Aside from revised horsepower ratings thanks to new testing procedures, Subaru's base Impreza sedan and wagon are unchanged for 2007. The high-performance Impreza WRX STi gains an optional Limited trim level with a subtler exterior and a more upscale interior. The Impreza-based Outback Sport was redesigned for 2006 and remains largely unchanged for 2007.
Subaru's smallest model comes in sedan and wagon forms, with two high-performance Impreza WRX editions in each body style. Outback Sport models are available only as wagons. Power ranges from 173 hp in the base Impreza and Outback Sport to 224 hp in the Impreza WRX and 293 hp in the Impreza WRX STi. The figures are down slightly from last year thanks to new testing procedures set by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Actual power remains the same.
All Impreza models were restyled for the 2006 model year. A new front-end featured smoke-tinted headlights, a mesh grille, a new hood and modified fenders. Imprezas with non-turbocharged engines received a new aluminum hood, and all models gained redesigned taillamp clusters.
Side-impact airbags with head extensions are now standard in the front seats of all models. An outside temperature gauge is included. Wagons have cargo-area utility bars, and an air filtration system is installed in Imprezas with the non-turbo engine.
Regular Impreza models are powered by the same 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder that's used in the company's larger Legacy. Imprezas are equipped with full-time all-wheel drive and an antilock braking system.
Subaru also offers the Impreza-based Outback Sport.
(Skip to details on the: Impreza WRX | Impreza WRX STi | Outback Sport)
Subaru said restyling for the 2006 model year was intended to reflect a new brand identity. A new three-section mesh-type grille is inspired by the Japanese company's aircraft heritage. Sedans have revised wide-body fenders. Wagons get their own flared fender design, like on prior Impreza models.
All Imprezas seat five people. A ratchet-type height adjustment permits additional vertical movement for the driver. Base Imprezas include remote keyless entry, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, a CD stereo and embroidered carpeted floormats. Wagons hold 27.9 cubic feet of cargo when the rear seatbacks are up and 61.6 cubic feet when they're folded.
Under the Hood
Subaru's 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder develops 173 hp and 166 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional. Subaru's full-time all-wheel-drive system transfers power among the wheels automatically.
Antilock brakes and daytime running lights are standard. Side-impact airbags with head extensions are standard for the front seats, but side curtain airbags aren't available. Three-point seat belts are included for all five seating positions. The front seat belts have pretensioners and force limiters.
After a performance enhancement in 2006 that upped horsepower from 227 to 230, the WRX sedan and wagon's turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder now develops 224 hp and 226 pounds-feet of torque. A WRX TR model combines the performance upgrades of standard WRX vehicles with the interior content and exterior trim of the 2.5i sedan to keep the price down. WRX Limited sedans and sport wagons feature leather seating, a power moonroof, dual-mode heated front seats, heated mirrors and windshield wiper de-icing. The WRX Limited sedan adds a rear spoiler.
WRX chassis upgrades include 17-inch wheels with all-season tires and aluminum front-suspension links. The brakes have larger discs, and the steering ratio has been quickened. Subaru has attempted to reduce noise by installing an underbody cover and increased sound insulation.
The Impreza WRX can be equipped with a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Automatic WRX models feature Variable Torque Distribution all-wheel drive.
Noticeable WRX styling touches include slightly bulged fenders and a large air scoop that feeds cool air to the turbocharger's intercooler. The hood is made of aluminum. WRX models have a sport-tuned suspension, standard 16-inch alloy wheels and larger front brake discs. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are standard. A tiny turbo boost gauge sits atop the steering column.
The Impreza WRX looks the part of a hot performer and delivers the goods, too. Acceleration is strong, especially when passing or merging and the transmission is in the most helpful gear. Engine sounds and vibrations are noticeable but not bothersome. Back to top
Impreza WRX STi
To compete with Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution, Subaru offers the Impreza WRX STi sedan. It's the performance topper in Subaru's lineup, and its 2.5-liter turbocharged engine develops 293 hp. A high-performance suspension and Brembo performance brakes are standard, as are 17-inch wheels and various exterior add-ons. The sole transmission is a six-speed manual; all-wheel drive is standard.
For 2007, Subaru offers a WRX STi Limited sedan with a smaller rear spoiler and more understated 17-inch wheels. Inside, there are heated leather seats and a moonroof. Subaru says the Limited sedan still delivers the same blistering performance as the regular STi, as suspension, braking and drivetrain components remain unchanged. Back to top
Like the Legacy-based Outback, the Impreza-based Outback Sport features SUV-like styling cues. Subaru restyled and repowered its Impreza line for 2006, including the Outback Sport.
Available only in wagon form, the Outback Sport is powered by a 173-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder that teams with a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard. Back to top