According to NADA Guides the new 2.5GT model “drives like a Subaru…When the turbo kicks in after a few thousand rpms, the Impreza 2.5GT surges forward with purpose. If inclement weather is thrown its way, the Impreza never gives me reason to worry.” ConsumerGuide says the “2.5GT is a bit sluggish from a stop, but speed picks up nicely at higher rpm. The transition where the turbo kicks in is smooth and linear, so we're hesitant to call it ‘turbo lag.’ Despite having only four speeds, the automatic transmission is a good match for the engine.” Car and Driver adds, “the GT’s ride quality is excellent, but it sets a priority of comfort too much over a level attitude in extreme maneuvering.”
The base 2009 Subaru Impreza is hampered by its bulk, unfortunately; this Subaru 2009 model's "curb weights are hefty for a compact, and performance is tepid as a consequence," according to Car and Driver. MyRide.com says that although the "combination of a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter flat-four engine, a five-speed manual transmission and full-time all-wheel drive sounds like a recipe for fun," it is, in fact, a "high-carb mixture thanks to the Impreza's 3,064-lb. curb weight...[resulting in] pokey acceleration, even though the powertrain gives it all it's got." Automobile reports that the Subaru 2009 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."
“We recommend that enthusiast-oriented drivers choose the manual transmission—acceleration is sluggish with the four-speed automatic,” advises Edmunds. Automobile Magazine 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.”
"When it comes to road manners, the littlest Subie is pretty sedate...the 2.5i gets the softest suspension of the Impreza lot, which is to say that it's comfortable over bumps but not terribly sporty,” reports Automobile Magazine. ConsumerGuide comments that "steering feel is responsive, if not as razor sharp as would be expected in a sporty car."