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2007 Subaru Impreza Test Drive Review

The Subaru Impreza provides nimble, efficient handling and the confidence of standard all-wheel drive.

7 /10
Overall Score

The Subaru Impreza does things a bit different from the typical compact car. A boxer engine and standard all-wheel drive are items you won’t find in the rest of the segment. This allows the Impreza to combine all-weather traction with responsive handling and solid fuel economy. Designed for an active lifestyle, the Impreza has no problem getting dirty, inside or out! This is the second generation of the Impreza, which was introduced for the 2002 model year, and carried over to 2007.

Look and Feel

6/ 10

The Impreza underwent two facelifts during its second generation, the second of which came in 2006 and continues to 2007. It features busy styling, highlighted by angular headlights, and an odd central “snout” in the grille. The Impreza is available in sedan and wagon variants. The wagon can also be had as the Outback Sport, a nod to its larger Legacy-based Outback Wagon. The Outback Sport features roof rails and an adventurous two-tone paint theme with added body cladding.

Inside, the Impreza features a clean and straightforward design. The dial gauges and three-spoke steering wheel provide the Impreza with an almost sports-car-like dash setup. The Impreza uses some plastics and the seats can feel a bit rough, but it is all in service of the Impreza’s active nature. These are seats and dash panels that can take a beating.

Trims are 2.5i and the previously noted Outback Sport. The base 2.5i comes standard with cruise control, remote keyless entry, a CD player, and air conditioning. The Outback Sport adds features like roof rails and a split folding rear seat.

Performance

7/ 10

As you might have guessed from the 2.5i trim designation, the Impreza comes standard with a 2.5-liter Boxer 4-cylinder engine. These engines feature two banks of two cylinders set parallel to the ground and pointed at each other. The cylinders “punch” towards one another, with the crankshaft at the center-point, hence the name “Boxer.” This engine provides a low center of gravity, which allows for improved handling dynamics.

In this application, the 2.5-liter Boxer makes 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, sent through either a 5-speed manual or available 4-speed automatic transmission. Power is routed to Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD). This provides enhanced traction in both good and bad road conditions. In all, the Impreza’s acceleration is nothing exciting, but the cornering abilities provided by the car’s unique driveline should impress.

Form and Function

6/ 10

The Impreza sedan provides 11 cubic feet of trunk space. It falls behind the Corolla, which has 13.6 cubic feet, and the Honda Civic, which has 12 cubic feet. This can be expanded by opening the split-fold rear bench.

The Wagon and Outback Sport provide 27.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Folding down the backseat grows this number to 61.6 cubic feet. This makes the Impreza Wagon and Outback Sport one of the more spacious compact cars on the market.

Tech Level

7/ 10

The Impreza comes standard with a meager 80-watt AM/FM stereo, but it does come with a standard CD player. Subaru offers a Special Edition of the Impreza that upgrades the stereo to a 240-watt sound system with a 6-disc CD changer.

The Impreza also has a helpful trip computer located in the center of the dash. It can provide status updates for fuel economy, distance to empty, and the outside temperature.

Safety

8/ 10

Standard safety features include seatbelt pre-tensioners, antilock brakes, and electronic brake-force distribution. The Impreza also provides dual front airbags and front side-impact airbags.

In testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Impreza earns four out of five stars in front driver’s side testing and a perfect 5-star rating for front passenger side testing.

Cost-Effectiveness

8/ 10

The most efficient version of the Impreza is the 2.5-liter with the 4-speed automatic. It returns 20 mpg city, 25 highway, 22 combined. With the 5-speed manual, this engine returns 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined.

Base MSRP for the 2006 Subaru Impreza is $17,995 for the 2.5i, in both sedan or wagon form. Adding an automatic transmission brings the price of the 2.5i (sedan or wagon) to $18,795. A Special Edition sedan starts at $18,995. The Outback Sport variant of the wagon starts at $19,195, and an Outback Sport Special Edition starts at $19,695. There are other, less expensive compact cars. But few offer both sedan and wagon body styles. Certainly, none of them offer standard AWD. This makes the Impreza a solid value, any way you cut it.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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30

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