I had a 1999 Legacy Outback, went to trade it in and found this 2005 Impreza Outback w/14000 miles on it, I liked the style better than the 2008 Impreza Outback. I bought it as a Subaru CPO car and have never looked back or wanted for something else. In fact I looked at Mustang V-8's first (nostalgia), drove an Impreza RS and I was totally hooked on the Impreza. It felt like more of a performance machine than the Mustang.
Great handling, comfortable, great dashboard and console.
2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STi AWD 4dr Sedan w/Gold-Painted Wheels (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I previously owned an Intrepid with roughly the same MPG, but nowhere close to the responsiveness, handling or acceleration of the Japanese Monster. Prior to purchasing the STi I did a little research on the Evo MR. For the price and resale value, you just can't beat the Subie. Granted the Evo has a slight advantage in most categories, the Impreza is much more fun on a daily basis and as a daily drive. IMO if you are looking for a strictly track car get the MR, if you plan on having a life outside of direct competition, you better bet the STi takes the win. Subaru has an awesome track record, unlike most of its Japanese-American counterparts.
All in all it's the handling. Just love this car in the winter, AWD has FWD and RWD spinning the tires in confusion. On the other hand 300HP and Brembo brakes are enjoyable in their own right, haven't had much in the way of favorable driving conditions. For the few days we have had, it was LAFS.
The front hood scoop and rear spoiler could be dropped entirely. I went with the RS hood and trunk lid along with a FMIC to remedy that slight inconvenience. Otherwise all-season tires, and a black on black interior would satisfy most. I just don't care for blue.
I bought my 05 with 15000 miles on it. Great performance car, with minor (about $1500) engine upgrades its at est 285hp/285 tq and runs with most cars on the road!! And I can still haul my daughter and a trunk full of groceries without a problem. I get 22-28 mpg AFTER being tuned to almost 300 hp. I have driven on horrendous winter roads with it (and Blizzaks) and it is amazing--more controlled and sure-footed than the 4wd Explorer I owned in the past. My only regret is not buying one as soon as they hit the US shores in 2002!
I used to own a 1999 Legacy/Outback, I purchased this car (2005 Impreza Outback Sport) w/12000 miles and have found it to be a blast to drive. It was literally the car purchased by the little old lady (dealer put in a new clutch before putting it on the lot, I purchased Subaru warranty). Ironically, before I went Subaru in the beginning, I was driving V-8 Mustangs, the Impreza is way more fun, it is nimble, sure footed and safe and has great visibility. Compared to it's peers it is an all weather handling beast without over steer, under steer or torque steer (an FWD plague). The other car I have access to is a 2006 Nissan Maxima...I never touch it.
Great handling, good shifting, good power and an overall good feel to drive. Gauges are easy to read. The cockpit is pretty good and offers great visibility to all sides.
Gas consumption is a bit high (a consequence of Symmetrical AWD).