Family Car Review:
I recently had the good fortune to spend several days in San Diego on
vacation with my family. My trusty ride was a Lightning Red 2008 Subaru
Impreza, and it was the perfect car for the job.
Itís easy to overlook
the Impreza, but Imprezas, like all Subarus, come with standard
all-wheel drive. Subarus are famous for their ruggedness. Early on they
became favorites of skiers and campers for their ability to get to where
the action is in comfort and with economical and reliable service.
Our test vehicle,
despite its compact proportions, swallowed up our luggage with ease. It
shuttled us quickly and quietly out of town and over the Coronado Bridge
to our hotel. Although I prefer manual transmissions in smaller cars,
the optional four-speed automatic was well up to the task, although I
heard more volume out of the engine during downshifts than Iíd like to.
The new car has
borrowed from the Euro stylebook, a common industry practice. The head
and taillight units have sharply sliced shapes and a prominent ridge
runs down each side, mimicking a flame treatment of convex and concave
surfaces. While not a stunningly attractive car, the Impreza does look
fresh and contemporary, something not every Subaru has been able to
claim over the years.
The new model not only
looks different, but it has a 3.7-inch longer wheelbase than its
predecessor, so my son, who is approaching 6 feet tall, had no problem
riding in back. The new Imprezaís interior is not only more spacious,
but it feels airier with tan cloth on the seats and doors and silvery
accents. The materials look and feel more substantial than they did in
the previous model. The twin-cockpit dash is much more interesting and
dramatic than last yearís version.
My tester was a
four-door 2.5i model. A five-door hatchback model debuts this year,
taking the place of the previous compact wagon. One big change is the
arrival of fully framed side windows. This keeps the car quieter and
helps improve body rigidity. The doors that contain these framed windows
are larger now for easier access.
The Impreza 2.5i uses a
normally aspirated 2.5-liter, four-cylinder Boxer engine. This means
that the cylinders are horizontally opposed, not inline or in a vee
shape. This creates a lower center of gravity and a sound that is just
slightly reminiscent of a VW Beetle. And yes, the Porsche 911 uses a
Boxer engine too.
The engine puts out 170
horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a matching 170 lb.-ft of torque at 4,400
rpm. These numbers compare well against the competition. The engine has
received tweaks for 2008 for better economy, performance and
drivability. The Imprezaís famous WRX version, beloved of youthful rally
racing enthusiasts, adds turbocharging for 224 horsepower and 226
lb.-ft. of torque.
The EPA awards the
Impreza 2.5i equipped with automatic transmission A 20 mpg City and 27
mpg Highway rating. I averaged 21.9 mpg during our Southern California
trip. The EPAís Green Vehicle Guide rates the Impreza 2.5i a 6 out of 10
for both Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas scores, just above average.
The new Impreza is not
only bigger, but is on a new platform with a new double-wishbone rear
suspension. That improves ride quality and adds space to the trunk area.
The new chassis is stronger and lighter, an important goal in helping
achieve better fuel economy. The automatic-equipped Impreza weighs 3,131
The Impreza took us
along the road by the beach, into Balboa Park and out to Old Town. It
parked easily at the Zoo and museums as well and on the crowded streets
of downtown. Without drama or undue excitement, it quietly did the job.
The Impreza 2.5i
four-door models begin at just $17,640 with a five-speed manual
transmission. The five-door costs a nominal $500 more. My tester also
had the Premium Package, which adds the safety and handling benefits
with rear disc brakes and stability and traction control.
If you have the manual
transmission, it provides the Incline Start Assist, the successor to
Subaruís Hill Holder. This feature keeps you from rolling backwards on a
San Francisco-style hill when you start from a stop. The Premium Package
adds 16-inch 12-spoke alloy wheels as well. Inside, leather on the
steering wheel and shifter handle gives a little upscale boost.
My tester, with the
automatic transmission option ($1,000), auto dimming mirror with
compass, Sport Trim (body side molding and red grille) and XM Radio
($453) came to a reasonable $21,278, including shipping charges.
If you are seeking
reliable, even amusing, everyday transportation with the safety of
four-wheel drive, why settle for an ordinary car?
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Family Car
Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Subaru Home Page
Column Name: Subaru are
famous for their ruggedness
Topic: The 2008 Subaru
Word Count: 843
Photo Caption: The 2008
Photo Credits Subaru
Impreza Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 59
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2008 Subaru Impreza
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2008 Subaru Impreza