2008 Subaru Impreza Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Subaru Impreza

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Subaru Impreza Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Subaru Impreza

  • Apart from the boisterous WRX STI, the finger-in-the-air attitude is gone, replaced by a 2008 Subaru Impreza trying to put its finger on the pulse of the mainstream market.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Standard all-wheel drive, WRX and WRX STI's punchy turbocharged engines, roomy seating in front and rear.

  • Cons

    Missing some higher-end convenience features, behind-the-times transmissions, below-average fuel economy, sleepy styling except for extroverted STI.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Subaru Impreza has been completely redesigned. Roomier and more refined on the inside, the restyled Impreza is meant to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Sedan and hatchback body styles are again available, as are the turbocharged WRX and ultra-high-performance WRX STI.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (10 total reviews)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great little car

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

This is truly a great car. It is versatile, safe, reliable, and fun to drive. With 44.4 cu/ft of cargo space, 60/40 fold-flat seats, the car can handle anything I throw at it. With the car's AWD system and 6 standard air bags it offer's a level of confidence on the road unlike any of the other cars I test drove. Lastly, Subaru has found a great balance between ride and handling. The car rides completely different then it's predecessor with a subtle ride, yet still contains the prowess to be tossed into a turn. The car is not without it's faults, though, as the hard plastic that completely covers the interior and tires seem to amplify the little road noise that find their way into the cabin.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cheap awd safety, small family

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Biggest complaint: rear drum brakes! We don't drive too many miles but we do have to deal with snow. This model is underpowered and boring to drive, but it gets you to your destination safely and reliably in northern winters. We have averaged 23.5 mpg and have had zero maintenance issues. The interior is cheap but well put together and functional. The rear hatch is poorly designed, when you shut it you either push too light and doesn't latch or push too hard and it rubs the bumper. I am not happy with the amount of rust developing in the suspension, and may take it in to complain about that. The paint looks great but it chips and scratches very easily.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Best 1st car

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Hands down I think this is the best first car a teen could have. I love it. Having been in search of a car and having saved $10k for a car, I wanted to make sure I was getting a quality build, reliable, fun, usable, and most of all SAFE car. Having bought the 5-door the Impreza had more usability, resale value personality, and safety then the Elantra I looked at, and I got it for the same price as an Elantra with the Extended Warrenty and a lower APR. I really love my car. It's beautiful inside and out. Plus it has AWD, something found on only one other car in its class.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

They're on to something here

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

This is a great car. Safe, fun, practical, and great looking both inside and out. I had been saving up for about 4 years to buy my first car (I am 17) and after test driving cars like the Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Versa, and the Suzuki SX4 Sport, I am much happier with an Impreza parked in my driveway. I live in NY and the winter here, though not the worst in the country, are still pretty bad. The geography doesn't really help with winter driving either. Having all wheel drive vehicle is a necessity and this car fits the bill perfectly. It gives me peace of mind to know that I have the added safety of traction from all wheel drive, no matter what the weather is.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

My first and last subaru

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

This is my first Subaru, I bought it because I wanted a fairly inexpensive car with AWD and a manual transmission and I liked the style of the hatch. The car is a pleasure to drive and gets decent fuel mileage but service and build quality is pretty poor. The car has a large number squeaks and rattles. The paint on the car is terrible, the lower parts of the rear doors and the are behind them have been chipped away so badly after 16,000 miles I already have rust forming. This has to be a design flaw since the front wheels kick everything up on the side of the car and the cheap thin paint chips the second anything touched it. Fuel door release broke has broken twice.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Best commuter for 4 seasons

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Bought this car as my commuter ride - 90 miles/day on mostly open roads, only a hand full of lights and stops. Believe it or not, I'm averaging 34-35 mpg for the last 10k miles. This likely has a lot to do with the lack of stop and go and the elevation (5500-7200'). I'm still amazed that an AWD car can be this nimble, get this kind of mileage, and do so well in the mountains.



Full 2008 Subaru Impreza Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Subaru Impreza has been completely redesigned. Roomier and more refined on the inside, the restyled Impreza is meant to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Sedan and hatchback body styles are again available, as are the turbocharged WRX and ultra-high-performance WRX STI.

Introduction

In the 1990s, not too many Americans paid attention to the Subaru Impreza unless they followed the World Rally Championship or had Gran Turismo loaded in their Sony PlayStations. But that all changed with the release of the U.S.-spec 2002 WRX. Here was an all-wheel-drive sedan or wagon with sport coupe-slaying performance, a budget-friendly price and plenty of aftermarket tuning potential. Japanese performance car enthusiasts rejoiced.

Now, six years later, the fully redesigned 2008 Subaru Impreza has arrived. One would think it's time for those Subie fans to hire a DJ, blow up "Rex!" balloons and get out the chips and dip. But one might be wrong. For the third-generation North American Impreza, Subaru corporate has a slightly different plan -- an Impreza for the masses.

Not surprisingly, the 2008 Impreza is bigger. The wheelbase has been extended almost 4 inches for both the sedan and hatchback body styles to increase rear seat legroom. There's also more interior width for passengers and, thanks to a switch to a compact double-wishbone rear suspension design, a wider cargo space.

Subaru has also upped the quality of the interior design and materials, made changes to reduce wind noise, improved the ride quality and added new features like a navigation system. All well and good, we say. A more controversial aspect, however, is the car's exterior styling. Not because the new Impreza looks bad in a Pontiac Aztek sort of way, but because it doesn't look like, well, a Subaru. The slightly goofy but possibly endearing style of the previous Impreza (including all three of its fascias) has been replaced by a sanitized-for-your-protection front end and an uninspiring profile.

Underneath the new skin is some familiar hardware. Once again, the all-wheel-drive Impreza has a horizontally opposed 2.5-liter engine that's normally aspirated in 2.5i trim levels and turbocharged in WRX and WRX STI models. Slight adjustments were made to improve power delivery, but apart from the STI (which gained 12 horsepower) overall horsepower and torque specs are pretty much the same. Subaru has also largely carried over the previous six-speed manual, five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions. With just four cogs to work with, the automatic tranny lags behind a few rivals that offer five or even six speeds.

In most respects, the 2008 Subaru Impreza is a better car. It's more accessible, refined and comfortable, just like Subaru wanted. But except for the brash STI version, lost in the transformation was the Impreza's spunky personality. And without personality, the Impreza must fight fair against cars like the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Mitsubishi Lancer and Volkswagen Jetta, as well as against their associated performance variants. And in this situation -- again with the exception of the WRX STI -- the sleepy styling, behind-the-times automatic transmission and lack of high-tech features (such as Bluetooth, keyless ignition and a hard-drive-based navigation system) are significant detriments, especially for a redesigned model.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Subaru Impreza is available as a compact sedan or four-door hatchback. There are four main trim levels: 2.5i, Outback Sport, WRX and WRX STI.

Base 2.5i models come with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a CD/MP3 player, cruise control, tilt steering and full power accessories. Opting for a 2.5i model fitted with the Premium Package is a good idea. This gets you alloy wheels, an upgraded audio system with an auxiliary jack and steering-wheel-mounted controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and extra safety equipment. It's also the only way to get the optional satellite radio and navigation system. The specialized Subaru Impreza Outback Sport comes in the hatchback body style only. It features much of the 2.5i Premium package model's equipment, plus a raised suspension for extra ground clearance, 17-inch wheels, a two-tone exterior, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, unique cloth upholstery and a windshield de-icer.

The Impreza WRX has the 2.5i's equipment plus a more powerful engine, 17-inch alloys, a sport-tuned suspension, sport front seats, automatic climate control, electroluminescent gauges and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

There's also a premium package for the WRX. It adds exterior aero trim pieces, the upgraded audio system and the Outback Sport's cold-weather-beating features. Satellite radio and the navigation system are also available on the WRX, but not on the Outback Sport.

The WRX STI ups the ante with even more power, unique body styling, upgraded suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, a CD changer, aggressive sport seats and Alcantara upholstery. The STI also includes SI-drive, a three-mode setup for the engine and electronic throttle maps. Optional for the WRX STI is a pair of packages. The BBS Package adds BBS wheels and foglights while the BBS and Navigation Package includes the former items plus a navigation system (which replaces the CD changer with a single-CD player), a trip computer and Bluetooth connectivity.

Powertrains and Performance

Impreza 2.5i and Outback Sport models have a horizontally opposed 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It's rated at 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Impreza WRX models receive a turbocharged version of that engine, which produces 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. The WRX STI ups output to 305 hp and 290 lb-ft. All engines send their power to all four wheels. Transmission choices for all but the STI are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic with manual shift control. The STI comes with a six-speed manual only.

In testing, we timed a five-speed WRX hatchback at 5.9 seconds to 60 mph and 14.5 seconds in the quarter-mile. The WRX STI is quicker still, hitting 60 in just 4.8 seconds and breaking through the quarter in 13.3 ticks.

EPA fuel economy for 2008 is 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway for 2.5i and Outback Sport models, 20/25 mpg for the WRX and 17/23 for the WRX STI. These ratings are below average for the compact class.

Safety

Standard safety features on the Impreza include antilock brakes and side curtain airbags. Base 2.5i models have rear drum brakes. Getting a 2.5i with the Premium package is a wise idea as it adds rear disc brakes, the Brake Assist (BA) feature for the antilock brakes, stability control and a hill-holder function for manual transmission-equipped cars. These upgrades come standard on the Outback Sport, WRX and WRX STI. The 2.5i models also have active front head restraints to help reduce crash-induced whiplash.

Interior Design and Special Features

The most obvious changes for the 2008 Subaru Impreza can be found here. The big payoff for the longer wheelbase comes in the rear seat, where legroom is improved. Larger door openings and rear doors that open to 75 degrees also add to the new Subie's usability. The doors also have framed side windows -- a first for the Impreza and a rarity among Subarus -- that help quiet the interior. A new double-wishbone suspension affords a wider cargo area; a 60/40-split-folding rear seat comes in both the sedan and four-door hatch. Overall interior material quality is a big improvement over the previous car, and as such the Impreza looks and feels more grown-up than ever before.

Driving Impressions

The previous Impreza made up for much of its faults by being quite fun to drive, especially in WRX form. But where the old car was tossable, the new Impreza WRX feels soft. Standard skid pad, slalom and braking measurements are about the same, but the feel of the car through the steering and the way the car responds during cornering is noticeably less inspiring. When accelerating, the WRX's engine has impressive boost response and midrange punch, but it runs out of steam fairly early. We recommend that enthusiast-oriented drivers choose the manual transmission -- acceleration is sluggish with the four-speed automatic.

The WRX STI, on the other hand, gives enthusiasts exactly what they want -- a firm, communicative suspension, quick steering response, powerful brakes and a potent rush of acceleration whenever the throttle is tickled. Though the standard WRX may have gotten too mainstream for its hard-core fans, those Subie zealots would be hard-pressed to find fault with the new STI.

Talk About The 2008 Impreza

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs