I was excited to drive the all-new 2008 Impreza 4-door sedan. Recently, a friend of mine had driven WRXs and STIs through the frozen tundra of the Yukon Territory of Canada. He raved about itâ€™s performance, on-snow driving, and how fun it was to rally those cars through breathtaking scenery. Unfortunately for me, I didnâ€™t have the opportunity to take it through such dramatic landscapes, nor was I driving the sport-packed engines of the WRX or STI.
The introductory price of my Impreza was $17,000 and includes a 170-hp engine that is unfortunately under-powered. With such a rich heritage of rally car champions, getting into a Subaru and feeling the sluggish, unresponsive weight of the throttle disappointed much more than when driving an even more under-powered car but from a lesser pedigree. And as I remembered from driving Imprezas past, the seats were firm and uncomfortable. The final negative was the car looked and felt very cheap inside. The first glance around the cockpit revealed plastic-looking and feeling levers, knobs, and dash panels that arenâ€™t inappropriate for an entry-level car, but again, with such a rich heritage of making great cars, it was disappointing to see how cheap this Subaru was.
With the disappointments out of the way, I focused on what this car did well. For $17,000, getting Subaruâ€™s renown all-wheel drive system seemed like not only a bargain, but borderline theft. It handled very well in the corners, yet made me wish, ever so slightly, for the sports tuning of itâ€™s race-inspired brothers. The car had great visibility, and was decent at 20-27 mpg. Although, with such a low-thrills gas pedal, Iâ€™d have hoped the Impreza would break 30 mpg on the highway.
I personally really like the new styling of the Imprezas, but agree with my Subaru-enthusiast friend who claimed that the new styling seems to blend Imprezas in to the rest of the pack, versus standing out with the unique styling that they once had.
There are a lot of options in the entry-level car market, and at $17,000, this seems priced right in the middle. But with the Subaru pedigree, and itâ€™s amazing all-wheel drive handling, this Impreza stands out from the pack in comparitive value, just donâ€™t compare it to its big brothers in performance. 3.5 stars.