2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Sport 5-door Road Test Review

By:Trevor Hofmann
2010-06-15 03:46:11
I was traveling home from a trip to St. John's, Newfoundland last night, on the second leg that took me from Toronto to Vancouver,
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
A nicely appointed well-adjusted compact hatchback, the 2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i is a solid choice. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
and found myself sitting beside a diehard Subaru owner. While her ride wasn't an Impreza, the subject of this review, her two sequential Foresters made her a believer and therefore a third one will be in her garage shortly. She said that she'd looked around at what was available, and nothing in the same price bracket worked for her like the Forester.

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.

2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
Attractive styling from the rear. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
WRX received the most attention for 2010, with an engine upgrade, revised suspension tuning and more, but the regular Impreza 2.5i (the lineup was all-new two years ago), is still fresh enough to compete strongly in its segment. It's front end styling is a bit generic compared to previous Imprezas, which will be pleasing to some and will put off others, but the general profile of my 5-door hatchback is quite sporty and from the rear view is particularly handsome with its clear, triangular tail lamp assemblies.

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
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
A bevy of standard and optional features make the Impreza an enjoyable place to while away the time. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
mirrors, auto-off headlamps, variable intermittent wipers, a fixed intermittent rear wiper, a roofline spoiler, an anti-theft alarm, floor mats, a six-way manual driver's seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and rear cargo hooks, but you'll need to move up to the 2.5i Sport Package to get out of the 16-inch steel wheels and acquire alloy rims.

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,
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
Seats are extremely good. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
the 2.5i Limited Package adds automatic climate control, iPod and USB integration, leather rally-style seats, and 17-inch alloy wheels with 205/50R17 all-season rubber. Yes, odd that the sportier wheels aren't available on the Sport Package.

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
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
The boxer sounds like a water-cooled (quieter) VW Beetle mill. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
that separates the Sport model from the base 2.5i is the addition of alloy wheels.

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
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
A four-speed auto? Sounds lame but performs quite well. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
automatic transmissions too, with only one featuring a six-speed automatic, two sporting five-speed boxes and one a CVT. I certainly didn't feel a need for any more gears, as the engine has the necessary torque to get it off the line without delay, and passing power on the highway was there when needed. Certainly closer ratios might help keep the engine in its sweet spot while a taller final drive would improve fuel economy, which is Canadian government rated at an estimated 10.6 L/100km city and 7.5 highway with the manual, and 10.4 and 7.7 respectively for the automatic, but it's not something Subaru needs to be concerned about just yet from a competitive standpoint. Soon, however, compacts with six-speed gearboxes will be the norm, which from a marketing point of view, at least, won't look
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
Subaru's all-wheel drive is simply better. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
so good on Subaru unless the Impreza can match up. A five-speed manual is standard.

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
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
Rear seating is good. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
how it ups the competition: type "Subaru Symmetrical AWD vs. Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen" into the search field and get ready to be impressed. On that note, there is no Honda Civic wagon at all and no Volkswagen Golf Wagon that features all-wheel drive to compete directly with the Impreza, with only Toyota providing five doors with all-wheel drive in the Matrix. Video comparison aside, Jeep offers its compact car-based Compass with 4WD and Mitsubishi will make its Lancer Sportback available with all-wheel drive, although not at the Impreza 2.5i's price point. Suzuki's SX4 hatch can be had with AWD too.

The compact hatchback
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
Little 5dr seems more like a wagon when loading it up. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
is practical in other ways as well. Especially load carrying thanks to a capacity of 538 litres (18.9 cubic feet) with the 60/40 split seatbacks upright and 1,257 litres (44.3 cubic feet) when folded flat.

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
2010 Subaru Impreza 5dr 2.5i
Handling is ok, but the suspension could use to be slightly stiffer to warrant the Sport name. (Photo: Automotive Metrics)
consider myself a Subaru person, but at the end of my test week I couldn't help falling for the little Impreza 5-door. Yes, I think that the Sport Package should get a firmer suspension to live up to its name and the larger 17-inch wheels and tires from the Limited package, and I'd like to see Subaru finally find a visual identity that lets us know any of its model's origins without a search for the badge; the automaker has wavered back and forth between radical to bland so many times I've lost count, and is currently in one of its safer stylistic stages. But the car on the whole is extremely good, and its trademark features, the horizontally opposed four-cylinder and best-in-class all-wheel drive, certainly give it a unique mechanical edge over its rivals. A starting price of just over $20k isn't too much to ask for either, considering all of its standard features, with the Sport 5-door similar to the one I tested commanding a little more at $25,595.

(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)]]>

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