All the Impreza models come with a flat-four "boxer" engine, displacing 2.5 liters, and all-wheel drive. The base engine is rated at 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. It's torquey and responsive at low revs, making it especially well suited to the four-speed automatic transmission, though the five-speed manual also brings good performance. The automatic has gears that are spaced too far apart, though, and has an annoying tendency to downshift early.
Unlike their rally-bred WRX and STi siblings, the regular Impreza sedan and hatch have suspension setups that are tuned more for commuter duty than high-speed hairpin handling. On each of these models, you'll find more accurate, better-weighted steering than is typical among inexpensive small cars, but there's a lot of give and body roll that keeps the standard Impreza and Outback Sport from having enthusiast appeal.
On the other hand, Subaru's excellent all-wheel drive systems, included in all Impreza models, do add to these cars' driving dynamics in some situations—allowing them a more surefooted feel out of sharp, slick corners, for instance.