Have now had the Subaru for two years and loved it from the start. I guess that I am a lot older than most owners of this stick shift, being in my early 70's, but still like to "drive"! Although I would love the turbo, the naturally aspirated motor suits me fine, and there is enough get up and go for most occasions - not wanting get too many tickets!
Stability at speed, love the all wheel drive in the wet. Seats are good, comfortable, and keep you in place when cornering quickly. Plenty of space in the trunk. OEM tires were very good,
Better radio, heated mirrors, sometimes find the gear shift a little reluctant to shift smoothly. Short shifter would be an improvement.
I have owned the car for a month and it has 1,200 miles on it. With more highway than city driving, I get between 28 and 31 mpg. I consider this excellent for an AWD vehicle and much better than what some of the other reviewers report. (This was a big unknown in my decision to purchase the Impreza). I test drove the Mazda 3 hatch twice and it felt 'heavy' compared to the Impreza (the Impreza is actually heavier). The 2.5i wagon has sharp handling and the ABS works well, I haven't had a chance to test the benefits of AWD in inclement weather. The cargo space is not huge but more than adequate, great with rear seats down. The sound of the boxer engine requires getting used to.
I like the sharp handling; the 2.5i base wagon has more than adequate power for my needs. The engine works well at high RPM; fun to drive. AWD, anti-lock brakes and side air bags for added security. I find the exterior styling attractive. The utility of a hatch is difficult to beat (small car).
As other reviewers have indicated: better stereo with MP3 player; better quality materials for the interior - plastic scratches very easily, better quality cloth for the doors. Subaru should include overhead map lamps as standard. Eliminate small rattles (one coming from the handles above doors).
I have had the car for about three months now, and am overall quite pleased with it. I wanted something that handled well, got decent mileage, and could haul stuff in a pinch. I narrowed down my search to two vehicles with the other being the Mazda3. The Mazda had less cargo space and will not take a trailer hitch, and lacks roof rails, although it is slightly less expensive and reportedly gets better mileage. I recently subjected it to a 2,500 mile road trip and consistently got just above 31 mpg on the highway (and much of this was through the mountains of North Carolina with the AC on); in the city I got around 25.
The wagon handles well, especially on wet pavement and on dirt roads, and the ride is smooth for a compact car.
I have to agree with most of the other reviews regarding rear leg room and the sub par stereo. I would also add that the air conditioning could be more powerful. I gets the job done but does not cool the car down as quickly as I would like.
I've put on about 5,000 miles since purchasing. So far, the car's been great in all conditions--comfortable cruising at highway speeds, and fun through twisty back roads. A lot of rare features in a class of mostly cookie-cutter cars - boxer engine, symmetrical awd, versatile 4 door hatchback style. Combined with best-in-class crash safety, a sporty ride and handling, and decent fuel economy, the Impreza has been a good choice for me.
Great features for the money, good handling, practical hatchback. A compact car that stands out from the crowd.
The stereo is lousy - they should make the WRX-style stereo optional on the base version. The paint seems to chip very easily - I've had more rock chips on the Impreza in 5,000 miles than on our other vehicle in 60,000 miles.
Last car was an '02 Outback. The '06 has a much better engine and the transmission gearing on the 5-speed is much improved. It looks like they took about 350 - 400 RPMs off at 70mph, which makes for a better ride and improved mileage. By 1500 miles I hit 29 mpg and I'm hoping to hit 30 soon. The black and grey cloth interior is absolutely beautiful. EVERYONE comments about it. With the black exterior the car looks sharp. The standard exhaust system even sounds better, especially at low RPMs. There is no better bargain on the road today. Why no one else is building well priced AWD vehicles continues to amaze me.