In the 1990s, not too many Americans paid attention to the Subaru Impreza unless they followed the World Rally Championship or had Gran Turismo loaded in their Sony PlayStations. But that all changed with the release of the U.S.-spec 2002 WRX. Here was an all-wheel-drive sedan or wagon with sport coupe-slaying performance, a budget-friendly price and plenty of aftermarket tuning potential. Japanese performance car enthusiasts rejoiced.
Now, six years later, the fully redesigned 2008 Subaru Impreza has arrived. One would think it's time for those Subie fans to hire a DJ, blow up "Rex!" balloons and get out the chips and dip. But one might be wrong. For the third-generation North American Impreza, Subaru corporate has a slightly different plan -- an Impreza for the masses.
Not surprisingly, the 2008 Impreza is bigger. The wheelbase has been extended almost 4 inches for both the sedan and hatchback body styles to increase rear seat legroom. There's also more interior width for passengers and, thanks to a switch to a compact double-wishbone rear suspension design, a wider cargo space.
Subaru has also upped the quality of the interior design and materials, made changes to reduce wind noise, improved the ride quality and added new features like a navigation system. All well and good, we say. A more controversial aspect, however, is the car's exterior styling. Not because the new Impreza looks bad in a Pontiac Aztek sort of way, but because it doesn't look like, well, a Subaru. The slightly goofy but possibly endearing style of the previous Impreza (including all three of its fascias) has been replaced by a sanitized-for-your-protection front end and an uninspiring profile.
Underneath the new skin is some familiar hardware. Once again, the all-wheel-drive Impreza has a horizontally opposed 2.5-liter engine that's normally aspirated in 2.5i trim levels and turbocharged in WRX and WRX STI models. Slight adjustments were made to improve power delivery, but apart from the STI (which gained 12 horsepower) overall horsepower and torque specs are pretty much the same. Subaru has also largely carried over the previous six-speed manual, five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions. With just four cogs to work with, the automatic tranny lags behind a few rivals that offer five or even six speeds.
In most respects, the 2008 Subaru Impreza is a better car. It's more accessible, refined and comfortable, just like Subaru wanted. But except for the brash STI version, lost in the transformation was the Impreza's spunky personality. And without personality, the Impreza must fight fair against cars like the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Mitsubishi Lancer and Volkswagen Jetta, as well as against their associated performance variants. And in this situation -- again with the exception of the WRX STI -- the sleepy styling, behind-the-times automatic transmission and lack of high-tech features (such as Bluetooth, keyless ignition and a hard-drive-based navigation system) are significant detriments, especially for a redesigned model.
- Standard all-wheel drive, WRX and WRX STI's punchy turbocharged engines, roomy seating in front and rear.
- Missing some higher-end convenience features, behind-the-times transmissions, below-average fuel economy, sleepy styling except for extroverted STI.
What this 2008 SUBARU IMPREZA Worth?
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2008 SUBARU IMPREZA Consumer Reviews
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2008 SUBARU IMPREZA Specifications
- Make: Subaru
- Model: IMPREZA
- Year: 2008
- Doors: 4DR
- Model: 2.5i
- Vehicle Type: Car
- Body Type: Sedan
- Drive Train Type: AWD
- Wheelbase: 103.1
- Engine Configuration: H4
- Engine Displacement: 2.5L
- Engine Aspiration: N/A
- Fuel Capacity: 16.9
- Fuel Type: Gasoline
- Gross Weight Rating: 0
2008 SUBARU IMPREZA Safety Ratings
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2008 SUBARU IMPREZA Environment & Green Scores
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2008 SUBARU IMPREZA Cost To Own & Maintenance Cost
Check the estimated costs for the next maintenance service for this 2008 SUBARU IMPREZA. This total estimated cost includes the preventive maintenance items recommended by Acura. The facility that services your vehicle may perform different, greater, or fewer procedures that can affect the cost you incur. For example, engine oil change and filter replacement are commonly performed by dealer and independent service facilities at special prices. These "special price" services do not typically include all of the additional procedures recommended by Acura at each service interval.VIEW FULL DETAILS