Nov 29, 2012
Reviewed By Tony Piff
Price as Tested $27,840. Equipment: 2.4-liter DOHC I4 MIVEC. CVT.GT Touring Package, navigation with rear-view camera. EPA Mileage: 22/29
Likes

Nice sheet metal contours, especially up front. Headlights aggressively sculpted. Stylized trapezoidal grille outline is well executed. Sporty stance; the standard 18-inch alloys fit just right. Front and back seats feels roomy, clean and sensible, but far from opulent. Nice visibility all around. Touchscreen map navigation is more intuitive than the stereo. Upgraded GT Touring Package stereo thumps. Rain-sensing wipers function brilliantly. Easy to toggle traction control on and off. Paddle shifters have a nice action and shift responsively for a sub-$30k car. 22/29 mpg fuel economy seems about right.

Dislikes

Biggest letdown is paddling through the 6-speed CVT. Everything is smooth and confident — just a little too smooth when you’re trying to drop the hammer. Performance was severely hampered with three adult passengers.

Verdict

Hard-driving track rats won’t be satisfied with the CVT, but it’s still fun to turn off traction control, get the paddles going, and wind up the rpms around some hairpin corners on Sunday afternoon. For the other 99.9% of driving time, the Sportback is a useful and economical small station wagon, with just enough of an edge to make it stand out.

Fun to Drive
4.0 rating
Fun to Look at
4.5 rating
Overall Experience
4.0 rating
Stats