The 2008 Subaru Impreza wagon uses a single engine and standard all-wheel drive, and turns in only average acceleration and handling.
Automobile reports that the Subaru 2008 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine found on base-model Imprezas "survives largely unchanged from the previous generation Impreza, albeit with a slight bump in horsepower and torque...power is up to 170 hp at 6000 rpm, torque climbs to 170 lb-ft, and the torque peak has fallen, from 4400 rpm to 4000 rpm," which is "enough to move the car along just fine in most driving scenarios." The base 2008 Subaru Impreza is hampered by its bulk, unfortunately; this Subaru 2008 model's "curb weights are hefty for a compact, and performance is tepid as a consequence," according to Car and Driver.
Cars.com says a "five-speed manual transmission is standard, a four-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode is optional, [and] all-wheel drive is standard." The four speeds of the automatic fall out of favor with reviewers. “With just four cogs to work with, the automatic tranny lags behind a few rivals that offer five or even six speeds,” Edmunds advises. They add, “We recommend that enthusiast-oriented drivers choose the manual transmission -- acceleration is sluggish with the four-speed automatic.” Automobile agrees, noting, “The manual transmission, however, is something Subaru needs to work on. Sure, the shifts are long (again, it's not a WRX), but the Impreza begs for a tall sixth gear.”
EPA mileage ratings for this 2008 Subaru are 20/27 mpg. Fuel economy is “not stellar,” Automobile adds.
On the topic of handling, Automobile reports, “In the pursuit of daily-driver comfort, the 2.5i is very lightly sprung, which, over most broken Michigan road surfaces, delivers a smooth ride - and copious amounts of body roll. It's nothing too obtrusive in mild city driving, but in harder cornering, the car wallows.” ConsumerGuide notes that "steering feel is responsive, if not as razor sharp as would be expected in a sporty car." The transformation from the previous car is missing something: “lost in the transformation was the Impreza's spunky personality,” Edmunds says.