From the outside, it's hard to tell that the redesigned Subaru Impreza has any relation to its predecessor. The new grille sits within one frame instead of three, and the hatchback version sports dotted taillights similar to those on the Mitsubishi Outlander SUV.
In the cabin and under the hood, though, it's largely the same car. The base Impreza 2.5i gets a 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine, while the sportier WRX has a turbocharged version that's good for 224 hp. Either one can be had with a manual or automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard. The interior is new — all the better to package new safety features, like side curtain airbags — but it retains the old car's Spartan approach.
A 300-hp Impreza WRX STi topped the previous model line, but Subaru has not yet released details on an STi version of the 2008 model.
(Skip to details on the Impreza Outback Sport)
Like the previous Impreza, this one comes in both hatchback and sedan body styles. Beyond that, the similarities are few. The bumper sports a wider, flatter air dam, and the fog lights no longer sit atop cutout panels. The windows are now fully framed, which should help the doors open and shut with a more substantial feel. Impreza 2.5i models have 16-inch alloy wheels, while the WRX gets 17-inch rims.
The interior is far more inviting than before, but it retains the car's businesslike austerity. Metallic inlays flank the center controls, and the center console now houses an optional navigation system. Other additions include steering-wheel audio buttons, richer fabrics and a new stereo with a jack for MP3 players.
Subaru says the interior offers greater backseat headroom and more shoulder and headroom up front.
Under the Hood
The engines carry over with few changes from last year. The base Impreza has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 170 hp and 170 pounds-feet of torque. The WRX gets a turbocharged version with 224 hp and 226 pounds-feet of torque; Subaru says the torque is now available across a wider rpm range, which means the engine won't need quite as much revving to make its power.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard. A four-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode is optional.
All Imprezas include an impressive array of safety features. Six airbags and active head restraints are standard on all but the WRX with optional sport seats. An electronic stability system is optional. Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard on 2.5i models. An optional antilock braking system upgrades 2.5i models to four-wheel disc brakes. Antilock disc brakes are standard on WRX and Outback Sport models.
Like the Legacy-based Outback, the Impreza-based Outback Sport got the same styling as the redesigned Imprezas. Rather than being thought of as an Outback, the Outback Sport could be considered the top trim level of the Impreza, as it adds a number of features over the base model.
It is only available as a five-door model; it features a two-tone appearance, with the lower section of the body a contrasting grayish, silver hue. Impreza Outback Sport models also get 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, there are dual-mode heated front seats, and manual transmission models get the incline start assist, which prevents the car from rolling backward on a hill.
Under the hood, the Impreza Outback Sport has a 170-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that teams with either a five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an electronic stability system and four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. It also includes six airbags. Back to top
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||January 29, 2008|
|Kelsey Mays||Cars.com National||April 12, 2007|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||September 23, 2008|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||June 7, 2008|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||May 18, 2008|
|Emily Hansen||Mother Proof||February 5, 2008|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||January 16, 2008|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||December 9, 2007|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||December 7, 2007|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||October 31, 2007|
People Who Viewed This Car Also Viewed
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Subaru Impreza
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.