Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Arriving Down Under in September 2007 the current generation Impreza is longer, wider and taller than the previous model yet weighs less - Subaru also claim that body rigidity has significantly improved. For those that wish to sit that little bit higher in traffic, Subaru also offer a raised Impreza, the XV, which is differentiated from other grades by new front and rear bumpers, a unique rear spoiler and moulded wheel-arch extensions. WRX fans should be happy with the updates from September 2010 as the far tougher wide body of the STI hatch is now being shared with the 'standard' WRX.
Not so good Improvements in interior space over previous Impreza’s comes at the expense of the beautiful design. The low (almost pointy) nose looks at odds with large body and rear design. Even the WRX’s 17-inch alloys don’t fill out the wheel arches enough to provide a real muscular appearance.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The Impreza is now more refined inside than the previous generations with good forward visibility and plenty of rear seat space on offer.
Not so good Yes, the Impreza’s interior has improved over the previous interior but it is still off the pace of the Class-leaders; too much grey and black hard plastic on the dash. The entry level R’s seats don’t offer enough support.
Performance

Performance

Good The STi is faster than ever and has a fantastic turbo kick; WRX is by no means slow either.
Not so good R, RX and RS grades 2.0L Petrol engine struggles when matched with outdated four-speed auto transmission. The WRX manual continues to makes do with a five-speed gearbox when almost all competitors have moved to six-speeds and fancy dual-clutch sequential transmissions.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good STi of course has the most fun on offer – excellent cornering balance. WRX is still fun to drive and RS is a fine day-to-day choice. With all grades featuring all-wheel drive (AWD), the wetter it gets the more the advantage shifts to an Impreza over the competition. AWD also ensures more predictable handling.
Not so good Entry level grades don’t provide much driver fun. WRX has too much body roll these days, especially considering back in the 1990’s it was the performance car king, slaying far more expensive sports cars at will! The R with its skinny tyres feels less competent than the RS with wider tyres - if you get it, get wider tyres!
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good All grades rate highly in safety testing; six airbags as standard on every grade.
Not so good Fuel economy is below average PLUS the engines require the more expensive premium unleaded.