Subaru Impreza Review (2008)

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza Review

Subaru Impreza Review | Part TwoSubaru Impreza Road Test

We are used to so-called, ‘all-new’ cars having little more than cosmetic modifications so it is unusual for a manufacturer to change body-style.

We are used to so-called, ‘all-new’ cars having little more than cosmetic modifications so it is unusual for a manufacturer to change body-style.

The all-new Subaru Impreza is one of those rarities; it used to be a sports saloon but now it is a 5-door hatchback. Despite the change, it is set to keep its ‘iconic’ label.

Subaru wanted to be more competitive in Europe and to take on the likes of the Honda Civic, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf, hence the body-swap. It has a longer wheelbase, is wider than before and is dressed in brand new clothing. The result is a cross between an Alfa Romeo and a Vauxhall, especially at the front and particularly in red. This is no bad thing and the typical sportiness that the Impreza badge conveys, is still at work.

Say Impreza to most men (and some women) and they will automatically mention, or at least think about the WRX STI, performance version but there others in the range.

The new car went on sale in the UK in September (’07) in 1.5R and 2.0R and RX forms, and in November, a limited number of the 2.5 WRX were made available. However, fans of the top-of-the-bill, WRX STI turbo will have to wait just a little while longer as it is due in the spring.

There is, and will be, quite a difference between them, in terms of appearance. The 1.5R has fairly plain styling which forms the basis for the others. The bonnet is nicely curved for extra pedestrian protection and the bumpers are more rounded than before for the same reason. Front fog lights are set into the deep bumpers while the new grille and headlight clusters finish the sporty but refined front end.

Well defined but subtle crease lines emphasise the length and new body shape as they run along the side of the car and wrap around the new tailgate at the top of the sparkling LED, rear lights.

The RX models have 17-inch alloys rather than the 15-inch for the 1.5R and 16-inch for the 2.0R. It also gains front and rear spoilers, side skirts and a diffuser below the rear bumper and above the exhaust’s chrome end cap.

While the WRX has much the same, it is easily distinguished by the large air intake pod in the middle of the bonnet and the WRX STI is expected to have even more extreme styling, as befits a car that will form the basis of Subaru’s World Rally Championship contender.

Prices start at £12,495 for the 1.5R. This is very reasonable when you consider the engineering and production costs involved in bringing a new car to the market. The specification is also very reasonable and includes climate control air-conditioning, electric windows all round, rake- and reach-adjustable steering column and AWD with a dual-range, low-ratio transfer box. This AWD element is one of the reasons why Subaru’s are known as ‘the farmers’ friend’. Particularly the more rugged vehicles - they look good around town, they are capable off-roaders and the engines, seemingly, go on forever.

Subaru Impreza Review | Part TwoSubaru Impreza Road Test
Subaru Impreza Road Test Data
Model ReviewedSubaru Impreza 2.0RX
Body Type5-Door Hatchback
ColourSan Remo Red
Performance (manufacturers data) 
0 - 62 mph9.6 Seconds
Top Speed 120 mph
Transmission5-Speed Manual
Fuel TypeUnleaded Petrol
CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures) g/km
Economy (NEDC Figures) 
Urban25.4 mpg
Extra Urban40.9 mpg
Combined33.6 mpg
Insurance Group8
Euro NCAP Ratingn/a
Warranty3-Year/60,000 Mileage Warranty
Price (when tested on the 02/02/08)£17,200.00

The information contained within this Subaru Impreza review may have changed since publication on the 2 February 2008. The actual model road tested may feature options and functionality specific to that model, which may not be available as on option or be fitted to other models in the range. Options may not be available on UK specification cars. You may wish to check with your local Subaru dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce this car review in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2019