2008 Subaru Impreza Interior Up Close

MMS ID 63910 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration

A little earlier, we dispensed full details on the redesigned Subaru Impreza 2.5i and its turbocharged WRX twin. Both cars were on display last night at a Subaru reception a few blocks from the auto show, and I had a chance to poke around inside.

The seats are a big step forward. I only wish there were a way to get the sporty seats in the WRX with the fabric from the 2.5i. The latter model has rich, well-cushioned upholstery that could satisfy me for the long haul. Not the case with the WRX; its high bolsters are sure to keep drivers fastened in tight corners, but the woven texture isn’t the sort of stuff I’d escape to the parking garage to take a lunchtime snooze on. (Not that I’ve ever done that…)

MMS ID 62751 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration
MMS ID 63903 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration
MMS ID 63901 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration
MMS ID 63900 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration

All told, the Impreza feels distinctly Japanese. Part of that is because of its outside look — stylish in a Mitsubishi or Suzuki way, not so much Chevy or Dodge — but the other part stems from the characteristically small controls. The steering-wheel crowds audio and cruise buttons precariously onto each spoke – six on the left, four on the right. The air conditioning dials get the job done in as little space as possible, and the buttons for the optional navigation system are similarly tiny.

Call it a hunch, but I don’t think this car will broaden Subaru’s appeal, as the company said it wanted to do at a press conference yesterday. Subaru fans will feel at home, but domestic shoppers, and maybe even a Honda or Toyota owner, might need some time to acquire the Impreza’s particular taste.

-By Kelsey Mays

Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

Latest expert reviews