I purchased my 2006 Impreza 2.5i almost a year ago now. So far the car has remained reliable and cheap to maintain. I had a minor problem with the exhaust plumbing that was fixed under warranty, but other than that just oil changes and an alignment. The car has enough power to have spirited acceleration. The turn-in is sharp and precise; good steering feel, shifter is smooth and fluid, seats offer good support. The interior is a good driver's environment with excellent touch points. The car handles very well on both dry and wet pavement.
The AWD was hugely important in my purchase decision. It offers traction advantages that simply can't be had from FF, FR, or even MR vehicles. I also like the engine packaging that results in a lower CG and better F/R mass distribution. The suspension is also nice and stiff stock.
60/40 seating. Stickier tires. A tad more rear roll stiffness to decrease understeer and fight body roll with the new tires. A hair more power (just a hair because it's only a 2.5i), perhaps from something as simple as a K&N drop in filter. Other than those simple fixes I'm a happy camper.
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