|A nicely appointed well-adjusted compact hatchback, the 2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i is a solid choice. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
Impreza loyalists feel the same way. While many cars are sized similarly in the compact class, none deliver the same kind of experience. Truly, a Subaru is a totally unique kind of car, but its buyers aren't particularly eclectic. Its four-wheel drive just suits their lifestyles, and general reliability has earned their respect. What some Subaru owners don't realize, however, is how performance-oriented their cars really are. The Impreza has earned street cred by tuners and thanks to its rally-bred WRX siblings can hold its own on a winding road.
|Attractive styling from the rear. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
Inside, the design is attractive and modern, while switchgear and plastics quality isn't the best but about average for the class. Standard 5-door features are good, with air conditioning, a CD/MP3/WMA-equipped audio system with an auxiliary input, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, power windows with driver's auto-down, heated
|A bevy of standard and optional features make the Impreza an enjoyable place to while away the time. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
The same 205/55R16 all-season tires are found on both, while the Sport I drove adds tasteful ground effects, a rear spoiler, sweet looking stainless steel exhaust tips, fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a premium 6-CD/MP3/WMA stereo, Sirius satellite radio, power glass sunroof, heated seats, and a windshield wiper de-icer.
New for 2010,
|Seats are extremely good. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
The Impreza with the Sport Package is a capable handler just the same, although you've got to be willing to put up with more body lean than most of its competitors. Its suspension is a bit on the soft side, which alternatively makes it a more comfortable ride than many of its rivals. It's a tradeoff, for sure, but one that doesn't quite reflect its Sport nomenclature. After all, the only suspension improvement
|The boxer sounds like a water-cooled (quieter) VW Beetle mill. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
Likewise you'll need to step up to a WRX to get any more power, but that's expected with this type of upgrade package and hardly an issue considering the four-cylinder boxer's 170 horsepower, available at 6,000 rpm, and 170 lb-ft of torque that comes on at 4,400 rpm.
With today's proliferation of multi-speed automatics, you'd think that the automatic-equipped Impreza I was testing would have more than four forward speeds, but a quick study shows that most of its competitors have optional four-speed
|A four-speed auto? Sounds lame but performs quite well. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
|Subaru's all-wheel drive is simply better. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
As mentioned, what Subaru has over all of its rivals is standard all-wheel drive, with most competitors not offering four-wheel motivation as an option at all. But before we talk about what's on the market let's be very clear; not every all- or four-wheel drive system is the same. Subaru has long dubbed its system Symmetrical all-wheel drive, which means that all drive shafts are identical in length and therefore torque is distributed evenly to each wheel. There's more to the Subaru system than that, mind you, and you might find a videoed lab test on youtube an ideal example of
|Rear seating is good. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
The compact hatchback
|Little 5dr seems more like a wagon when loading it up. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
And from a safety standpoint everything you can get with it comes standard, including four-wheel discs with ABS, traction and stability control, side-thorax airbags and curtain-type airbags.
Its warranty is standard fare at 3 years or 60,000 km limited comprehensive and 5 years or 100,000 km powertrain.
You know, I don't really
|Handling is ok, but the suspension could use to be slightly stiffer to warrant the Sport name. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)|
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