Full 2007 Subaru Impreza Review
What's New for 2007
The 2007 Subaru Impreza receives a few minor changes. Subaru has revised the content of the Outback Sport Special Edition trim level slightly and introduced a similar Special Edition for the regular Impreza sedan. The high-performance WRX gets a new audio system that now offers MP3/WMA capability and optional satellite radio. Unfortunately, the car's lightweight aluminum front suspension links, introduced last year, have been replaced with more conventional steel pieces. For the WRX STI, there's the new audio system, a revised Torsen-type limited-slip rear differential and a new WRX STI Limited trim level. Other alterations this year include slightly revised engine power ratings and a new, soft-touch steering wheel for all models except the WRX STI.
The Subaru Impreza has been on the market for 14 years now, but only in the last several has it gained the kind of style and performance that make it such an appealing vehicle. Known for its rally heritage, standard all-wheel drive, versatility and performance, it has been a popular choice for a wide range of buyers since its 2002 redesign. It's suitable for those desiring an affordable all-wheel-drive economy car or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, those wanting a serious four-door performance car.
Packing a turbocharged engine and a sport-tuned suspension, the Impreza WRX can keep pace with many cars costing thousands more. The mighty Subaru WRX STI is even more capable. If the Impreza WRX or STI don't suit your needs, there are other trim levels available, including the Outback Sport, which is a more rugged version for buyers who want extra utility without having to pay for a full-blown Outback.
The current Impreza was last redesigned for the 2002 model year. While this generation is nearing the end of its model cycle, Subaru has been making enough changes through the years to keep the car competitive. One interesting change for the 2007 Impreza is the new STI Limited trim level. By deleting the STI's rear wing and swapping out the gold-painted wheels for more conservative-looking silver ones, Subaru hopes this limited-production model will appeal to older drivers who crave performance in a subtler package.
Even considering the 2007 Subaru Impreza's broad talents, it is still best viewed as an alternative to more mainstream choices. Vehicles like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 are more up to date, still fun to drive and potentially less expensive. As for the WRX and WRX STI, they're great cars, but we've found the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to be a better choice overall. The bottom line is that we're quite fond of the Impreza but suggest shoppers fully consider whether it's truly the best match for their needs.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Subaru Impreza is available in sedan and wagon body styles and a wide array of trim levels. The 2.5i sedan and wagon have 16-inch alloy wheels; air-conditioning; cruise control; keyless entry; a CD player; a leather-wrapped steering wheel and power windows, locks and mirrors. The Outback Sport wagon adds gray body-side molding and bumper covers, extra cargo-bay tie-downs, heavy-duty suspension tuning and a bit more ground clearance. The Outback Sport Special Edition and the 2.5i Special Edition sedan are upgraded with automatic climate control, a sunroof (sedan only) and a new 240-watt premium audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, an auxiliary input jack and satellite radio capability.
The high-performance Impreza WRX comes in five different versions: regular WRX, WRX TR, WRX Limited, WRX STI and WRX STI Limited. Available in sedan or wagon form, the standard WRX features a turbocharged engine, functional hood scoop, limited-slip rear differential, a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes and unique wheels. The WRX TR sedan is a stripped version of the turbo Impreza and deletes such non-necessity items such as side ground effects and foglights. It also gets a lighter, downgraded stereo, no rear-seat cupholders and a manual A/C system. In reality, the WRX TR doesn't feel that stripped down, and with its $24K base price, it's the best value in the Impreza WRX line. At the other end of the spectrum, the WRX Limited sedan and wagon keep all the standard WRX's creature comforts and add leather seats, a moonroof, heated mirrors and seats and a trunk spoiler for the sedan.
Step up to the WRX STI models and things get a lot more serious. These cars feature numerous hardware upgrades like a more powerful turbocharged engine, a driver-controlled center differential, a limited-slip rear differential, heavy-duty Brembo brakes, quick-ratio steering, a performance-tuned suspension, xenon HID headlights and special body enhancements including a large rear wing. The new-for-2007 WRX STI Limited trim foregoes the body enhancements but gains heated leather seats, a moonroof and extra sound-deadening material.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering all 2.5i and Impreza Outback Sport models is a 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that makes 173 horsepower. A more powerful engine can be found in the WRX sedan and wagon. This turbocharged 2.5-liter mill (also a flat-4) kicks out an impressive 224 hp and 226 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices for all of the above models are a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is standard on all Imprezas. Note that the standard WRX and WRX TR models only come with a manual gearbox -- if you want an automatic WRX, you'll have to ante up for the Limited.
The Impreza WRX STI uses a modified version of the WRX's 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4. With this layout comes a unique, muscular growl that announces serious output to the tune of 293 hp and a stout 290 lb-ft of torque. Sending the power to all four wheels is a six-speed manual gearbox, the only transmission available on the STI. Subaru's World Rally Championship racing technology trickles down to the street, as the STI has a driver-controlled center differential (DCCD). Worked by a thumbwheel on the center console, the DCCD allows the pilot to control the power split between the front and rear axles for optimum traction in varied conditions.
All Subaru Impreza models, including the WRX and WRX STI, have standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Side airbags are standard on all models. In government crash testing, the Subaru Impreza earned four stars (out of five) for driver safety in frontal impacts and five stars for front-passenger safety. Five stars were awarded for front-seat side-impact safety. The IIHS gave the Impreza its top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The design of the interior is rather basic in all 2007 Subaru Impreza models, even those with leather upholstery, and rear legroom is less than what's available from most other small sedans or wagons. Build quality is solid, however. With its heavily bolstered two-tone seats and a fat three-spoke steering wheel, the STI's cockpit won't be mistaken for that of a standard WRX. Aluminum pedals and controls for the intercooler sprayer and center differential further hint at the car's serious performance nature. In terms of cargo, the Impreza wagon can hold 28 cubic feet of stuff, or 62 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.
There's no question that the WRX sedan and wagon are an absolute blast to drive. But even with the standard Impreza, handling is very secure thanks to a well-tuned suspension and standard all-wheel drive. Although not nearly as fast, the 2.5i sedan and wagon are equally enjoyable to toss around on a twisty road. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 2007 Subaru WRX STI is scary quick. Zero to 60 mph comes up in 5.4 seconds and the quarter-mile is eaten up in about 14 seconds. Equally impressive is the Subie's braking ability. Stopping from 60 mph takes only 110 feet of asphalt -- a world-class effort for any car regardless of price. In addition to its fat power band and strong brakes, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI offers excellent steering feedback, commendable handling and a forgiving nature. The only real negative to the 2007 Subaru Impreza line is the sluggish performance of the optional automatic transmission on 2.5i, Outback Sport and standard WRX models.