The basic Impreza comes with the tried and true Subaru “flat as a pancake” boxer engine with its quirky horizontally opposed cylinders. The Subaru boxer motor is such a unique design (only Porsche uses a similar one in the 911) that you may find yourself wishing you could see into the engine itself. In case you didn’t know, having horizontally opposed cylinders allows the engine to be lower in the car’s engine bay thereby reducing the whole center of gravity for the vehicle. As you have probably surmised driving SUVs, vehicles with low centers of gravity handle best.
The well-known 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower four-cylinder that is standard on all basic Impreza models comes equipped with a pretty slick five speed manual that is geared nicely to the engine’s power characteristics. Or you can be a total chump and you can order a four-speed automatic for $1,000. A four speed for $1,000? Please, Subaru, does it look like 1987 and is the band “Wang Chung” suddenly popular again? No, it’s time for a proper five speed or the delightful CVT from the Legacy/Outback to be installed in the Impreza and Forester.
With the manual transmission EPA economy is an impressive 20 miles per gallon city/27 highway—really good numbers for a car with this much power, all-wheel drive and weight. At over 3,000 pounds the Impreza is no lightweight for its class but there is a side benefit to this. Subaru always scores at the top of every IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) test they run.
For 2010 there are three trim levels for the Subaru Impreza and quite frankly only one of them is a true standout option for young families. First off the “luxurious” top-line Impreza Outback models have two-tone paint on five door hatchback bodies. This highly unfortunate paint scheme makes this five door hatch (that can already look awkward) look like a 350 pound Russian man with hair on his back bathing in the Red Sea. It’s odd, but the two-tone styling always makes the Impreza Outback appear to be floating.
Then there is the base Impreza 2.5i which has air conditioning, symmetrical all-wheel drive, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors and a four-speaker audio system for $17,495. Well, if you plan on listening to more than just AM radio why don’t you spend just $1,000 more on the Premium edition which has nicer trim on the seats, a ten-speaker premium audio system with 6-disc CD, cooler looking 16-inch alloy wheels and an auxiliary jack for your MP3 player. Who wouldn’t spend $18,495 to get a far more complete automobile? It’s a no-brainer.
Oddly enough Subaru charges an extra $500 for the hatchback models and looking at their styling it is hard to see why. Ah, here’s why. The four-door comes with an 11 cubic foot trunk while the five door has over 19 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up. When you fold down the rear seat that figure shoots to over 44 cubic feet. Suddenly Subaru’s logic is making a whole lot of sense.
In addition to a huge catalog of dealer accessories you can also order your Subaru Impreza Premium 2.5i five-door hatchback (just reminding you) with the “Special Edition Package.” This package really is a good deal as it adds a sunroof, fog-lights, heated seats, and also a windshield wiper and nozzle system all for just $500. Seems, again, to be a no-brainer but the choice is yours.
Regardless of whether you pick the slightly more stylish sedan or far more utilitarian five door hatchback you can always rely on one thing when you buy a Subaru. Their cars are so durable that they will probably outlast you.