”
“And it looks the part too with flared arches with their aggressive lines suiting its adrenalin-pumping persona.”
After taking the Performance Car class and the Safety award, Chris Rickards, General Manager, Subaru New Zealand, accepted the overall award.
“This is unbelievable,” he said. “Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent company) have given us a great product. These are the first awards for the STI internationally. Three in one night is fantastic.”
The Impreza’s safety award is confirmation of Subaru’s commitment to active and passive safety. Every 2008 model Subaru sold in New Zealand – Forester, Legacy (known as Liberty in Australia), Outback and Tribeca – as well as Impreza has constant All-Wheel Drive and five star ANCAP occupant protection safety ratings.
The New Zealand-specification Impreza 2.0R Sport was also recently winner of NZ Autocar/AMI 2008 Compact Car of the Year making it one of the most awarded cars in New Zealand for 2008.