For the 2018 Impreza, they've been reduced to bragging about how well it's done in Japan's strict crash tests. Accident protection is important, obviously, but it's surely better not to have an accident in the first place. Frustrated 2018 Impreza drivers may struggle to do that because they will be concentrating too hard on driving around the inherent limitations of the awful CVT gearbox that these cars have been stuck with.
CVTs don't need to be awful. Ford's C-MAX TDCi wasn't notable for much, but when it had a Durashift auto gearbox it became strangely appealing. The Durashift CVT was (and for all I know still is) an electronically-controlled, stepless, belt-driven automatic which allowed the driver a choice of fully automatic or sequential manual modes, with seven preset gear 'ratios'.
The best feature of the Durashift was its stubborn refusal to allow the engine to rev. It delivered the next ratio as soon as the engine could take it. So, instead of the usual laboured cow-in-a-trench lowing associated with CVTs constantly aiming for the power peak, the only sound a C-MAX Durashift made was a fussless thrum as the C-MAX smoothly surfed on low-end torque. It was an eerie and pleasing thing.
The driver's desperate search for power meant that any torque the Rolls lump might have had was effortlessly bypassed. Constant gear-stirring was required. And that's where your problems started.
To work the Saracen's pre-selector setup, you must occasionally depress the clutch pedal. Sounds easy, but it isn't. The clutch pedal's whimsical location and steam-hammer linkage require any driver to have a laterally-displaceable kneecap, a hip joint like a dredger's anchor and a left leg the size of Berlin to operate it. Anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves squinting bravely through an oily haze of tears and sweat while driving a Saracen on a military vehicle 'fun experience' will be full of admiration for the nutritionally-stunted National Service squaddies who had to wrestle these horrors on a daily basis.
So, Subaru, look ye to Ford and the Durashift. As belt drives go, that one was quite literally belting. And if any PHer wants a measure of how far things have progressed in the world of transmissions, buy a Saracen - but first make sure you've also budgeted for a jerrycan of petrol, a box of matches and a stamp for the insurance claim.