The Subaru Impreza is an easy car to live with no matter the conditions. Getting in and out is easy. Once inside, it's comfortable and easy to drive. The interior is straightforward and simple and everything is easy to operate. Cargo capacity after the 60/40 rear seats are dropped is excellent.
Yet these cars are highly capable. All-wheel drive comes standard, and the Impreza is our first choice in foul weather or on unpaved roads, assuming, of course, an Impreza WRX isn't available. Indeed, the Subaru Impreza packs in a lot, for its size and price.
The Impreza is an ideal size for running around town while still being comfortable on the freeway with trucks and big SUVs. It's solid, safe, and simple, with the added attraction of all-wheel drive, so it's ready for any road driving condition.
Fuel economy for the Impreza is EPA-rated at 20/27 mpg with manual, 20/26 mpg with automatic.
The Impreza comes in 4-Door sedan and 5-Door hatchback versions. The styling of the five-door is edgier, while the four-door sedan looks more traditional. The hatch is a bit sportier, shorter in overall length, with a shorter rear overhang. Short overhangs suggest better handling and the shorter overall length is useful in tight parking confines. The hatch is also much more practical with its large cargo capacity.
The Impreza Outback Sport comes strictly as a hatch and is set up well for extensive unpaved road travel and carrying wet or muddy gear.
The Impreza has a smooth highway ride and responsive cornering, thanks in some part to its relatively long wheelbase (103.1 inches), and the low engine placement, possible because of the horizontally opposed position of the four cylinders. This lowers the center of gravity and improves the balance, contributing to agile cornering. What's more, the Impreza shares the quick WRX steering rack, with 2.8 turns lock-to-lock, and a tight 34.8-foot turning circle. You can definitely feel it, and it's good. It's sporty.
Out on the highway, there's plenty of speed from the 170-horsepower engine, with 170 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm, to put the oomph behind the acceleration. We found no flat spots in the power or places where it was lacking.
The standard five-speed manual gearbox works well. The optional four-speed automatic works with the engine just fine, including when you have to hammer the throttle to pass trucks on a fast two-lane.
For 2010, Impreza gets subtle styling changes and a new grille, along with some packaging changes and Bluetooth wireless capability. This generation of Impreza models was introduced for 2008.
The 2010 Subaru Impreza lineup includes the Impreza 2.5i, Impreza Outback Sport, and Impreza 2.5GT. The 2.5i and Outback Sport use the 2.5-liter SOHC horizontally opposed four-cylinder making 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. The 2.5GT uses a turbocharged 2.5-liter DOHC engine rated 224 horsepower. Every Subaru is equipped with all-wheel drive.
Impreza 2.5i 4-Door sedan ($17,495) and 5-Door hatchback ($17,995) come with cloth upholstery, 60/40 split folding rear seat, four-speaker AM/FM/CD, power doors, locks and mirrors, 16-inch steel wheels with all-season tires, incline start assist. Premium Package ($1000) adds 12-spoke alloy wheels, and the steering wheel, shift knob and sound system of the Outback Sport. A five-speed manual transmission with Incline Start Assist is standard; the 2.5i 4-Door is available with a four-speed automatic with Sportshift ($18,495).
Impreza Outback Sport ($19,995) upgrades with a heavy duty suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, front and rear bumper underguards, projector beam foglights, crossbars for the roofrails, 10-speaker 6CD iPod MP3 SRS Circle Surround Sound system, heated front seats and sideview mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, and a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with audio and cruise controls. Visually, there's a two-tone paint scheme, different body trim, and more chrome in the grille. Choose between a five-speed manual transmission with Incline Start Assist or a four-speed automatic with Sportshift ($20,995).
Impreza 2.5GT 4-Door ($26,995) and 5-Door ($27,495) feature bigger front brakes, a sport tuned suspension, rear antiroll bar, 10-spoke alloy wheels, a hood scoop for the turbocharger intercooler, moonroof, more gauges on a luminescent instrument panel, and other features. The four-speed automatic with Sportshift is standard.
Options include a navigation system ($2000) with Bluetooth wireless and a microphone in the overhead console for hands-free phoning.
Safety equipment on all Impreza models includes the Subaru Advanced Frontal Airbag System featuring side-impact air bags, as well as full-length airbag curtains. Active safety features include ABS with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution and Brake Assist, electronic stability control with traction control, all-wheel drive. The Impreza earned Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with the highest rating in frontal offset, side and rear impact tests.